Words By: Sam Farringdon
Let’s face it – café culture is synonymous with Freo. In fact, one might make the argument that Perth’s entire barista-bred boom owes more than a passing debt to the halcyon days of the Cappuccino Strip.
But while The Strip may no longer befit the legend it’s acquired (at least in terms of coffee), Fremantle is still THE place to go if you’re a card-carrying caffeine fiend. There’s a unique, charming, and character filled café in Fremantle for every occasion – so where does a new café fit? Those not already overwhelmed by choice, probably already have their go-to, either for their take away brew, or romantic brunch for two.
Lucky for Red Cherries Coffee Bar, they’ve already got form. This is because they’re the sister store of Fremantle Markets’ esteemed Black Cherries Espresso, who have built a reputation for masterfully prepared espresso. What’s more is that the owners roast their own beans – a true anomaly for a Perth café – meaning that the coffee here tastes like nowhere else.
And what coffee! I’ll admit to being to being a bit of a snob after a few years in Melbourne, being spoiled with almost uniformly excellent coffee everywhere I went, but I’m here to say that Red Cherries is up there with the best coffee I’ve tasted – in Perth OR Melbourne. Over a couple of days, I sampled the long macchiato and the cappuccino; both were full, flavoursome and not too strong, with the milk and espresso blended seamlessly together to emphasise the distinct notes of the coffee. It’s even subtly sweet – so sugar lovers beware, you might not need as much as you think!
The other coffee I sampled was the Pour Over – a Japanese style drip method, which has gained a lot of popularity in Melbourne, but, due to the skill and finesse required in preparation, is less common in Perth. Drinking a Pour Over is an entirely different experience to drinking standard coffee: the flavours of the beans are more distinct, and the taste engulfs the whole of the mouth, settling at the back of the palate in a manner more similar to red wine than coffee. After drinking some of the finest Pour Overs in Melbourne, it’s fair to say my expectations were pretty high. But I’m glad to report that Red Cherries did not disappoint. The fruitier notes of the beans were emphasised in full, while the acidity was perfectly delicate and not at all overpowering. If you want a unique coffee experience, the Pour Over alone is reason enough to recommend Red Cherries above all else.
Inside, the décor is minimalist and elegant, with a Moroccan twist emphasised by the colourful murals of women in traditional dress adorning the walls. And while the food menu is befitting of the limitations of a coffee bar, the paninis, cakes, and slices, all are locally sourced and appealing in look. I tried the caramel slice and gluten-free orange and almond cake; both were delicious.
Red Cherries Coffee Bar is located in the South Terrace Piazza, diagonally opposite the Pickled Fairy (and where The Raw Kitchen used to be). The vibe is laid back, the staff are super friendly, and it’s the perfect place for the quiet catch up, or a little contemplative solitude, or even a little morning recovery after a big night. Check it out – it might just become your new go-to. And try the Pour Over. You won’t regret it.