Bread in Common

A special occasion passed by recently for me and Ollie – a two year celebration of the day that we decided that no one else in the world would put up with our oddities and that we may as well spend a lot more time together. He may remember a slightly more romantic version of the day, but that’s the version that I am going to stick with. Either way that you remember it, we decided that we had better do something special to mark the occasion.  Buying a house and saving for a 2 and a half month sojourn in Europe has left us a little short of funds lately, so we decided to go out somewhere for lunch that wouldn’t hurt the budget too much. After tossing up a few options, and getting excited about going to The Old Crow only to realise it wasn’t open for lunch, we decided to go and check out Bread in Common, a bakery and tapas style kitchen with a striking interior in the heart of Fremantle.

We jumped in the car at about midday, running a little late due to sheer laziness in getting out of bed, and a little worried about being able to grab a table – there is nothing worse than waiting a queue when you’re starving, wide eyes watching every dish that comes out with extreme envy! Luckily for us, the food gods were smiling down on us on this day and there was a couple of tables free down the back – hooray!

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Arriving starving as we hadn’t had any breakfast, straight off the bat we ordered some ‘wood fired organic bread’ ($2 per person) with house made smoked tomato butter ($2). Even if we hadn’t been that hungry, after looking at all the yummy parcels of bread on the way in it was almost impossible to not want to try it! It certainly did not disappoint – warm and fluffy, it had the perfect density that gave you something decent to chew on, without it feeling heavy and sticky in your mouth.  The smoked tomato butter was also divine – it was rich and tangy and cut through the bready taste nicely.

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Feeling a little less restless with something in our tummies, but still not being able to make a decision on everything at once, the next time the waitress came around we ordered stracciatella, grape, vincotto and basil ($14) and Ollie ordered two oysters with lemon and house made tabasco ($3.50 each).

The oysters were up to the usual standard, arriving fresh on a bed of ice. You get your own bottle of tabasco here to add to the oysters as you wish, which resulted in a little too much tabasco on the first oyster, a mistake rectified on the second. Ollie did say he liked the combination of flavours, although would have preferred for them to arrive with the tabasco already added to take out the guess work. That one is down to personal preference in my opinion!

Upon first reading the menu I didn’t know what the stracciatella was, and google didn’t help me out much by saying it was a word for ‘different types of italian food’ (what?). I’m still not sure if it is the name for what came out on the plate, but what we did get turned out to be a type of cheese similar to mozzarella but a little bit milder and a little bit softer.  It was warm and inviting, and made very sweet by the fresh red grapes and the vincotto, a sweet grape syrup that is reminiscent of a dessert wine. The final element of the dish, the basil, was a very welcome addition. Fresh and peppery, it provided a good contrast to everything else on the plate and transformed it from a good dish to a great dish. The sweetness got to Ollie about halfway through, and he called up stumps but I was more than happy enough to finish for him.

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After this sugary start to our meal, we were looking for something a bit more meaty to fill out our tummies. The pork belly with braised chickpeas, kale and green tomato chutney was calling my name, but not wanting to induce an allergic reaction on Ollie’s side of the table we settled on sharing lamb ribs with mint, lime, black garlic and sherry ($21).

The lamb was gorgeously tender, the meat falling off the bone as we picked bits and pieces up with our fork, and crispy fat sitting atop appealed to my gluttonous soul. There was a lot more cartilage around than you would normally find with some lamb ribs, which made eating it a little tricky, but if cooking it like that contributed to the flavour of the meat it’s not much to complain about. Both of us thought that there was a little bit too much dressing on the meat – the mint flavour overpowered a little and took away from the taste of the lamb which I think is mouthwatering in its own right.

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Last, but most certainly not least, we ordered the bbq pork, lemongrass butter, coriander and spicy onion toasted sandwich ($19). Ollie had resisted ordering the toasted sandwich due to the amount of bread consumed earlier in the meal, but it was that very bread that made me certain that I was not leaving lunch without having a toasted sandwich. I was glad that I stood my ground, as it was probably the most glorious sandwich I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Again, the bread was incredibly soft and fresh, soaking up the sauce from the fillings like nobody’s business. The pork was juicy and tender, and the lemongrass and coriander flavours made the sandwich taste a little bit lighter than it otherwise might have.  I am a little worried that no other toasted sandwich will ever live up to this one! I was a little taken aback by the burnt bits on the outside when it first arrived at the table, but I ripped a few of the bigger black bits off and didn’t actually notice any burnt taste as I was eating it.

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For dessert, my heart wanted to order the chocolate, banana hazelnut and mashmallow toasted sandwich ($14), but my head, along with Ollie, said that would be way too much given the already at-capacity status of my stomach. I wasn’t prepared to go without though, so we turned out minds to the cheese menu. There was about 10 cheeses on offer, each being offered in a 50g serve with red gum honeycomb and wood fired bread – of course! I don’t actually remember what we got as the waitress recommended two of them, but they were both cows milk and neither of them were all that memorable. I do tend to like sharper cheeses and am quite favourable to a goats cheese, but after the waitress noting that the goats cheese on the menu was quite mild we had given them a miss. With cheese, such as wine, it is very much a personal preference though! What was memorable was the thick, rich honey that stood up proudly on the plate, and the wafer thin fruit bread that accompanied it.  These two elements really made dessert for me, and I was devastated when we left and I realised I had forgotten to ask them to put the leftover fruit bread in a container for me!

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We made our way out, suitably stuffed and incredibly happy with the lunch that it had been. It was a lovely way to spend a few hours with Ollie celebrating that years that had been, and the years to come. I can definitely see why Bread in Common is so popular amongst the masses – a well though out menu with everything from all day breakfast options and delicious sandwiches to more adventurous dishes like goat sausage and gremolata, every tastebud should be satiated after a visit to this place. The interior is gorgeous, and the staff attentive without being overbearing.  A return trip is definitely in order!

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