Sunday, 1 April 2012

The Crowded House, South Fremantle

Coogee Beach to Africa (unsuccessfully), 11.8km

The weather started getting rough, the tiny skis were tossed...If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Endorfinns would be lost...

Whilst it wasn't quite a Gilligan's Island scenario, our attempt to reach Carnac Island by paddling into a solid 15kt westerly was quite obviously doomed to fail very shortly after we left the beach. Conjured up over a bottle of red last night, this paddle was always going to be a little ambitious and thankfully we were able to recognise when we had reached the point where to keep paddling (next stop Somalia) may have been, to put it delicately, bloody ridiculous.

If you're wondering why there aren't an pictures of this paddle, it isn't because I didn't bring the camera - I spent much of my time on this paddle trying to stay on the ski. Unsuccessfully, I may add.

The boats went in just north of the Coogee Beach jetty with a light easterly at our backs. There weren't any whitecaps, and whilst Carnac Island looked much further than the 9km that Google Earth had told us, there was no sign of the washing machine that Cockburn Sound would shortly turn into. Seabreeze had picked the 15kt westerly quite well, but the conditions at the start of our trans-Indian odyssey were just the opposite. We were starting out on Lake Placid.

I had barely started the Garmin when things changed. Easterly turned into westerly in the blink of an eye, and we were smashing into it, but still remaining relatively dry. The first kilometre was still fairly quick, but it didn't take long for that to change as well. To be honest, paddling into the wind wasn't that difficult - it was when we turned around that those cursed trailing rudders made life difficult. 

We were about half way to Carnac when our attack of common sense took hold, and by that stage the chop was throwing us everywhere. We were looking forward to going back with the swell and chop but it soon became clear that any idea of long, fast rides on a clean wave were definitely fanciful. Having made clean turns back towards the beach, it wasn't long before both Westy and I were thrown from our faithful steeds on multiple occasions. I have to admit, as I was climbing back onboard after falling off 4km from the nearest beach, thoughts of the poor bloke who was taken by a Great White yesterday motivated me to complete the exercise somewhat quicker than I normally would.

After 7 impromptu swims between us, we took a detour to check out the Port Coogee canals, both convinced that between us we had obviously won the $21 million Lotto draw last night, and wondering how 2 Endorfinns would look perched on an Aston Martin Vanquish. The canals offered a little bit of refuge from the maelstrom that had erupted in the sound, and were nice to paddle through. The little beach and barbecue area looked great for the kids so if you're looking for a good spot, this is it. There were heaps of fish in the canals as well.

By the time we got back to the beach, it had only been just under 12km, but it's safe to say that it felt like 22km. Next time a flare, EPIRB, and large dose of self-preservation will be needed. 

The Coogee festival was in full swing and the car park chockers, so we were glad to be on our way to South Fremantle for a tasty breakfast.

The Crowded House, South Fremantle, 25 Douro Rd, South Fremantle, 6162, (08) 9336 4147,

We were actually on our way to find The Pickled Fig when we saw The Crowded House on Douro Rd, and it looked like just the ticket, so we turned around, got a George Costanza-like parking spot right outside the front door and walked in. I've eaten in another restaurant that used this building many years ago, and it was good to be back - especially when it really looked the goods in its present form. Rustic loaves were for sale behind the counter and looked and smelt delicious.

No evil tables available.
The place was almost full, but we were still able to get a good table - does that mean there is by definition an evil table? - near the windows. A vision of beauty with a West Coast American accent soon had some very welcomed coffees inbound, and one look at the menu was enough to make up both our minds with a single word - 'Benedict'. Poached eggs with a barramundi fishcake, spanish onion, fresh mint and caviar with hollandaise sauce on thickly cut toast ($22) is not quite 'Benedict' in the classical sense, but let me tell you, it sounded like just the ticket. Westy ordered a side of mushrooms, as he normally does, and I fought hard to resist ordering a side of bacon having eaten enough to feed a small African nation yesterday.

As we tucked into another delicious coffee, what came out for breakfast was art on a plate.

Mona Lisa went gooey.
The Benedict was as good to behold as it was to eat.  The hollandaise had a tang that was enhanced by the mint and spanish onion, and there was enough of it to cover the meal well. The toast was so light that it melted in my mouth. The barramundi fishcake tasted like it was made to be eaten with poached eggs and hollandaise, only wanting for a little more seasoning. The eggs were poached like they were supposed to be presented on Masterchef, and whilst I like my eggs a little more well done, if I eat here more often I may be converted.

Westy's side of mushrooms were simply the best I have ever tasted. A semi-sweet sauce coated the perfectly cooked fungi. 

The atmosphere in The Crowded House was very relaxed and this is just the place to read the paper whilst tucking in to a very, very good start to the weekend. There was absolutely nothing I didn't like about this restaurant. The food was exceptional, the service prompt, attentive and definitely easy on the optics, the menu varied and interesting on all counts and the prices reasonable.

The Crowded House gets a resounding 9/10. The Crowded House on Urbanspoon

"Hey! I can see Mogadishu from here!"

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