Chef Kenny McHardy has made a name for himself cooking with an old pizza oven in a kitchen that has none of the high-end tools most chefs take for granted. His simple, recherché cooking is a magnet for those of us who admire woodfire cookery and simple ideas, executed with restraint and talent.
McHardy is one of Perth’s chefs with a bent for local, sustainable and spanking fresh produce, often grown or produced just for him. He does this without fuss or agenda – his main game is pleasing customers. And pleased you will be. There is, after all, a huge difference between a store bought carrot and a carrot just pulled from the ground prior to cooking.
In 2017, McHardy consolidated his “produce first” approach by purchasing all his proteins – Berkshire pigs, Dorper mutton, poultry and fish – whole, and breaking them down himself. It is a true nose-to-tail approach.
And the food? In McHardy’s own words, “it’s simple, straightforward, sort of like what your nanna used to put on the table.” We beg to differ – our nannas never cooked this well.
Wood-roasted Wagin quail is spatchcocked, smeared with the house dry rub, and cooked over the coals with raisins and verjuice. It is smoky and intense with barbecue flavour. Ditto his signature blackened carrots which are simply wood-roasted and plated with a creamy Ottolenghi-style sesame sauce and topped with a sprinkle of za’atar spice mix to add a fruity, spiky flourish.
The dining room is rustic, small and hugely welcoming. Mchardy’s partner, Jody, is a critical part of the business, keeping everything shipshape out front.
Manuka is our go-to in Fremantle. It should be yours too.