This Freo funkster is like the jazz musicians who often play front of house here: eclectic, rambling and fun to hang out with. In summer the dappled tree-fringed courtyard is the spot to chill – in winter there’s a roaring fire.
But ultimately you come for Gary Bennett’s mod-Oz menu. Sharing is the go: confit pork cradled in thin crunchy pastry “cigars” with a whiskey caramel dipping sauce have become a classic, and there’s dips and olives for those who want to graze.
Bennett’s wood-fired treatment of both protein and vegetables is usually bang-on; heirloom baby carrots with yoghurt, honeyed farro and toasted pepitas is remarkable, as is pink snapper with a delicate orange, fennel and radish salad. And the kitchen is adept at tip-to-tail cooking – turning lamb into a fragrant, slow-cooked pull-apart jumble, or using offcut necks for a Moroccan-spiced masterpiece.
There’s the occasional discordant note, stock boxes dot the shabby chic space, and sometimes the wood heat is applied too liberally. But the relaxed, attentive service compensate.
For dessert, a brulee veers closer to a Catalan custard: orange and cardamom abound. And a trio of sorbets is regularly inventive (think white grapefruit, guava or blood plum) and crowned with delicate toffee shards.