Seems there is a bit going on in Freo - and we are excited. We recently had a look at Jetty Bar & Eats which opened in July '21. Just up the road at the Warders Cottages Hotel, in Henderson Street in Fremantle, is Emily Taylor, a large cavernous space for up to 400 guests. Named for a spice ship wrecked off the Freo coast in the early 1800's, Emily Taylor is a bar and restaurant with a decidedly modern inspiration using local produce, done very well.
It's a mix of industrial, contemporary and old school with a limestone courtyard adorned with Chinese umbrellas and an industrial interior with modern lighting and high ceilings. Perched in full view is an open kitchen, under the guidance of chef Aldren Teo, effortlessly combining a SE Asian influence with local ingredients, while a mural painted by local artist Tessa Mackay adorns one wall of the building. Teo's food is vibrant, belting with flavour, generously spiced and visually stunning.
Set behind the Fremantle Markets, the place is hopping midweek and packed to the high industrial ceiling on the weekend for our visits. Both times were great with a real sense of hospitality and service, with efficient yet friendly staff only too keen to take care of us.
The drinks list makes me very happy, even with its spelling errors. There is a sensible sized collection but it shows some real thought and nuance, not just with the choices to match the food but the climate and the 'waterside meets inner urban melange' that is its vibe. After a local Beer Farm Asam Boi Gose off the tap to quench the thirst, we opted for a Gonc 'Pavel' 2018 Kerner from Slovenia, and Some Young Punks 'Monster Attack' Riesling from SA's Clare Valley. If there was one point to make on the wine list, it was the startling absence of any amount of WA wines. We only found a couple and with the Swan Valley, Margaret River and 7 other wine regions close by, it seemed like a missed opportunity.
Must eats include lobster and Manjimup truffle dumplings, Shark Bay scallop dumplings and plates of Geraldton kingfish Spice Island style, tapioca dusted Cone Bay barramundi with the most moreish green apple and cashew salad and Kung Pao style brussel sprouts. Now one of us is no fan of the little fart bombs but they were crispy and delicious.
Most of the menu is small and shared plates of dumplings, bao and things. The shared plates extend to seafood, lamb ribs, beef cheek and noodles.
The must do is the Emily Taylor Roast Duck - served either peking duck style or as a roast. We detected a generous use of Chinese Five Spice influence with the lacquer of local honey. It was bloody lovely and exceptionally good roasted with a plate of their fried rice.
The service on both occasions was great, with one night slightly less frazzled than the other, however, it was nice to be recognised when we returned after only one visit ten days earlier. It seems locals have been hanging out for a great space to eat really good pan Asian inspired food in a fabulously contemporary space with a very definite commitment to excellence. We look forward to our next visit.
Emily Taylor is at Warders Hotel 19-29 Henderson St, Fremantle WA
Open 7 days Mon - Thu from 11.30am, Fri-Sun from 9am for Yum Cha.