Chef and I got the hot tip about a brand new restaurant that opened in North Fremantle recently. The Shipping Lane is named after its spectacular view across Gage Roads. On this clear sunny day we could see many ships sailing the lanes on the Indian Ocean.
On the surface The Shipping Lane looks like your everyday coastal café. If you venture inside, you will find out that it is much more than that. In addition to the regular kitchen, there is also a “raw” sushi kitchen, out of which some amazing sushi and sashimi creations are made. You can sit to the sushi kitchen bar and watch your meal being made by the chefs.
The interior is light and bright with a seaside vibe and a big nod to its location near to the Fremantle docks. There are murals of the port inside and a big shipping container feature on another wall. There are lots of seating options, high tables, dining tables and some comfortable lounges – you can also dine alfresco, overlooking the stunning sandy dunes of Leighton Beach.
On this day we are lunching. The brunch menu runs from 8am to 3pm daily. The cheery waiter seats us by the window, swiftly delivering us water and menus. The brunch menu is full of mainly breakfast style dishes, with a couple of burgers and buns thrown in for good measure. I order from the sushi menu.
We order some drinks. The Shipping Lane is currently “sailing without a liquor licence” so BYO is encouraged. I start with a Rainbow Juice served in a jar – a tasty and healthy concoction of beetroot, apple and ginger. Chef sips on his hot coffee. They roast their own coffee at The Shipping Lane. The Juniper blend is used, which makes for a rich and well flavoured coffee. If you’re in a rush, you can also grab a takeaway coffee and bagel from the Shipping Lane’s providore. The providore sells many other food staples and the daily newspaper – handy for the residents living in the apartments above.
The succulent Wagu burger ($23) tickles chef’s tastebuds. It is jam packed with bacon, affumicata, onion jam, salad greens and tomato. In a mini frying basket are crisp hand cut cups with a side of aioli. The burger bursts with delicious flavours, from the smokiness of the affumicata cheese, to the tangy house made BBQ sauce.
An unexpected crackling noise is coming from my Salmon Aburi ($15) as the waiter brings it to our table. My dish is not only topped with black fish roe – it is also garnished with popping candy! The torched salmon belly is absolutely sensational. The fish is marinated with delicious teriyaki flavours and sits atop a small mound of rice. The different textures, including the popping, work really well together. I love the dish. I could have easily eaten another plateful.
There’s some fantastic Asian fusion coming out of the kitchen. It comes as no surprise that Head Chef Luke Lee has also worked at Nobu. The sushi “spider rolls” ($23) are stuffed with soft shell crab, julienned apple, cucumber and lettuce. The plating of the eight rolls is funky – garnished with some vibrant edible flowers. The dish tastes as fresh as it looks. The finely sliced apple compliments the seafood flavours well.
I’ve encountered a few questioning looks when taking food photos with my big camera lens. A new one on me was our waiter jumping into the frame to photobomb my sushi photo! Our waiter was charming and was full of friendly banter. The service at the Shipping Lane was excellent.
There’s not many places in Perth where you can get top notch sushi without being at a Japanese restaurant. At The Shipping Lane, you get the best of both worlds, a modern Australian menu, coupled with some mouth-watering Japanese delights.
At a glance
■ The Shipping Lane
4/1 Freeman Loop
Phone 9468 7362
■ Opening times
7 days – 7am till late
value for money 4
■ style – Australian & Japanese
■ wine – BYO
■ Chef – Luke Lee
■ Owners – various
■ feel – coastal chic
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost – brunch $9 – $27
sushi $15 – $23
dinner – $31 – $37
■ all in all – a cool new
coastal venue. Excellent
**First Published in the Post Newspaper**