Chalkys Espresso Bar, Fremantle
When I envisioned Chalkys Espresso Bar in Fremantle, for some odd reason, I was imagining a wharf with water surroundings, warehouse interior decor, and neutrals. So when I entered the real Chalkys, I was pleasantly surprised. Wooden and steel furnishings, concrete floors, and poster covered walls, without a drop of water in sight. I thought that the cafe was actually right next to the water, as it appeared on Google Maps, but The Roundhouse is actually next to Chalkys, separated by a tall wall.
I always love Fremantle. I love their use of old buildings and how they turn them into something amazing inside (Melbourne much? Which explains that the owners spent quite some time in Melbourne, taking the Melbourne vibe back to Perth). Their use of interior decorating is astounding and I wish I could channel that into my own home. I was on my day off at work and used the opportunity to take advantage of Perth’s gorgeous autumn weather. I drove down to Fremantle to get something to eat, and to pick up supplies from the super cheap Galati & Sons on Wray Avenue. I had a job application to complete (and I wanted to use their free wifi), so I brought my work along, and mistakingly sat opposite the open door that was blowing an insane amount of wind inside.
I was welcomed by their friendly staff and was given a menu. I decided to treat myself and got a lemon and peppermint lime iced tea by Stolen Recipe. The corn fritters on the menu sounded so mouthwatering, and I usually order corn fritters. I was craving something heavy that day, so I ordered the Hock, which sounded substantial just by the name alone. They had me at “potato and artichoke gratin”… potato always wins me over.
Stolen Recipe’s lemon and lime iced tea with peppermint ($4.50 for 300mL) wasn’t what I expected but it was still nice. It was tangy, a little bit bitter, and reminded me of my granddad’s Chinese medicinal oils with the peppermint. There wasn’t a whole lot of the drink to it, either. Oh well.
And then the Hock came out! It was huge! It had poached eggs, master stock braised pork hock, potato and artichoke gratin and housemade hollandaise ($20). The photo doesn’t do the food any justice. I honestly couldn’t finish it, but the Asian in me ate the most expensive bits of the meal to get my money’s worth. There was a crazy amount of hollandaise on it too (L wouldn’t approve!). I would’ve liked less hollandaise on it, as too much hollandaise makes Anna’s tummy a little bit upset. There was even a large amount of meat that had been given (the Asian inside of me gave the tick of approval). The potato and artichoke gratin was so delicious, and it helped tone down the full-on flavour from the pork hock. The hock was soft and deliciously braised. The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, but ultimately, there was just too much sauce. You’re either one that likes just enough sauce to not overpower the dish, or you want more, more, more.
I hung around a bit longer to get some work done, and did some people watching. There were those on their lunch breaks, others catching up with their friends on their days off work, some older folk exploring the sights and sounds of Fremantle and decided to pop in for a coffee, and some local university students grabbing some take away. In the end, I wish I had an excuse to come to always be in Fremantle, whether I was a Notre Dame University student or I was working at Fremantle Hospital. Fremantle is a good idea. Good food like Chalkys Espresso Bar in Fremantle is always a good idea.
Rating: 7 out of 10
- Open every day from 7am until 4pm.
- They use The Seventh Duchess loose teas! Jasmine Green is one of my absolute faves.
- Limited paid parking available around the area.
- They do all day breakfast as well (a major plus in my eyes!).
- Check out their menus on their website.