While staying at the Pensione Hotel in Perth, I decided to make a side trip to Fremantle after hearing all the wonderful things about the area from the locals. One of the must-visit places shared with me was the waterfront area around the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, home to the famous Little Creatures Brewery and a stone's throw away from the Fremantle Ferris Wheel.
An hour away from lunch, I came across several seafood restaurants including the Kailis' Fish Market Cafe located on the docks where crowds were gathering. I decided to check what all the fuss about over battered and grilled seafood.
Kailis' is styled like a cafe-shop similar to those in the Sydney fish market, with the exception that it had its own building with indoor dining and outdoor dining on a deck. There are 3 sections handing their own orders and payments including one for the battered and fried, a fresh seafood market area and a bar counter for drink orders. The service at the fresh seafood area and bar counter was personable while the fried food section was designed like a factory line similar to a Maccas. A beeper informs you when your order is ready for self-collection. With seafood platters going at AUD70, I decided to try the cheaper standard fish and chips with calamari rings and the chili mussels, and wash them down with a bottle of wine.
With the growing queue of locals and tourists at the counters and vying for seats, the whole atmosphere reminded me of the Sydney Fish Markets but just messier and busier. The seating situation was no better on the deck so some customers decided to takeaway and have their meal at the nearby park with their kids. I finally managed to secure a prime seat closest to the water on the docks with excellent view of the harbour, boats and seagulls.
Several locals seated next door explained that Kailis' was a local institution known for the best fish and chips and has been in the harbour area since 1928. My expectations were high as I took a bite of the fish and calamari rings. The batter was golden and crispy but the fish tasted flat as were the calamari rings. They were definitely frozen and not fresh. The mussels didn't fare any better and the chili sauce reminded of bottled tomato sauce. The fish and chips may be touted as the best in Fremantle, but they paled in comparison to the less fancy shops I frequent in Manly and Sydney. Still it was lovely to sit on the docks, enjoy a slice of the Fremantle lifestyle over a glass of wine and ponder about heading over to Cicerellos.