The Federal Hotel operated for a couple of decades under the Rosie O’Grady banner before undergoing renovations and re-opening about 18 months ago, with the original name is one of the better pubs in Fremantle – a great restoration, a number of bars and eating areas, both inside and out, all flowing together to create a welcoming and stylish ambience.
The food also sets it apart from the run of the mill. They of course cover all the pub classics – burgers, fish and chips, chicken parmi as well as a number of share dishes that are a little different from the mainstream.
We settled on a few of the smaller share dishes – all turned out well, both in presentation and preparation.
Crispy squid in a flavoured crumb of paprika and lime was very good indeed – the crispiness of the coating belied the tender and moist squid inside – a salad of rocket and cucumber, a creamy aioli all combined well.
If you are in Freo then Fremantle octopus should be on the cards and this dish of pickled occy was spot on, tender chunks with vinegary, sharp flavours – another snappy dish. A green salad and lemon cheeks sat alongside.
In a bamboo basket sat four nicely gelatinous steamed dumplings, filled with well-seasoned and moist chopped prawns, with a little dipping bowl of chilli oil to add a touch of zest.
Finally, from the pub classics, a burger – this of buttermilk fried chicken, fresh tomato, herbed mayo and crisp lettuce, nestling in a brioche bun, with a side of chips – hit the spot.
The wine list is smallish, but contains a good selection – Xanadu, Tim Adams, Howard Park, Hay Shed Hill, Flametree and Jim Barry all have a part of play – we went for a Margaret River rosé from Swings and Roundabouts – a blend of Malbec, Tempranillo and Sangiovese it is pale salmon in colour, with a bouquet of cherries and spice, the plate crisp, dry and full of raspberry and cranberry flavours – fine companion to our food.
This is an excellent renovation and restoration of one of the grandest buildings in the port city – with gently muted colours, beautiful ceilings, arches, slate floors, flowing out to a pretty little outdoor courtyard and beer garden – with good quality food and drink, it is a must if you are in Fremantle and looking for a high quality watering hole.