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Published November 10th 2015
Best place for bagels
The Grumpy Sailor café used to be situated at the front of the New Edition Bookshop on High Street in Fremantle. When the bookshop relocated about 14 months ago, so did The Grumpy Sailor … but to a different location. The new venue in Fremantle's Paddy Troy Mall is much bigger and has given owner Van more scope to create a space with character.
The Grumpy Sailor is a cafe with character
Before you even go in, you get the impression that The Grumpy Sailor is a laid back place from the opening hours sign on the window. It reads 'Open every day except when closed – 7.30am(ish) to 4.30pm(ish).' The seating includes comfy sofas and armchairs with coffee tables, as well as an eclectic mixture of wooden tables and chairs. Lamps, indoor plants and soft music give the café a relaxing ambiance and there's even a fish tank built into the wall if you really want to zone out and watch the fish.
You can watch the fish if you really want to zone out
The walls are lined with bookshelves containing a great selection of books and patrons are encouraged to swap a book. If you haven't got one to swap, you can buy any of the books for $9.50. There's also a pile of games, toys and children's books to ensure that nobody will be bored at The Grumpy Sailor.
The food on offer is mainly bagels. Van got the idea of introducing authentic American bagels to Perth after spending time with family in the USA.
Van has introduced authentic bagels to Fremantle
"Real bagels are denser than bread because, after proving, the dough is boiled before it is baked," he explained to me.
From 7.30am to 2.30pm breakfast bagels are available for $12.50. There are six choices of fillings including a bacon, egg, cheese and hash brown bagel, an omelette bagel with spinach and mushrooms, and a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, poached egg, spinach and sweet honey mustard sauce.
Ordinary bagels are available all day for around $8.50, or you can get a bagel and a regular coffee for only $10. There are about a dozen different fillings, including vegetarian options such as 'The Davies' and 'From the Earth'. Van is about to expand his range to include bagel burgers. Also on the menu are pies and soup.
Get the special - a bagel and a regular coffee for only $10
If you're thirsty, a regular cup of coffee is $3.50 ($4.50 for a mug), and a pot of tea for one is $5 ($7.50 for two). Other drinks on the menu include cold pressed juices (from $6.50), smoothies/frappes ($6.50), iced coffee or chocolate ($6), and young coconut flesh and juice ($4.50).
I asked Van how the café got its name. He said the 'Grumpy' bit came from his wife who accuses him of being grumpy when he gets home from work (something I found hard to believe), and 'Sailor' because Fremantle is a port city. The logo evolved from a small pottery plaque of a sailor winking that is displayed on the wall.
The logo evolved from a small pottery plaque
So the next time you're in Fremantle and feel like a coffee or a bagel, give The Grumpy Sailor a go. You'll find it's a very relaxing place – a bit like eating at home, only tidier!