Have you heard of Emily Taylor yet?
Emily Taylor is one of the few new hangouts in Fremantle – a bar/restaurant named after a ship wrecked in 1830. The vessel was sailing during the early 1800s via the spice route of Asia along the West Australian coastline, hence the style of cuisine.
Owned by W1 Hospitality – which recently renovated the iconic Warders Cottages in the heart of Fremantle – it gave life to Emily Taylor in November last year. Just over six months young, the place is buzzing, even on weekdays. I was pleasantly surprised to find a full house on a Monday evening.
This large venue, with indoor and outdoor spaces, can welcome over 400 patrons. It features quite contemporary decor, traditional Fremantle limestone in the courtyard, high ceilings and an open kitchen inside. One of the walls displays a beautiful large mural of Emily Taylor, painted by local artist Tessa Mackay.
Executive Chef Aldren Teo describes his menu “vibrant, engaging and layered”. Beautiful and colourful street food will take you back to the streets of your favourite Asian country.
The best way to start is with dumplings, buns and bites with a drink. A large range of local beers on tap is available, and you are sure to find your favourite gin on the list or a glass of wine to whet your appetite. If you are tempted by a cocktail, the American in Beijing and the Thai Mojito are a must.
Let’s talk about the food, I can only agree with Aldren Teo – definitely vibrant, fresh and appetising just by looking at it.
My choices on the night were sweet and fluffy rendang bao with daikon pickle … watch out, the hot sauce is HOT! Duck and pork wontons in delicious warm homemade broth are a perfect choice for winter nights. My favourites, showcasing West Australian products (if you are a patriot), and one destined to become a classic, lobster and Manjimup truffle dumplings and succulent Shark Bay scallop dumplings with red yuzu.
There are sharing plates for all tastes and dietary requirements, from gluten free to vegetarian. The highlight of the night, the ceviche, showcased freshly caught kingfish from Geraldton cured in coconut water vinegar, fresh coconut and taro crisp. We can’t miss the lemongrass charred Stirling Ranges brisket. So tender and flavoursome, melting – you actually can eat it with your chopsticks. Destined to become a bestseller, when Asia meets North Western Australia, tapioca-dusted Cone Bay barramundi, green apple and roasted cashew salad, green nam jim is just succulent. As for sides of vegetables and greens, I recommend the BBQ grilled corn basted in coconut, lime leaf and coconut salt and the glazed brussels sprouts with cashew nuts – a meal in itself.
I haven’t even talked about the signature dish yet, the Emily Taylor roast duck, lacquered in local bush honey, served with classic mandarin pancakes and a selection of condiments. One word – delightful.
A lot of mouth-watering, very affordable dishes to choose from, drinks to make you want to come back, friendly staff – a great combo for a bright future.
By Christophe Chevallier