A laid-back with a killer wine list and seafood-heavy menu makes for an ideal South Freo long lunch.
Is there anywhere better to have a long and boozy lunch with friends than Madalena’s, the South Fremantle charmer that’s been open since 2018? We think not. The vintage storefront dining room exudes the kind of laid-back charisma that might be right at home in Paris or Brooklyn, and the seafood-heavy menu and natural wine focus do share some positive similarities with Paris’s much-celebrated Clamato.
A main course of firm-fleshed toothfish topped with barbecued mushrooms and a smoked bone velouté is fish cookery at its finest.
Chef Adam Rees’ cooking is bracing and to the point: sweet, plump blue prawn ceviche is matched with avocado and lychee and garnished with nasturtium; raw mackerel is paired with juicy pink grapefruit, smoked crème fraîche and bitter greens. A main course of firm-fleshed toothfish topped with barbecued mushrooms and a smoked bone velouté is fish cookery at its finest.
Non-fish options are just as enticing, including a killer duck-liver parfait swathed in vermouth jelly and served with grilled sourdough bread. Vegetables and salads, like an elegant witlof and pear number, are also winners. But the best reason to come is for the vibe and Rees’ incredibly delicate touch with all manner of creatures from the sea. That, and the outstanding bar upstairs, a destination in itself.