Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Left Bank, Fremantle

Point Walter to Mosman Bay and Applecross - 12.4km, 1hr 30 min

Westy, Bad James and I rendezvoused at Point Walter on a deadset cracker of a morning for what looked to be our standard Bridges run. As we put in we couldn't help but notice that there was a photo shoot of a skimpy bikini-clad lovely going on just on the other side of the spit from us. It was quite apparent that said bikini wench wasn't exactly Linda Evangelista, but in a comment sure to shock my loyal readership, none of us are Brad Pitt-like specimens either, so we called it even. Helpfully, a few comments were offered regarding brisk, early morning temperatures, puppy-dog noses and the pitfalls of bikinis at that time of day and amongst awkward faux-laughter from both sides we slid the steeds of Neptune into the pancake-flat waters of the Swan, just as Good James sidled up to the bank.

Given that Good James was only allowed to play for twenty nine minutes this morning we paddled with him back towards Mosman Bay where his ski-trolley was parked. Just as I was getting into the paddling groove a formerly-stationary rock came leaping up from the depths to hit my rudder. A quick check told me that it was still operating, so off we continued. Later investigation back at Chez Miles showed the rudder shaft bent 15 degrees to port, and in dire need of a bench vice which my neighbour was kind enough to provide. Luckily, we got Good James back in time before his ski-trolley turned back into a pumpkin and he was able to get home before the explosive collar device that had been affixed to his neck to ensure timing compliance detonated. We think.

The lap of Mosman Bay was serene. Barely a breathe of wind, and by the time we got to the red buoy opposite Pt Walter we had decided to go over to Applecross for a look. There appeared to be a few yachts on the water and by the way they were weaving all over the place it was likely that the yacht club had had it's Christmas Party the night before. Although tempted to play Rule Of the Road Chicken discretion formed the better part of valour, and we gave them a wide berth.

It's been a big week for me at Gorilla Biscuit Pty Ltd. After many head injuries and facial deformities I've finished my time in the face-smashing department, and have moved off the line and into the company headquarters, where I get to smash my face not into dough, but into the formica of a desk. Luckily I'm on leave until March and only have a few months after that until I relocate to one of the firm's international outposts in Rhode Island, USA for a 3 year tenure to teach the North American team how to firmly faceplant on a regular schedule. You beauty!

Anyway, I digress. We pushed on, through the 3cm waves, and reached a special marker buoy just of the Applecross waterfront. It was here that Bad James came up with the idea of The Left Bank for breakfast. In the past I haven't been very impressed by TLB breakfasts, but we thought we'd give it a go so around the buoy we went and thanks to the wake of a massive gin palace going by at a great rate of knots, managed to surf most of the way back to Point Walter.

The Left Bank, 15 Riverside Road,  East Fremantle, WA 6158, (08)93191315, leftbank.com.au

The view from our table - the best in the beer garden.

 If you haven't been to The Left Bank, chances are you are either 90 years old or have never been to Perth. It's a deadset cracker of a pub famous for it's Sunday sessions. Recently, and long-overdue they've put tap-beer in and despite distinctly un-1973-like prices (or as we said on Saturday, they've gone from over-priced bottled beer to over-priced tap beer) it is still a great place to sit and spend an afternoon. Although if, like me, you are blessed with a blood nut and skin that is the natural enemy of 60W lightbulbs, you'd best sit inside.

Or you could spend the morning here, like the group of Pretty Young Things on the tables next to us who were headed off on 3 boats to sit off Carnac Island for the day. If their condition at 0930 was anything to go by, the fish wouldn't have to wait long for a free feed that day. The champers and beer were flowing and all were in great spirits as they wobbled off down to the jetty, several of the ladies with waists akin to our wrists, and pretty much all tattooed hip-cool-fab-groovily.

Definitely a Wombat's arse.
At TLB you order at the counter, grab a number and breakfast arrives at your table after a seriously long wait. The coffee was luke warm and pretty weak when it arrived after 20 minutes and 20 minutes before the first vestiges of food appeared, and seemed to have an odd Wombat's Arse-like shape poured into the top...

Westy and I had ordered the Left Bank Breakfast  (bacon and poached eggs on Italian loaf with Roma tomatoes, field mushrooms and Hollandaise sauce - $22), whilst Bad James had opted for the Mushroom Bruschetta (sauteed button mushrooms on Italian loaf with a poached egg and rocket - $17) with a side of baked beans that would provide much entertainment for his tin lids later on.

Bad James' breakfast arrived just as he began to gnaw on the limestone blocks. Unfortunately all our coffees were long-gone by then and faced with another interminable wait, we had all blown off the idea of getting another one here lest we be still sitting there at Easter. His breakfast looked pretty good though, and there were several satisfied-like grunts emanating from his direction. The rocket was definitely fresh and the egg looked nicely cooked under a drizzle of Hollandaise. 

Bad James' Mushroom Bruschetta

As Bad James was wiping the last masses of yolk off his forehead, Westy and my Left Bank Breakfasts turned up. Far be it from me to be fussy, but I really like my breakfast to appear whilst it is still hot. Especially when I could have built the Great Pyramid of Giza in the time it took between ordering and receiving the meal. So it was with disappointment that I noticed that the tepid coffee was designed to complement the stone-cold eggs. 

The Left Bank Breakfast - Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The second pang of culinary disappointment came with the Hollandaise which was initially very runny and vinegary, but at least it was freshly made, and I have to admit that later on it firmed a little of became better tasting. The egg was nicely cooked and the bacon was in the sweet spot just before getting crunchy. The Roma tomato and mushrooms were spot on. This was a breakfast which held much promise, but by having weak coffee with weird patterns, letting the food get cold and taking so bloody long to get meals to the customers, The Left Bank snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I'll still go to this iconic pub to have a beer - but I won't be going back for breakfast any time soon.

The Left Bank - 6/10 (another point when the food comes out inside 30 minutes and WITH the coffee, and another when it comes out hot, inside 30 minutes and with better, hot coffee)

The Left Bank Cafe Bar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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