When WA restaurant impresario Nic Trimboli opens a restaurant, it’s always something out of the box (think Gordon Street Garage, Balthazar and Duende back in the day). Bread in Common is a stunner. Carved out of a heritage-listed 1898 red-brick warehouse down at the heritage end of Fremantle’s old town, this popular restaurant plumbs age-old traditions around bread and hospitality in uniquely satisfying ways.
Bread in Common’s industrial interior has been softened by rammed-earth modifications, an open kitchen and bar, and shelves and cabinets overflowing with jars of house-made pickles, sauces and condiments. From curing to pickling and growing its own herbs and vegetables kerbside, this place takes in-house produce more seriously than most.
Everything in this bustling culinary universe orbits around bread. The baking of it is in wood-fired ovens; the sharing of it at communal tables. Marry its artisan breads with any dish on the menu and you’ll grasp the spirit of this place. Pair it with the pickled garfish with lashings of pickled fennel and orange and served with a heart-stoppingly incendiary hot sauce.
Vegetables are elevated here. As a dish of eggplant, shiitake, miso, sesame and ginger pickled cucumber attests, its dark fermented, Japanese-esque flavours are given lift-off with shizo leaves from the kerbside garden. The signature dish at BiC is lamb ribs. They were among the first to plate up this now common dish, but few do it better. It’s redolent of Sunday roasts at nan’s courtesy of a real-deal mint sauce.
Desserts err on the ooey-gooey, fairground end of the spectrum and are pure fun. Cheeses are well kept and plentiful.
Bread in Common is that uncommon restaurant that evokes not just mediaeval food halls and Victorian boarding schools, but the enduring power of that age-old ritual of breaking bread with friends and strangers.