The arrival of Madalena’s in June this year was emblematic of what’s hot and what’s not in the rapidly changing and volatile WA hospitality scene. Make no bones about it, Madalena’s is hot – it has created a buzz which it has lived up to. Not bad for a nondescript bar at the southern end of South Fremantle.

Why is it hot, when many aren’t? It’s super casual, real, unpretentious and simple, but its cookery and service style is innovative and engaging. These people like you and it shows. And the floor staff are easy to like in return.

Madalena’s is one of the most authentic, enjoyable new bars we’ve encountered.

For a seafood bar, Madalena’s serves a fine duck liver parfait. It was so enriched with clarified butter and whole eggs, it’s a wonder it didn’t split in the cooking. It was served with toasted baguette and organic prunes which the chef had dehydrated, just so he could rehydrate them in vermouth and honey. Stop it.

Fresh sardines were even simpler. The fish were as fresh as first snow, simply gutted and grilled whole. They were slightly charred for a nice smoky back beat and, as one expects of sardines, they were full of oily, strong, fishy flavours.

Madalena’s lemon tart is a proper classic, filled with a silky, tart lemon custard and built around a crisp and thin tart shell. It was teamed with clotted cream which had been cultured until soured and complex.

Madalena’s is a great bar where you can prop and have a drink in comfort. It has a brilliant, modern wine list. It’s the sort of bar restaurant you’ll talk about the next day around the water cooler and one of the top new venues of 2019.