Beyond the fragrant lemon and olive trees that frame the entrance to Cook & Mason beats the heart of an unassuming neighbourhood restaurant with serious culinary soul.
Born of a partnership between two artisans, chef and stonemason, this East Freo winner prides itself on fresh, sustainably grown ingredients sourced exclusively from local farmers. Even the sourdough and cultured butter are artisanal, made on the premises.
The real Cook & Mason story is the astonishing flavour and range of sauces, emulsions and dressings that chef-owner Gord Kahle brings to the plate. Kahle wowed us with his fare at Il Lido, Crowded House and Cantina 663. Yet there’s an added magic to his offerings here, where the humblest ingredients are transformed and plated to share.
Consider the flavours of roast cauliflower, nestled in a silky sauce of walnut and miso, amped to sassy perfection by a tomato concasse with salted olive. Or a dish of tri-tip beef (a cut from the sirloin area) — so generous it could serve three —sealed with the char of a wood-fire, teamed with gooey confit shallots, then dressed in a sauce of anchovy and nasturtium. Bewitching.
A rhubarb dessert, bedded in white chocolate and fennel cream with licorice salt and rosemary oil was next level. There’s no mistaking the care lavished on every part of the business from its food through to its distinctive “low-intervention” wine-list and passionate and informed waitstaff. Cook and Mason is accomplished, clever, unpretentious and underscored by expert cookery.