Fremantle, the port city and hippy haven on the end of the train line that is home to some of the greatest cafes (and football teams) in Perth – is there anything they do wrong? If you go by one of it’s newest additions, Lenny and the Ox on Wray Ave, the answer is apparently no, there isn’t. According to lovefreo.com, this cute cafe is owned by the same people behind Ootong and Lincoln, and the boast food made fresh in store, or just up the road in their sister cafe.
On a sunny December day when we sauntered up all the prime tables outside were taken, but stepping inside the bright red door we were greeted by a few empty spots, and one in particular next to a gorgeous unfinished wall that I absolutely loved. The way the rough texture contrasted the clean lines of the rest of the cafe, and the light bounced off it to brighten up the cafe just looked really pretty. Gone was my disappointment about not nabbing a table outside!
Lenny and the Ox is all very freo and relaxed in its vibe, and I liked that you ordered your food at the counter, and were free to grab your own water from the tap sticking out of the wall near the food cabinet – less time waiting for things to happen. All the staff were friendly and easy going, and being there just felt a bit like being at a friends house having a 5 star breakfast.
Having a look over the menu, there were a few tasty options that caught my eye. After passing over pancakes with spanish caramel, banana, choc brownie and vanilla icecream, and considering mushrooms on toast with ricotta, herbs and red capsicum jam, I eventually settled on baked beans with chorizo, labneh and a fried egg ($20). There was the option to get it with black pudding, but that’s not really my cup of tea!
What was closer to to my ideal beverage was the coffee that came out very promptly after ordering. Silky smooth on top and perfectly presented, I could tell right away that this was one coffee I could seriously get on board with. My intuition was correct, it was the perfect temperature (i.e. not too hot), and smooth and creamy right down to the bottom. I look back in regret at not getting a takeaway one for our walk around the market afterwards!
Ollie had ordered a chocolate milkshake, and the sip that I had was creamy and chocolately. A fairly top of the range milkshake that came sans the dreaded paper straw – aint nobody got time for a soggy straw when they’re drinking their morning milkshake!
Ollies meal came out first, and it looked pretty damn amazing! He had ordered the salmon omlette with smoked curd, beets and avocado. It came out a lot different to how I expected it would, with the ingredients on top of the omlette rather than within, but this turned out to be a pretty good thing as all the components of the dish stayed really fresh. The salmon was thick and meaty, as opposed to the wafer thin smoked salmon the is du jour on breakfast dishes. According to Ollie, it had a delightfully strong taste which gave the dish a massive kick to elevate it to gold breakfast status. Aside from that, the earthy, crunchy beetroot contrasted well with the generous herbs and omlette, and although Ollie wasn’t a fan of the bread the dense rye got a big tick from me.
I was pretty overjoyed when my dish came out as well – it’s a little hard to see under the herbs but there is a fried egg under all that coriander, and plentiful slices of flavoursome chorizo. I adore coriander, and I thought that along with the labneh it was a splendid accompaniment to the tomatoey bean mix, just cutting through all the other flavours to give it a nice edge. The bread was fresh and soaked up the sauce nicely, but it was overly tough on the crusts which made it difficult to cut up/deal with at all. The perils of sourdough I suppose! Still, a thoroughly enjoyable meal.
We also ordered a jaffle with pork belly and spiced pears to share because 1) pork belly and pear?! and 2) jaffles are amazing. I am fairly sure this is a fact. There is just something about them that reminds me of childhood toasted sandwiches, and the way the cheese melts in the spots where the bread is pushed together just blows my mind. This one did not let us down, and the two star ingredients fought for prime spot on my tastebuds and eventually settled down into some sort of coexistence agreement which was thoroughly enjoyable.
As we sat and ate, it got closer to midday and a lot of the tables, inside and out, cleared away and the space became a lot calmer.
I had spent a while admiring the flowers on our table, and just before we left I noticed that there were a few bunches for sale in the corner, so I picked some up for a friends birthday later that afternoon. I just love native flowers, and how much more popular they have become lately.
Lenny and the Ox was honestly one of the better breakfasts I have had in a while, thanks to its really fresh ingredients and fun combinations. The relaxed atmosphere and chilled out staff were an added bonus, and we would definitely go back for more (particularly those pancakes!)