Stop the press! Fremantle has a new cafe! Wait… is that even news? It is when this cafe is partly owned by the same people who brought us the Freo institution of Ootong & Lincoln. Nick and Leanne Ford have joined forces with Nick’s brother Chris to bring us Lenny the OX.
The paint was barely dry when I visited on Sunday. This could be a real test – first Sunday trading… would they be busy, would it be chaotic and unorganised? I hoped for the best but expected the worst. Within 10 minutes of taking a seat, rush hour hit. There was a line for coffee, all the tables were full and the staff weren’t missing a beat. It was as if they had been open for years not days. And when your cafe is on Wray ave, the breakfast corner of Freo, you can’t afford to stuff it up.
The first thing that hits me is the smell of freshly cut jarrah. The wood was raw and naked and it really struck me as different to have tables made from it like this – not varnished or anything. It was almost warming. The interior is simple – white contrasted with the deep red of jarrah. There was something quite “not Fremantle” about it all. No reclaimed furniture, milk crates or shabby chic crap anywhere. Nice.
The menu is small but far from boring. Prices range from $6 for toast up to $21.50 for a salmon omelette that comes with smoked curd, beets and avocado. Don’t freak out if you are a bacon and egg kinda person – they have eggs on toast ($11) too, add a bacon slab for $5 and you’re set.
The coffee of choice at Lenny’s is by Crema. They have had an 8 bean blend especially made for them and it’s good. Very good in fact, like “order a second and third cup” good. I think you get the picture! I make no secret of my love for Crema Gourmet Coffee Rosters – they have a become a major player in Perth and I like to see local coffee roasters getting out there and nabbing a bit of market share.
With it being winter and all, I have a little obsession with porridge. My husband associates it with his old life growing up in ol blighty as Oliver Twist – so refuses to acknowledge that it can be a delicious breakfast meal. The porridge here ($12) had a few little touches that let you know that they weren’t just about chucking some stewed fruit on top of Uncle Tobys. This salad sized bowl of oats came topped with fresh julienned apple, stewed rhubarb, shredded mint and crunchy granola. The fresh apple gave it a little tarty kick and the mint wasn’t as OTT as I had expected. Who would have thought that mint could work on porridge?
Andy ordered the baked beans ($20) which came served with black pudding, labneh and fried egg. He can’t ever pass on a dish with black pudding (remember the ol blighty thing?). Lenny’s got it right – it was soft and smooth rather than gritty and grainy. The beans were different, they had black beans, lentils and chick peas in the mix making for a left of field serving of a classic breakfast dish. When it first came out he thought “thanks for the garden of herbs” but they added to the cooling fresh taste of the labneh which was dotted around the dish. Now the fried egg. I thought fried eggs were either runny yolk or hard yolk but Andy loves to educate me about what makes a good fried egg. He said these guys had nailed it perfectly. The bottom was fried to the point that some of the smoky grill flavour had gone into the oozy golden yolk. A couple of seconds more and it would have been done for. Wow… that was a lot of words on an egg. Take his word for it it – this dish kicked arse.
You order at the counter here, a good little trick really, especially when that counter is laden with cakes and muffins. It’s like the tempting chocolates at the checkout in the supermarkets. Their homemade treats could be too good to pass up. It almost was for us as we ordered our second cups of coffee!
If you’re going to head to Freo to try one of the new offerings, make sure Lenny the Ox is at the top of the list. It’s in just the right spot to park up, enjoy brekky and walk to the cappuccino strip with a second coffee in hand.
20 Wray Ave, Fremantle
Breakfast served every day from 6.30am
Originally published on WA Today – Friday 18th July 2014