Behind a canopy of frangipani trees, perched above the quiet end of George St in East Fremantle, snouts are awash with excitement and anticipation.
It’s Saturday morning, we’re on our fortnightly pilgrimage to Barque for breakfast, and four plates of their infamous Barque Bacon have already been ordered.
“Let us take you on an aromatic ocean trail from the lands of spice and cinnamon, schezuan, clove and cassia along the trade winds to the port city of Fremantle.” reads the website bio of this unassuming little restaurant, “Jump on board, let us charm your senses…”
No amount of small talk is able to conceal our impatience for the bounty to arrive.
A waitress suddenly appears with bad news. “Really sorry” she says, as my heart rate doubles, “we’re actually out of..” I panic, Oh god please, don’t tell me there’s none left.
“of yu cha kueh,” she continues. Phew! Relief washes over me, my fingers release the fork clenched in my hand. That was a close call, for a moment I thought it was all over.
A gruelling 8 minutes later and a parade of wide shallow bowls laden with treasure finally arrives before our gleaming eyes.
The first thing you notice about this dish is the thick and generous portion of slow braised pork belly that hangs limply over a mound of aromatic fried rice. Suspicious eyes dart discreetly around the table, sizing up who got the biggest slab. Mine is the second smallest, I do my best to hide my disappointment while reminding myself to be grateful for what I have.
Thankfully the pork is free-range, supplied to Barque by Princi, an institution of smallgoods in this part of the world. The pork belly is first brine cured before being marinated and hot-smoked with cherry wood.
Before serving each slab is chargrilled, with particular attention given to crisping up the skin before it is doused in house-made hoisin source, laid to rest on a bed of fried rice and topped with a deep fried (though still runny) egg.
Heaven on a plate. Barque bacon is truly a gift to the pork enthusiasts of Western Australia.
Been to Barque and had Barque Bacon? Leave a review below!
125 George St | East Fremantle | Western Australia
+61 8 9339 5524