Cafes, Restaurants and Dining in Perth, Western Australia.

Sandrino Cafe & Pizzeria

16 South Terrace, Fremantle
Phone: (08) 9335 4487
www.sandrino.com.au

More to Love

Right in the heart of Fremantle, down the slip ally near the Western end of South Terrace, you’ll find Sandrino, one of Fremantle’s largest and most popular restaurants. With its huge iconic pizza ovens that sit at the end of the large dining area and a high wooden ceiling, the atmosphere inside feels both welcoming and familiar.

Business is booming at Sandrino; their local seafood, popular wood fired pizzas and handmade pastas have customers coming back time and time again. Head chef Eddie Kubale is confident that “What we do at Sandrino is what the people of Fremantle like”. And it’s not just the food; the Fremantle mood just flows through the building. Whether you are just popping in for a bite to eat and a break from the hustle and bustle or catching up with old friends for dinner, Sandrino offers a warm and friendly environment.

To keep up with growing demand for seats at Sandrino, the vacant building next door that was once Echo was purchased, and in December 2011, Sandrino opened the newly renovated rooms that effectively double the seating capacity of the restaurant. The expansion gives customers a wider selection of rooms, each with their own distinct moods.

The original two seating options included the old large dining hall style room with warm coloured walls and huge pizza ovens, or the sunken outdoor settings with the fresh air and smell of the ocean. With the introduction of the new renovated rooms, you can also now sit in the downstairs heritage-style room with old tin print ceilings that has been modernised with contemporary lighting, comfortable chairs and elegant table settings. With the addition of views of the bustling street, this is a great little spot to take a break and watch the day go by.

The fourth option is the new relaxing upstairs lounge bar and balcony, which is a popular choice for private functions. Up there you can spend an evening sipping classy cocktails and enjoying the view onto Market Street. The renovations give the rooms a new feel while maintaining the classic Fremantle heritage look.

The expansion is definitely keeping Eddie busy, and he’s determined to “maintain quality while keeping up, so the customers stay happy”. The Sandrino kitchen is open from 11am till late, and the menu offers many classic Italian dishes.  On the other hand the specials menu (which changes fortnightly) incorporates flavours of the Mediterranean, offering light and interesting meals and creating new and unusual flavour combinations.

I first noticed this in the seafood platter where the fish is cooked in a Thai green curry sauce with chilli, coriander and lemongrass flavours, which contrasted the flavours of the battered calamari, oysters Kilpatrick and Moreton Bay bug. Despite the contrast, the flavours all complemented each other nicely. All that is needed is a glass of chilled Hamilton Bay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 from Margaret River, and someone to share it with.

As an on again off again vegetarian, I am all too familiar with the challenges of finding good vegetarian food in Perth. One of the dishes that really stood out for me was the vegetarian platter. It can often feel like the vegetarian options lack the foundations of a solid meal, but the platter certainly didn’t feel like it was missing anything. It was an excellent dish featuring ricotta stuffed tomatoes, white wine infused mushrooms cooked in the pizza ovens and covered in soft goat’s cheese and an incredible quiche.

The quiche didn’t sacrifice flavour or texture to achieve a rigid form and instead used large pieces of potato, spinach and onion cooked loosely into what I have to say was the best quiche I have had in a long time. The vego platter is a great option for vegetarians or anyone just looking for something a little different.

For people in the mood for something with more meat, I can recommend the oven roasted lamb cutlets cooked in rosemary and garlic marinade, served with roast veggies. It matched well with the Greedy Sheep Cabernet Merlot 2009 from Margaret River.

Whenever I find myself looking through the menu at an Italian restaurant, without fail the first place I go is the pizza list. Not because I’ll necessarily get the pizza, but because I find I can get an idea of who the restaurant’s target customers are, and what kinds of flavours to expect from other dishes on the menu.  Some restaurants go to great lengths to expand the pizza experience with goat’s cheese, artichokes or pumpkin, while other restaurants pizzas range from meat lovers to cheese supreme.

The pizza list at Sandrino contains 16 different pizzas, with simple classics like margherita or hawaiian for the less adventurous and more complex pizzas with smoked salmon, avocado, capers and rocket. This tells me the restaurant is welcoming to kids as well as people with more adventurous palates. The second thing that jumps out at me is the attention to quality ingredients. The meats and cheeses are all of high standards, and people must notice the difference since Sandrino recently won the 2012 Good Food Guide for the Best Pizza in WA.

Although it isn’t easy, it’s certainly worth saving room for dessert with many of the cakes and sweets made in-house. We tried the strawberry Gâteau, which looked and tasted sensational. If dessert isn’t your thing then I recommend exploring the new cocktails menu for that little something to finish off your night.

If you haven’t been to Sandrino in a while, or have never been, it’s well worth checking out what they’ve done with the place next time you find yourself looking for a good meal in Fremantle. They have certainly earned their reputation as one of the top Italian restaurants in Freo, and with the new upstairs lounge bar open from 5pm onwards on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a sharing platter and a couple of drinks.

Sandrino has been featured in the Masters of Menu Recipe Book – for more information please click here.

By Floyd Holmes

highslide wordpress