Walking into Epicure, a reasonably new bar on High Street in Fremantle, you get the impression this could be another great addition to the scene in the Port city. The furniture is attractive – the owner apparently owns or owned a jarrah furniture store so put to use some lovely jarrah tables and chairs in the bar – there are also a couple of those large wooden cable spools used as tables and it was at one of those that we sat.
The floor is painted cement, there is some wall art, the menu is written up on a large blackboard towards the back, and a central table holds the daily papers for those who want to catch up on the news.
The drinks list is very limited but has a few good wines on it and we ordered a couple of glasses of Pierre et Papa rosé, a drop from Provence which I have reviewed a number of times previously so I won’t go into details here, save to say it is very pleasant.
To the food, the blackboard listed a couple of share plates, some other dishes described as tapas and a couple of specials of the day. We decided to try the seafood share plate.
It didn’t take long to appear, but the presentation was pretty poor – a couple of slices of smoked salmon at one end of a long narrow plate, then a mound of salt and pepper squid, a small bowl of garlic prawns, three or four large pieces of warmed Turkish bread and, somewhat out of place, a small bowl of black olives and one of smoky hummus. This didn’t seem a great deal for the price – a little salad or dipping sauce or fish or mussels may have made a difference.
Anyway, the salmon was a proprietary product, nothing special – when so many places are serving up house cured or smoked fish this was a bit of a letdown however it was OK as far as it goes.
The prawns were, on the other hand, very good – cooked well, retaining a little firmness, plump, tender and the sauce in which they came was well seasoned, good garlic flavours, buttery and creamy.
Then came the squid – it didn’t look the part, the batter had mostly fallen off before it got to the plate, the taste and aroma if anything was of stale cooking oil, no salt or pepper flavours at all. It was dry and so chewy as to be almost inedible. I managed two small pieces, Lady FWO one, before giving up – it is among the worst dishes I have ever been served. I cannot believe a chef would have plated up such an unappetising looking, let alone tasting dish.
Epicure of High has enormous potential – it is well located on High Street, the place is attractive and appealing both inside and from the street; the wine list could do with a bit of an upgrade – a few more choices would enhance the place but the food needs major improvement if what we were dished up is any guide. That the prawns were well cooked indicates some kitchen skills, but the squid showed either a lack of care or skill or both…it was totally unacceptable. We could not, at this time, recommend Epicure when there are so many good little bars around Freo.