With a seemingly endless stream of notable restaurant openings in Perth and Northbridge, its nice to see my old stomping grounds of Fremantle finally getting in on the action as it slowly but surely works its way out of its early 21st century funk to reclaim its rightful place as our state's Second City. During recent visits to the Port City, Alissa and I have been impressed by the concerted effort being made to make Fremantle vibrant again, whether it be the innovative activation of the old Myer Building as the cutting edge retail/new business incubator MANY 6160 or the work being done to bring vibrant life back to the High St Mall. With many new if somewhat underrecognised restaurants around, Alissa and I were particularly excited to hear about the opening of a new sushi restaurant called The Modern Eatery. Being massive fans of Japanese food, we bumped The Modern Eatery high up our never-ending wishlist and found ourselves there for an early Thursday night dinner last week.
Located next door to Gypsy Tapas and across from Town Hall and MANY, The Modern Eatery occupies the space that used to be home to The Dock Seafood Grill. With the street corner already home to Freo favourites Gypsy Tapas, vegetarian restaurant The Juicy Beetroot and the very hip-looking Box Pizza, The Modern Eatery seems a better fit with the character of the street that The Dock did. The sleek, minimalist interior features a main bar from which diners can watch the relatively young chefs at work, alongside tables and more bar seating by the windows.
With the Aburi sampled, we decided to also order something from the interesting Craft Roll section of the menu. Although the decadent Fry Me To The Moon piqued our interest due to being a deep fried roll with cooked salmon and cream cheese, we settled on the decidedly more healthy Ayers Rock n' Roll. At its heart, it was basically a very well Made California Maki Roll with the same good sushi rice and build quality. What really made it memorable were the fine slivers of crispy fried Sweet Potato. This was a very complex Maki Roll when you consider the creaminess of the Sweet Chilli Mayo and the kick of the Wasabi alongside the sweet and crunchy Sweet Potato, and yet it all worked together for a dish of wonderful textural contrasts and multitudinous, layered flavours.
When ordering on of their Craft Rolls, Uramaki or Oshi Sushi, there is an option to add a Zen for an extra $10. Consisting of a serve of Miso Soup, good crunchy Mixed Tempura and a leafy Salad of the Day, this seemed to me like the best value way of eating at The Modern Eatery. Although the Signature Combo definitely justifies its more expensive price due to the use of more high quality seafood, the Ayers Rock n' Roll and the Zen set are very well priced at $19 for the lot given the quality, and makes for a fairly filling meal.
Still a bit hungry, Alissa and I decided to order another of the Craft Rolls, this time going with the Baby Dragon - Unagi, Cucumber and Avocado on top of Unagi Sauce. As with our previous sushi orders, the Baby Dragon did not disappoint, featuring the same well cooked rice, and was a good well balanced roll. I've long been a fan of eel, and the Unagi here had the nice delicate texture that makes it such a great fish to eat. Accompanied by the creaminess of the Avocado and the salty-umami flavour of the Unagi Sauce, this was a nice end to the meal - although I think both Alissa and I were not-so-secretly wishing we could have tried the Fry Me To The Moon. Oh well, next time.
The Verdict: Excellent
Although there is a Taka's and the very good ramen of Dosukoi representing Japanese food in Fremantle, the city has really needed a truly impressive sushi restaurant for quite some time. The Modern Eatery definitely fits the bill, with the Craft Rolls and signature Aburi sushi being very impressive. From a price standpoint, it could be argued that The Modern Eatery is a bit pricier than other sushi restaurants - for example, Silver Sushi in Willetton serve rolls that are significantly larger for around the same price. That said, Alissa and I felt that the sushi at the Modern Eatery was of a more refined standard, and the Aburi Nigiri rolls were particularly delicious and impressive. With friendly service, a good vibe and so many other excellent dishes to try, I can definitely see Alissa and I returning for another round - hopefully with Fry Me To The Moon this time!