In a converted big old airy tin boat shed in Freo that was once a crocodile farm, you’ll find Little Creatures Brewery, established over a decade ago by a group of mates with a passion for great beer. Since then, the range of beers has expanded, Pipsqueak Cider was born and many of us Perth locals don’t hesitate to take our interstate and overseas visitors to Little Creatures for a taste of something we’re proud to call Western Australian.
This is a real brewery, with stainless steel tanks, tubes and pipes everywhere you look. Upstairs where local artists display their work, a strong beery hoppy smell wafts from below. But you don’t need to be a beer drinker to enjoy Little Creatures.
With the high ceiling and communal tables in this large, busy and noisy cavernous dining space, put some pointy hats and capes on the punters, pour them mugs of Little Creatures Butterbeer* and you could be in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. OK… so maybe not!
Dorky Harry Potter references aside, Little Creatures is anything but little, with a huge dining area inside, shaded alfresco out the front and a courtyard at the back with water views. In a place this size you may, quite reasonably, wonder if the service is any good.
Sydney visitors Craig and Caroline and I grab a table inside. Most of the dishes on the menu are designed for sharing; we order a few. First to arrive is the panfried haloumi and cherry tomatoes (AU$14). In the earthenware dish are fresh leaves of basil, which go so beautifully with the chewy salty cheese and pan-roasted sweet cherry tomatoes.
Watch out, people. These cherry tomatoes are juicy hot loaded weapons when eaten by diners carelessly eager with fork or teeth.
After we’ve ordered our food, I see the chefs stacking multiple plates of corn chips in the kitchen. The makes me a little nervous about the chilli beef nachos we’ve ordered, but what we get is a dish piled high with toasted corn chips, fresh tomato salsa, chilli beef with a decent kick, guacamole, sour cream and (to my delight) plenty of jalapenos. It’s tasty, generous and fun and we dig and scoop until there’s nothing left behind.
We also order prosciutto wrapped banana prawns with seeded mayo (AU$24). We get eight prawns, each topped with a dollop of creamy seeded mustard mayonnaise. The prawns are juicy but I have one gripe – if you’re going to bother sticking a skewer into each prawn, why leave the tails on? These could’ve been perfect prawn lollipops eaten straight off the sticks, but there’s still a need to get fingers dirty futzing around with the tails.
Caroline enjoys a refreshing Pipsqueak pear cider.
I came to Little Creatures years ago for a hens party on a Saturday afternoon; it was busy and felt slightly chaotic. There’s a decent crowd here for a Monday lunch time, and I’m impressed by our food and the efficient service. The most popular dishes by far are the nachos, frites, woodfired pizzas and bowls piled high with chilli mussels. It’s a great place to grab a feed and bevy with your mates.
Parked outside are Little Creatures bicycles which you can borrow for your own bike tour of Fremantle. I’ve never seem anyone riding around Freo on one of these bikes – do you know anyone who has?
*Sorry to tease – there is no Little Creatures Butterbeer.
Little Creatures Brewery
40 Mews Road
Fremantle WA 6160
Telephone: (08) 9338 8500
Bookings are not taken. Limited space for groups larger than 12.
Next door there are souvenirs for sale including Little Creatures cherub-branded T-shirts and other merchandise, and six-packs and cartons of beer and cider to take home. You can also get a closer look at the workings of the brewery.
Monday to Wednesday 10am to 12am
Thursday and Friday 10am to 12am
Saturday 9am to 12am
Sunday 9am to 11pm
In Melbourne? Check out Little Creatures Dining Hall in Fitzroy.
If you find yourself at Little Creatures in Fremantle by 26 April, you might like to venture upstairs and see my friend Charlene Winfred’s photographic exhibition, Tug Boat Dreaming. Read about Charlene’s love for tug boats.