A casual, chef-led bistro with emphasis on wood-burning cookery, lots of vegetables, and a solid core of kitchen technique.
In a fickle, often personality-driven restaurant world, there’s something comforting and reassuring about a place like Manuka Woodfire Kitchen where ego, and pretension, are pushed to the back-burner. It’s why this chef-owned and operated neighbourhood bistro will always have a place in our affections – Manuka’s Kenny McHardy knows his audience, sticks to his knitting. No wonder his informal and friendly Fremantle kitchen has such a loyal following.
Plates of wood-roasted vegetables with goat’s curd – vegetables are admirably worshipped here – bear all the scars of a kitchen using fire and natural fuels.”
Ironically, the wood-burning kitchen isn’t really apparent to most visitors until, that is, plates of food start hitting the table. Smoky and effortlessly light baba ganoush from a charcoal grill; hummus Yotam Ottolenghi would covet; and puffy house-made “flat bread” – in reality more spongy focaccia than pita – straight from the oven. And those plates of wood-roasted vegetables with goat’s curd – vegetables are admirably worshipped here – bear all the scars of a kitchen using fire and natural fuels, as do blistered and jointed pieces of quality chicken served with white miso sauce and pickled cabbage (McHardy favours a few Japanesque touches). Good produce, clean and sensible cooking teamed with solid service mean the value-for-money equation here is unquestionable.