Before I moved to Moscow, I had this whole concept of finding more of myself in a new big city and adopting full independence in a non-English speaking country. This thought may have been slightly romanticised, but for me I was just really looking forward to having the space to create something different and pursue things that I didn't get to a chance to whilst I was living comfortably in Perth. I decided then and there to expand on my repertoire - I was hoping to approach food from a back to basics point of view. It was very refreshing to make everything from scratch, especially when it came to simple things that we often take for granted like salad dressings, sauces, mayo and pestos. More recently, I've perfected a favourite pizza dough recipe and tried baking bread and fresh pasta a few times - it so soothing to devote my free time to working in the kitchen that I almost never want to leave. I found bread to be especially challenging and really do tip my hat off to those who have mastered artisan baking. Since my bread making journey has only just begun, I have absolutely no qualms with "inspecting" (enthusiastically eating) the produce of the real bread masters!
The latest all day dining venue to take Perth by storm has unexpectedly cropped up in Fremantle - to that I say, about time! And the second best part? They take their namesake seriously and pump out fresh bread daily from their in house wood fired ovens, affectionately named Hansel and Gretel.
I love an excuse to head over to Freo and I'm certain that after a wonderful brunch at Bread in Common, that I'll be revisiting to enjoy their good vibes well into the later hours. It's a beautiful space that's filled with warmth, communal tables and hanging light bulbs; it smells absolutely terrific and it's huge! Having said that - try and make a reservation for weekends anyway. We did wait for almost half an hour, it was a little frustrating that a few smaller parties of threes and twos were seated before us in anticipation of a bigger table - but it was well worth it!
Bread starts at $2 per person and our waitress was great about throwing a selection of their daily finest together for all 5 of us. We decided on a few of their side spreads to accompany our selection. There is a vast variety on offer from your basic butter and olive oil, to a few delicious sounding savoury spreads and even some house made jam. The word "house made" always evokes my food senses - when aspects of a dish have been created within the very restaurant that you're eating in, it always makes an experience seem more authentic and executed with great care.
The aromas and textures of the bread were captivating - this was some seriously fresh bread. I discovered something rather endearing about M whilst we were living in Moscow - she's a bread "skin"/crusts appreciator! Coincidentally, I'm quite fond of the soft bread "flesh"/centre, so trying bread together is always a win-win situation. The bread selection got a resounding tick of approval from us both!
We decided to deviate from the usual bread and butter affair and try some of Bread in Common's more unique offerings. Every last slick of the Eggplant spread was mopped up with much enthusiasm; it was sweet, well seasoned and carried on a lovely roasted flavour that complimented the smokeyness from the wood fired bread. Although a spread being called "whipped pork" really caught my attention, it could have done with a little more seasoning. Thankfully the fennel really came through and the addition of pistachios were great!
As with any new place in town, I'm always pegging a great degree of hope that the coffee will make a resounding impact. I was quick to pick the Coffee Spritz, which I thought was a great idea! Think of the potential of having a smooth, strong Cold Drip, but bubbly! It would make such a perfect Summer beverage and I'm hoping that the rest of Perth catches on soon. However, I will say that this Coffee Spritz although being a great idea, was not well executed - despite it being fresh and fizzy, it was bland and there just wasn't enough of a coffee kick for my liking. Sips of the ever reliable Feral's Hop Hog also made the rounds of our table and was much enjoyed (I had my first try of Hop Hog and a few other Feral Brewing craft beers at last month's Yelp Event at Five Bar)
Considering that Freo is home to some great coffee hautes, I was really hoping that Bread in Common would join those ranks. The three coffees that we had on the table (2 Long Macs and 1 Mocha) were rather bland and didn't leave much of an impression.
I love green tomatoes - especially when they're thick sliced, crumbed and fried, which I came to know of through one of my favourite food series, Unique Eats. They also make a great basis for relishes and sauces, which were such a beautiful additive to this moreish Pork Belly. I liked that it was thinly sliced and charred well, instead of in the usual large slab which more or less often makes the pork seem fattier. The assortment of beans were also very tasty and well cooked; it was just a really impressive, well put together dish.
Watermelon is a great additive with seafood, which I recently reaffirmed at MoVida whilst in Melbourne and previously on a Soft Shell Crab and Watermelon dish from Nobu. This dish had such great, punchy flavours which were a perfect balance of sweetness and tangyness. The octopus was perfectly cooked and of course, very well paired with the watermelon - it was my favourite dish of the day.
Another amazingly simplistic and yet well executed dish, were the Lamb Ribs. I gave the lime a liberal squirt over the pile of tender ribs, which went great with the fresh mint. These were fall off the 100% clean bone tender and something that's worth fighting table companions for! Although I didn't get much flavour from the chilli or the black garlic, the mint and lime really shone through without overpowering the juicy, savoury lamb. So far, we were very impressed by the dishes that Bread in Common had to offer!
We were hoping to rave about all four dishes by the end of lunch but unfortunately the duck fat potatoes fell short. They were extremely blond in appearance - even the roasted garlics seemed like they had more duck fatty flavour then the potatoes themselves! They were basically bland and unimpressive, which was mildly improved by the ketchup and a little salt. If only the skins were more crispy and well seasoned!
I am really impressed that Bread in Common do take the baking aspect of their operation seriously. Especially since they also seem to do a lot of things in house and really use the great space that they have to it's full potential. It's still a very new place with noticeable growing pains, especially when it comes to service and dealing with big crowds. But I'm sure they will smooth out in time in weeks to come and here's hoping I caught them on a bad coffee day. All the hype and the short wait at the beginning of the meal was well worth the anticipation as all but the potato dish impressed. I'd love to come back and check out their dinner menu, the fit out is killer and something that I think would be really enjoyable at night time too!