I don’t live close to Fremantle, so I wouldn’t say that it’s a suburb I visit frequently, but over the course of a week I called into May Street Larder twice, East Freo was in focus.
The first visit was with my good friend Mrs P, aka @theholynailperth, for a breakfast adventure. We were both keen to go, however for an early bird week day breakfast it did pose some logistical challenges, but we were committed. With it being the last week that Mrs P would be driving to work and being school holidays the conditions aligned and I found myself curb side one winter morning at 6.20am waiting to road trip it to May Street. We made excellent time though and were the first ones through the door at 7am. For a venue that was a Red Rooster in a previous life they have made it a really welcoming space that has a funky contrast between the wooden chairs, old school lights, flower arrangements and the stark polished concrete floors.
I had done some recon on the menu and had my short list narrowed down to two and ended up going with the Zucchini, Lupin & Lemon Fritters (gf), smashed avocado, tomato jam, poached eggs & savoury granola ($21) and a long mac, while Mrs P decided to mix things up with the Pulled Pork Croquettes, smoked corn, kimchi & greens ($17) along with a kombucha from The Juicist.
May Street Larder is the second venue from the team behind Bib & Tucker.
The Larder offers a fresh take on fun and thoughtful dining, with a focus on seasonal foods and the best local produce Western Australia has to offer. Open for breakfast and lunch, customers can expect an ever-changing menu, plus a broad range of food items prepared daily from seasonal salads, raw treats, cooked meats, rustic pastries and more.
May Street Larder strives for balance above all else in its menu, serving up a mixture of raw, paleo, and organic foods, with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure. Gourmet sandwiches, CocoWhip, twice cooked crispy pork belly, pies, smoked ocean trout, quiche, and house-made chocolate, are just some examples of what to expect when dining, at May Street Larder. Wash it all down with house-made sodas and Kombucha on tap, plus Campos coffee, available as takeaway or dine in.
Our drinks arrived swiftly and it was a nice Long Mac and very welcomed given the early start, when a caffeine boost is always appreciated, which I would say is the case most, ok every, morning.
Our breakfasts weren’t far away after that, really quite a speedy affair, and both looked delicious! My generous fritters were topped with two perfectly poached eggs on a bed of the avo and tomato jam and an artistic of rocket and a sprinkle of the savoury granola, which reminded me of a dukkah with its mild spice. Lupins, I believe, are set to be the next big ingredient, move over kale sorta gear. They are a WA grain and have plenty of health benefits and are also incredibly filling in fritter form! I managed to make it through this big ol’ breakfast and suspected I wouldn’t need any morning tea that day and that lunch would be on the smaller side.
Across the table Mrs P polished off her croquettes and I was fortunate enough to try a bite and they were delicious. I quite like the idea of pulled pork for breakie, meaty and substantial and I suspect the meat lover in my life would be a fan too. It had been well worth the early start and I was definitely keen to head back and try out other breakie menu items. It’s a pleasure when a place has a creative breakfast offering and I have heard a lot of good things about their ‘Soul Sandwich’ with its polenta waffle and buttermilk fried chicken, oh yes, get indulgent in the morning!
And it was the day after we breakfasted there that May Street Larder were set to make their dinner debut, opening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with their first theme being their spin on Soul Food. Their themes were driven by customer suggestions and will change every three months. Keeps things fresh for the kitchen team and for the lucky diners who gets to try something new each quarter.
I felt incredibly fortunate to be invited along with a small group of others to get my Soul Food on and sample what turned out to be nearly the entire menu. And I’m not going to lie. That’s pretty much my idea of heaven, because usually when you visit somewhere, unless you go in a really big group, it would be unlikely that you’d have the chance to try a bit of this and a bit of that and really fine tune your menu favourites so you’d know exactly what you’d be ordering on your next visit. Research, insight, fine tuning – bring on the new menu 🙂
What became apparent is that while the focus was on Soul Food everything had its own May Street Larder flair, so it wasn’t a fried food heavy menu, as you would perhaps assume with such a theme. We kicked things of the smaller share dishes:
- Jalapeno Corn Bread with Real Maple Syrup
- Roasted Kale Chips with Celery Salt
- Wagyu Pastrami with Pickles
I’m not someone who would profess to be a massive lover of kale, but kale chips done right, like these were, all crispy and well salted are addictive. You find yourself reaching for another and another and another and hey where did the kale chips go? The pairing of the mildly spiced jalapeno corn bread along with a generous pour of the sweet maple syrup was delicious. Bread that’s a little bit naughty with that wonderful syrup. The wagyu pastrami was cured in house and then smoked and then teamed up with some in house made pickles, like an actual pickle and then other creative pickled veggies – celery, daikon, radishes and cauliflower. It’s all very larder and definitely confirmed for me that when I build I want a scullery so I can fill it with jars of pickles and preserved lemon, etc, but that dream is a long way off, but I suppose I could learn to pickle things now. I’m easily distracted. It was a very taste plate and really showcased the talent of the kitchen team.
Next up were two crowd pleasers and one of my favourite dishes.
- Pulled Beef Brisket Cigars with Buttermilk Aioli, Pickled Watermelon
- Rottnest Lobster Doughnuts with Lobster Aioli, Celery
A savoury donut filled with WA cray was always going to be a winner. Donuts are entirely magic and a savoury spin on one as an ode to a lobster roll, bravo May Street Larder, getting it done with their creativity! But even more than the lobster donut my heart belonged to those beef brisket cigars. Slow cooked beef brisket wrapped in crisp brik pastry were a taste sensation. Almost like a wonderful beefy spring roll and along with the aioli and zesty pickled watermelon it was a taste sensation and it was rocking my nation. Actually we were all questioning whether they actually sold jars of the pickled watermelon rind because I suspect we all would have headed home with a jar in tow.
There was then this crazy flurry of dishes that arrived in quick fire succession, bam, bam, bam!
- Fried Buttermilk Chicken with Kimchi Mayo
- Shrimp & Grits – Lupin Grits, smoked almonds, pickled radish, shisho
- Sloppy Jose – Pulled Pork, Chorizo, Avocado, Cabbage on Ciabatta with Pork Scratchings
- Blackened Ocean Trout – Cauliflower rice, puffed red rice, brown butter, lime
- Succotash – sweetcorn, buckwheat, green pea guacamole, mint
- Truffled Mac n Cheese – cheddar, parmesan, gruyere chese and truffle
- Ranch salad – Spinach, Ranch dressing, Crispy Corn Bread Croutons
It was hard to know where to start, but that fried chicken was calling my name. And it was magic, pure deep fried magic and I loved every last bite. I could have polished off a whole plate, or a bucket, is that how fried chicken usually comes? Somebody find me a bucket please, stat! The sloppy jose had an abundance of pulled pork, though I’ll admit because of some slight concerns about loading up on carbs I didn’t give it quite as much attention as I should have, though I can’t say the same of the accompanying scratchings. Loved them. Just loved them to bits! Couldn’t get enough! Then there was the ocean trout was perfectly cooked with it’s mild char and the cauli rice was really light and had this great crunch to it and a great zest from the lime. And the shrimp and grits was another imaginative spin, hello lupin grits! Perfectly plump prawns and the cute as pie lil’ radishes, it was as tasty as it was beautiful this dish. The ranch salad was a great and refreshing accompaniment and then there was the mac n cheese. Oh that mac n cheese, I mean come on! Look at all that truffle! Indulgence in black truffle form! It was a dish I knew would fill me up, but I couldn’t resist!
Now I’ll be the first to admit that after sampling a bit of this and a bit of that that I was a little on the fuller side, but there’s always room for dessert right? We were treated to both two:
- Pumpkin Pie – cinnamon sable, pepita granola, dulce del luche
- Crack pie – oatmeal crust, vanilla custard – simple but addictive
Oh the prettiness! The sweet prettiness of dessert. It makes my heart sing. The deconstructed pumpkin pie was kicky and fun and with lovely flavours, only subtly sweet, which was the ultimate contrast to the crack pie. As the name suggests this pie is addictive. It is a sugar rush at its ultimate, at its sugary best. That crust, the sweet vanilla custard filling I loved it, just everything about it.
Oh what a night. It’s a clever, creative menu, with a focus on interesting flavours and ingredients and I think you should take it under advisement that the clock is ticking and Soul Food is only around for three months, so lock in a weekend.
My thanks to the May Street Larder team for the invitation to dinner. It was a stellar evening and I really love what you’ve done with the Soul Food menu.