Not since the spectacular rise – and fall – of Turkish restaurant Eminem has Perth enjoyed Middle Eastern flavours worthy of national acclaim. Kurt Sampson and co at Propeller in North Fremantle have put this to rights. The all-day concept hits Perth’s dining sweet spot: casual, coastal and affordable with bold, fresh flavours. The nod to Freo port and its shipping containers remains, but the outdoor courtyard has recently been clad in a stylish grown-up, louvre-lined shell.
But it’s Sampsons clever food that fans come here for, not architectural stylings.
Hearth-seared and bubbly za’tar bread with spiced Turkish eggs rate among the best breakfasts in Perth. Expect a changing cast including plump, juicy whitebait with glossy garlic mayo; florid and deeply-flavoured beet and olive dips; ridiculously tender rabbit cooked over coals with punchy baba ganoush and pickled fine red onions and parsley salad; smoked cauliflower florets drenched in hot harissa sauce cooled by rose-flecked labne, delicate mushroom pastries, or perfectly salted skirt steak with a luscious coriander sauce.
Sweets are riffs on the classics, including a cheesy, crumbly knafeh with blood orange, raspberry and orange flower syrup. Sampson trained with some masters – notably Melbourne’s Greg Malouf and our own David Coomer – but here he has rightfully emerged as a star in his own right.
Dog lovers come in the droves in summer to sit outside and sip Propeller’s superb coffees and nibble on their rightly famous Portuguese custard tarts.