Flexitarian-ism is the latest buzz word in the culinary world. This part-time vegetarian approach to eating is fed from a growing desire to help the environment. Even some ardent meat-eaters have a curious enthusiasm to do their bit for sustainability and top up their plant-based food intake.
We dine on the July weekend when we slowly emerged from Perth’s latest lockdown. Formerly known as The Raw Kitchen, this lofty Fremantle warehouse space has been re-imagined as vegan restaurant Mother – an ode to “Mother Earth”.
Mother was offering its trust-the-chef style “Feed Me” menu ($49pp), due to restrictions. This is a style of dining where the chef sends out his pick of plates for you to enjoy. Though we would have liked the full-menu options (including persimmon carpaccio, chestnut gnocchi and a native lemon meringue), we are eager to support local hospitality businesses suffering from the pandemic, so we honour our booking.
On one of winter’s wettest days, we take refuge in the surprisingly warm warehouse that’s home not only to Mother, but a yoga studio and fascinating no-plastic lifestyle store. If you need reusable packaging, ethical clothing, or a bamboo toothbrush, then Zero is the place to shop.
Greeted and seated by a masked waiter with smiling eyes, we take a pew at a table for two, sinking into the cushioned bus-like seats. For larger tables, be sure to book a booth in one of the cosy re-purposed shipping containers.
There’s a serious drinks programme at Mother – from vegan cocktails, to organic wines, and local beers and spirits. The all-natural wine list is made up of Australian drops. An oaky glass of chardonnay from Mount Barker’s 3 Drops – a vineyard with sustainable land practices, has peach and nectarine notes. For those off the booze, there’s plenty of juices (served with a metal straw), non-alcoholic spirits, house made kombucha and even healthy hot tonic elixirs.
Local bush tucker features heavily on the menu. We start with North Street Bakery bread ($12pp) and Geraldton wax coated “chèvre”. The fresh slices of sourdough are dipped in Gingin biodynamic olive oil, then a macadamia native bush dukkah. This delicious dry dip features wattle seed, river mint, lemon myrtle, Geraldton wax and salt bush. Of course, being at an exclusively vegan restaurant the chèvre “cheese” is made from cashews. It’s so convincing in texture and taste I barely notice.
Roasted heirloom carrots ($16) have good bite, but are not undercooked. The flavoursome carrots (quite possibly the tastiest I’ve ever had) are served atop mashed cannellini beans, pickled sumac onions, and garnished with dill, giving this fresh dish a lemon-y flavour.
A generous serve of roasted cauliflower ($20), is plated with shallots, warrigal greens (a leafy herb), lemon zest and aromatic native redback ginger, on a smear of extra punchy harissa. Charcoal dust gives the dish extra smoky depth of flavour.
Handmade ravioli ($29), like 99% of the menu, is gluten free. The al dente pasta is made from maize, rice and tapioca flours and bursting with pumpkin, sage and an almond “ricotta”. Folded in a lusciously creamy ‘gouda’ sauce (made from coconut cream and seaweed), the pasta is topped with spinach, crispy sage leaves, walnut crumble, and a splash of truffle oil.
We round off the wintery lunch with a warming, retro sticky date pudding ($15). The spongy pud, together with a sweet gooey caramel and vanilla ‘ice cream’ made from cashews, coconut and cacao butter makes for a delicious dessert.
I loved each and every surprise veggie dish at Mother, masks and all. I’d put my trust in Chef Roberto Formiga any day. The passionate vegan is an absolute wizard with veg. Mother is an intriguing place, and goes to show how quality vegetables can shine without a meat protein stealing the show.
Whether you’re curiously dipping your toe into veganism, or are already fully emersed – Mother is the place to sample delightful vegetable dishes. If you love veggies, Mother elevates them to a whole other level with exceptional cooking and clean, wholefood ingredients. Give it a go, and like me, you may well be adding “meat free Monday” to your weekly dinner schedule.
Mother Fremantle – At a Glance
181A High Street, Fremantle
Phone 9433 4647
■ Opening times
Wed to Thurs – 11.30am – 9pm
Fri & Sat – 11.30am – 9.30pm
Sun – 11.30am – 3pm
value for money 4
■ style – high-end plant-based cuisine
■ wine – a concise list of
all-natural vegan wines,
from sustainable vineyards
■ Chef – Roberto Formiga
■ Owners – Emma and Heath Daly
■ feel – trendy warehouse chic
■ wheelchair access – yes
■ cost –
Nibbles/Small Plates – $6 to $20
Large Plates – $26 to $29
Dessert – $15 to $16
■ all in all – Mother is the go-to spot
for a vegan feast. Vegetables star on
the seasonal menu and flavoursome
plant-based dishes are cooked with flair.