Manuka Woodfire Kitchen, Fremantle

My sister Juji summed it up simply: “Everything is so good and I just feel really happy.”

It’s been a while since a restaurant meal was so satisfying. A whole sea mullet, eyeballs and all, baked in the oven, crinkled skin and tender flesh soaking up the pan juices good enough to drink; a well dressed baby kale salad with the surprisingly addictive crunch of toasted buckwheat; wood-roasted wedges of smoky pumpkin with crumbled feta and spiced pepitas; warm, pillowy bread with a magnificent crust dusted with the chef’s seven secret herbs and spices; and this year’s Taste of Perth Festival ‘Best of Taste’ winner, the incredibly juicy wood-roasted chicken served with pickled red cabbage and miso sauce. We rolled each succulent slice of chicken in the sauce and yearned to lick the plate. There were three of us at lunch and all of this umami goodness plus a round of drinks came to $33 per person.

Chef Kenny McHardy has mastered the hot kiss of wood fire to create a sensational taste of Freo that’s devoid of wankery and well worth the drive. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Manuka Woodfire Kitchen
134 High St, Fremantle WA 6160
Open for lunch 12pm to 3pm on weekends only
Open for dinner 5pm to 9pm every night except Monday

Flat bread with Cooladerra Farm olive oil, baked fresh to order (AU$9) The flat bread with olive oil from Cooladerra Farm in Frankland River, Western Australia, baked fresh to order (AU$9) was one of the best house-baked breads I’ve eaten in a restaurant in Perth – I don’t say that lightly.

Too fluffy to be flat bread, I think - but I'm not complaining.Too fluffy to be flat bread, it was more like a savoury doughnut – but trust me, after you sink your teeth into that amazing golden-brown crust and taste those secret herbs and spices, you won’t care what it’s called either.

Baby kale salad, toasted buckwheat, Japanese turnip and vinaigrette (AU$12) Baby kale salad with toasted buckwheat and Japanese turnip (AU$12).

Wood-roasted pumpkin, feta, spiced pepita and snow pea sprouts (AU$14) Wood-roasted pumpkin with feta, spiced pepitas and snow pea sprouts (AU$14).

Wood-roasted chicken pieces, red cabbage, miso sauce (AU$21)Superbly succulent wood-roasted chicken pieces with red cabbage and miso sauce (AU$21). A table of four will probably need two servings of this dish.

Oven-baked whole sea mullet with baby leek, tomato, lemon and basil (AU$21)Don’t overlook the mullet! Locally caught and oven-baked whole sea mullet with baby leek, tomato, lemon and basil (AU$21).

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DSCF7412Manuka Woodfire Kitchen

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