What can I say?
My mother told me as I was growing up, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This may well be one of those times. Am I going to not say anything? Not likely!
You would think that a boutique brewery, frequented by the fine-tasting-beer-loving population of Fremantle would have a kitchen that could produce simple food of a decent enough standard to not detract from, but add to, the taste sensation. Clearly this is not the case this time around.
I have been going to Little Creatures on and off since they opened in Fremantle with the then humble brewery. The fare was passable back then. When I took a friend who had been out of the country for a number of years there last week, I would have expected them to have had a good amount of time to tweak the menu so that it matched their beers and ciders better.
My friend was more concerned with getting her fix of getting a beer that she is not able to get her hands on back home in British Columbia, than anything to eat with it. As I am sure all my readers can understand, a chance to eat somewhere different can never be passed up.
We had all just had lunch, so we really weren’t hungry. We were also about to go and have a really nice dinner cooked for us by our other guest, so a large offering from the kitchen wasn’t really on the cards. this is probably a good thing. It took forever to get a waitperson to serve us. We sat down and were given some water, then the waiter left us to make a decision on our food and drinks. We sat there for over ten minutes trying to find someone who would come and serve us. In the end the guy who came over was a bit rude. When we mentioned that we had been waiting quite some time after being sat down to be served and had tried to get the attention of a couple of the wait staff, he promptly said, “Well, I’m here now” after introducing himself to the table with “So, what’s going on here guys? Want any drinks or food?” Not exactly how I would have done it. In fact, when he came and put the food and drinks down, he just slid them on the edge of the table without seeing if we wanted anything else, so even engaging us.
Now, you all know I’m not exactly one to tell you about the service in too much depth. My focus is the food. this, however, was bad. Really bad. I felt like we were all taking up his valuable, precious time and we were supposed to just accept the poor service.
Another point leading to the validation of not ordering something more substantial was a walk past the pizza station. There was food all over the place, it was untidy, the glass was messy, the food was open to the air, and this was even with no pizzas having just been completed or in the process of being made. And it was early in the service time.
When the bruchetta arrived, all three of us looked at it and we all sighed.
Goat’s cheese and roasted capsicum on lightly toasted italian crusty bread, was on the menu. It didn’t appear to us that the four tiny pieces in the basket was quite what we had in mind when we ordered it.
When we started eating it, we were even further disappointed.
The goat’s cheese was flavourless and actually reminded me of ricotta in its texture. It had nothing of the pungent, earthy tones you normally get with even the cheapest of goat’s cheeses.
The roasted capsicum was also flavourless. Roasted vegetables normally makes them a lot sweeter and makes them pack more of a flavour punch. This was like chewing on slimy, soggy nothing. When the waiter came to clear the plate he did ask if we wanted anything else. We conveyed the lack of flavour. He then tried to tell us that the capsicum was marinated in garlic, so maybe that was why the flavour was different. When we said that surely that should have meant there was some kind of flavour, as opposed to an extreme lack of flavour, he then conceded that he wasn’t really impressed with it either.
As a bit of an experiment, the next day we replicated the dish, with significantly better results and at a fraction of the exorbitant cost for flavourless cardboard. The cheese was creamy and full of that lovely flavour that you expect from goat’s cheese. The roasted capsicum wasn’t even home-made. It came out of a jar from the store and not even a specialty store! Just a supermarket. The bread was also just from the supermarket.
Now, I don’t normally give you an idea of food that I eat at home, because it’s not exactly what this blog is for, but I thought I needed to show you the glaring differences between the two dishes. Also, if I can make this at home for less and have it turn out better (keeping in mind that I’m not really a cook or chef), then surely it stands to reason that a kitchen at an eating establishment should be able to get it right.
Also, as it has been said over and over in cooking show currently on television, the simpler a dish is, the harder it is to hide imperfections. Bruchetta is so incredibly easy, and actually so very difficult to get wrong, that I have to tell you all to really not bother with this dish at Little Creatures. In fact, glancing at the rest of the menu, there is nothing at all that makes me think I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them another go. I will drink their beer, but insofar as the food is concerned – steer clear.
40 Mews Road
Fremantle WA 6160
May I suggest that you give The Big Chef in Vic Park a visit some time. It’s actually a lot nicer than it looks like it should be… The decor is non-existent and nothing tells you that it’s Lebanese, No ambiance to make you want to stay and linger over a coffee. After that, the food came as a pleasant surprise, although technically now I know that lamb is also a white meat…
Thanks for the heads-up Bernard. I’ll check it out sometime soon! 🙂