I’ve been to Perotta’s At The Gallery a million and one times for breakfast and lunch but I’ve only been there once for dinner way back in about 2004. After a long day in transit on my way home from the NT capital, MS picked me up at the airport and after deciding that neither of us wanted to cook – who am I kidding MS doesn’t cook! – we headed to Perotta’s for dinner. With my Entertainment Book Gold Card offering me ‘buy one get one free’ main meals I figured now was a good a time as any to try out the dinner menu.
The place was about ½ full when we arrived so we chose a seat near the entrance closest to the lagoon. We ordered wine to celebrate the first time seeing each other in 4 weeks and had a squiz at the menus. The menu at Perotta’s has something to suit most people with plenty of variety and not just your standard run of the mill boring dishes. My go to dish when I go there for lunch is the Chilli Salt Squid Salad and although that is featured on the dinner menu I figured it might be time to branch out.
To start with we ordered the Garlic Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Mint and Calabrian Chilli (AU$9) and the Burrata Caprese with Heirloom Tomato, Watermelon, Rocket Pesto and Raspberry Vinegar (AU$21). MS asked me what Burrata was and thinking I was all sophisticated and smart I told him that it was a type of Cured Italian Meat. Boy did we get a surprise when it the Burrata arrived at our table a short while later – a good surprise though! Turns out Bresaola is the Italian Cured Meat that I’d gotten confused with and Burrata is actually an Italian Cheese. Pfft I totally knew that.
In all honesty the Garlic Bruschetta wasn’t really anything to write home about but it was actually perfect for mopping up the last bits of Burrata and Rocket Pesto. I’m normally hesitant to eat watermelon since I was a little kid and my dad told me a watermelon vine was going to grow in my stomach after I swallowed a seed. Thanks dad, way to scar me for life and now I absolutely refuse to eat any type of grape (unless in wine) or watermelon (even the ‘seedless’ variety). The Burrata with juicy Heirloom Tomatoes was a beautiful and tasty dish that we both enjoyed. It was a great start to the night – I highly recommend this one.
Next up for our mains MS had ordered the Pork Spare Ribs with Fennel, Apple Cider Vinegar and Pickled Pineapple (AU$37) which came with a big bowl of chips and I had the 8 Hour Lamb Shoulder, 3 Wheat Salad, Almond, Mint, Pomegranate and Spicy Cumin Yogurt (AU$36).
MS’ Pork Spare Ribs were literally falling off the bone – the way ribs should be IMO – and were covered in a delicious tangy glaze. The Pickled Pineapple was nice but needed to be pickled just that little bit longer. We both thought the serving size was a little bit small for $37 but MS was pretty full by the time he polished them off.
My 8 Hour Lamb Shoulder was super tasty albeit a little on the small side for the price ($36). The added crunchy strips of bacon/pancetta/prosciutto whatever the hell it was really added to the dish. Despite the size of the dish I actually struggled to finish it. I find rich cuts of meat like Lamb Shoulder, Lamb Shanks and Beef Cheeks fill me up really quick and I can’t eat a whole lot although I want to. Give me Garlic Bread however and I can eat that carby goodness till the cows come home! We wanted to stick around for dessert especially after I spotted the Eton Mess on the Dessert Menu (the only one I know of in town) but we just couldn’t fit it in.
It’s got to be the number one place in Cairns for people watching – with wine of course! The wait staff are very friendly and professional, in fact it’s consistently one of the better places in Cairns in terms of service (something Cairns is usually lacking in). I do find that the food, particularly the mains, are a little expensive for what you get and this is something that seems to be reiterated in other online reviews I’ve read. Nearly 20 years of good food and service is certainly a mean feat in this small town. According to their website Perotta’s (as the locals like to call it) has been around since 1997 would you believe? Yes I was a little surprised by that too so I guess you could also call this place a bit of a Cairns institution – seems I’m using that word a lot these days.
Perotta’s At The Gallery
38 Abbott St, Cairns QLD 4870. Ph: (07) 40315899
Opening Hours: 7 days a week 6.30am – 10pm
Today I got the opportunity to visit and wander around the Fremantle Markets. The last time that I was in Fremantle was for the America’s Cup way back in 1987 when I was about 3 years old – hmmm so how old am I? All I can remember from that time is fireworks, which frankly I’m surprised I’m able to remember that much. This time around I am surely old enough to remember a little more – unfortunately there was no fireworks to speak of. As I am over here for work I haven’t really had a chance to get out and do much but today I got the opportunity to go somewhere other than the gym.
One of my workmates and I headed down to check out the markets on what has been a ridiculously cold, wet and windy day – the wind is still howling outside. Sadly hoping for warming weather I left my trusty ugg’s in Cairns and despite being confined to the space of the little apartment I’m staying in my toes are like ice. Yes I’m bred in the tropics that’s for sure.
Anyway so as usual I read a few reviews on Trip Advisor about the markets – some good, some bad – and I decided I wouldn’t listen to the haters and I would have to check it out for myself and after running in soaked from the car park because it was literally bucketing down I was greeted with the smell of sizzling bratwurst. Wouldn’t every day be a good day if you were greeted with the smell of sizzling bratwurst?
My workmate and I parted ways, agreeing on a time to meet back at the bratwurst stand and off we went…
There’s quite an array of food to choose from at the Fremantle Markets. One of the reviews on Trip Advisor said that the Fremantle Markets was disappointing and no where near as good as Adelaide Central Markets. Well, as someone that has never been to the Adelaide Markets I cannot confirm or deny but seriously why can’t people just enjoy the markets for what they are rather than comparing them to one over 2700km away? If I compared the toned figure that I had this time last year to the one I have right now well I’d be pretty damn disappointed now wouldn’t but it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges, or lemons to oranges (whatever the hell that saying is). You just don’t do it.
The Fremantle Markets, according to the Fremantle Markets website, is situated in a heritage listed grand old Victorian building that was first opened in 1897. With a mix of fresh produce, food stalls, arts, crafts, jewellery stalls, home wares and even buskers it’s home to more than 150 stalls and is a bit of a must-see for locals and tourists alike.
When I arrived at the markets I actually had every intention of observing but not eating anything, despite the aroma of bratwurst and the homemade blackberry jam donuts a couple of stalls down. That was until I came along a little stall that sold Indian and Sri Lankan food. Given my Sri Lankan heritage I know all too well the delectable savoury treats that my nana used to make when I was a little girl. Sadly though my nana passed away over 20 years ago now and pan rolls and fish roti are pretty much non-existent in Cairns. My mum was just 8 years old when she immigrated to Australia with the rest of her family and although she makes a mean curry, deep fried Sri Lankan pastries take a little more time and care. To get my fix I have to rely on either travelling to Melbourne or begging my aunties to bring some with them when they come to Cairns for a visit. Given this rarity when I saw a stall selling pan rolls at the Fremantle Markets all my observation bets were off. I bought a Beef and Potato Pancake Roll and a Seeni Sambol Paan roll. They were both delicious, albeit a little doughy, and devoured in less than 5 minutes.
I continued on passing a few other food stalls… Crepes, Japanese Noodles, a Burger Bar, raw food, a bakery, cookies, cupcakes, a deli, Hot Dog stand, Argentinian food, paella, gozlemes, fudge, sushi, jerky, honey and plenty more! It all looked delicious and there were plenty of tourists and locals enjoying the fare these stalls had to offer.
At the other end of the market is a large selection of fresh produce – a bit like Rusty’s Market’s in Cairns but smaller. Both my workmate and I were a little upset that we hadn’t come to the markets sooner as we only have a few more days in Fremantle left. We would have saved a lot more money if we had spent last Saturday buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the Fremantle Markets rather having daily visits to Coles down the road *sigh*.
Anyway so after a pancake roll, a paan roll, a bag of jerky and a taste of my workmates Beef, Spinach and Fetta Gozleme I was as my father would say “up to pussy’s bow”. So much for my self control *sigh*.
The Fremantle Markets are well worth a look for anyone that is visiting Fremantle but do yourself a favour and unless you’re going specifically to eat, don’t go when you are hungry because if you can resist the pan rolls, the fresh made jam filled donuts, the paella, the bratwurst hotdogs or the giant cookies I guarantee you won’t be able to resist the copious amounts of locally grown juicy strawberries or the freshly baked sourdough bread. Mmmm sourdough….
Corner of South Terrace and Henderson St, Fremantle WA 6959
Opening hours : Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat and Sun 8am – 6pm