Young George, on East Fremantle’s George Street dining strip, is a haven for lovers of fresh local produce and darn good food. Co-owned by one of Perth’s most renowned Chefs, Mellissa Palinkas, along with her partner Susan Whelan, who runs a seamless front of house – making the duo quite the hospitality dream team.
Mellissa, formerly Head Chef of Mount Hawthorn small bar The Cabin, made the move south of the river some time ago and we’ve been meaning to visit ever since. Young George, isn’t so young anymore – the small bar opened its doors in 2014. My apologies for being so tardy!
We’re greeted and seated in the character filled restaurant, with Freo limestone walls, a long bar and roaring wood oven. Our waitress is friendly, engaging and above all very knowledgeable.
The wine list has some interesting picks from WA and has a focus on natural, single vineyard wines. I’m offered a taster, to help make up my mind. I sip a Juniper Estate small batch fiano and like what I taste. I order a glass of the light and citrus filled white, from the Margaret River winery.
Melissa is a champion of nose to tail dining, meaning there’s minimal food wastage in her kitchen. Her eclectic share plate menu is as interesting as I’d hoped it to be. Accentuated with seasonal local fruit, veg, seafood and meats, and inspired by flavours from all around the world, it’s a difficult job not to order one of everything.
Beef crackle ($6), arrives still popping and sizzling away. The crunchy crackle, made from dehydrated beef tendon, is seasoned with a mild ancho chilli salt. A simple appetiser that’s a perfect bar snack.
We get overexcited with our choice of house made cured meats. Our helpful waitress advises that based on the rest of our order, two meats, not four, would be plenty! She is right, the portions are plentiful. We’ll have to return to try the duck prosciutto and wagu beef bresola.
The charcuterie ($35) that we do choose is served with house mustard, cornichons and chow chow – a southern US pickle of caramelised capsicum, cabbage and onion. A slab of gloriously meaty ham hock terrine, bursts with fresh herbs, pickles and shallots. It’s devilishly good, spread on house baked sourdough. Shavings of venison mortadella, peppered with pistachios, is also delicious.
I relish charcoal grilled lamb ($35). The sliced leg meat is perfectly pink, with a tasty sweet and sour eggplant sambal on the side.
A generous portion of tender buttermilk chicken ($38) is cooked in the wood oven, giving a light smoky taste. Earthy flavours from native thyme add another dimension. A savoury bread pudding, made from house made sourdough soaked in egg custard, gives this soul warming dish a real peasant feel.
Colourful Manjimup heirloom tomato halves ($18.50), topped with creamy smoked ricotta, toasted almonds and sprigs of thyme are packed with fresh flavours.
We don’t need to order the triple cooked potatoes ($9.50), but I just can’t say no. The ridiculously crunchy spuds are dipped in red curry mayonnaise and we are so glad we over-indulge.
A little kitsch is often injected into the Young George menu with dishes like marron thermidor and prawn toast. We finish lunch with another old school dish, carrot cake ($16), which is anything but traditional. A light and fluffy ripped carrot sponge, is served with pieces of sweet and spiced carrot, a white chocolate and carrot ganache, milk shards and a corn flake crunch. It’s a textural treat.
Young George is just one of many reasons to visit the food filled George Street, lined with cafés, small bars and restaurants. Pop into Young George on a Sunday, and check out their famous roast pork shoulder, cooked in the wood oven overnight with local apple wood.
It’s no coincidence that all of the best meals I’ve eaten have been at spots run by chefs who source and treat their produce with tremendous passion. Melissa is one of these champions of seasonal West Australian produce and long may she rattle the pans in her kitchen. Her love of food shines through every delicious dish.
At a glance
■ Young George
48 George Street
Phone – 6424 9500
■ Opening times
Tues to Fri – 12pm til late
Sat & Sun – 8am til late
value for money 3
■ style – “global Inspired” share food
■ wine – Mainly WA wines,
with a few international drops
and focus on natural, organic drops.
■ Chef – Melissa Palinkas
■ Owners – Melissa Palinkas and Susan Whelan
■ feel – lively local bar
■ wheelchair access – yes
Small plates – $3 to $26
Large plates – $18 to $50
Dessert – $4 to $17
■ all in all – This neighbourhood
small bar is serious about its food
and drink offering. A must try.