Eschewing overly-styled, squeezy-bottle-enhanced plates, Chef Danielle Alvarez’ dishes at Fred’s are seasonal, local, and pretty as a picture. But would you expect anything else from a Chez Panisse alum? One who came to Australia’s sunny shores with the highest of praises from the Alice Waters herself?
Fred’s has captured much of what makes Chez Panisse great – that dedication to high quality ingredients, letting them sing and shine without too much interference (just enough to make them more themselves), and a softly French influence. At Fred’s, there isn’t a distinction between kitchen and dining room, the open concept lets the two blur. The idea is that dining here feels welcoming and warm, like the home kitchen of your dreams – one with a wood-fired oven, heavy linen curtains, and elegant, effortless-looking French country house style.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if that dream kitchen came with the dishes from Chef Alvarez day-in, day-out? Alas, that’s where the dream stutters. But happily, here at Fred’s your reality is that dream, for a little while at least. You can rip apart fougasse, still warm from the wood oven, and dunk it in olive oil, or slather it in butter. Tuck into freshly-shucked Clair de Lune oysters with a coriander and white pepper mignonette. Linger over coral trout sashimi with crispy capers, roasted onion vinaigrette and radishes. And that’s all just to start.
As you move through the menu at Fred’s, you might find squid ink spaghetti with southern squid, lemon, nduja and bottarga or grass-fed T-bone with roasted potatoes and salad. Maybe some heirloom lettuces with sliced radish and a Chardonnay and honey vinaigrette. Or prosecco jelly with rhubarb granita, custard apple ice cream and langue de chat. But of course it depends because the menu here changes with the seasons. That just means there’s more to enjoy, experience and discover with each visit. Because once you’ve been here once, you’ll already be planning your next meal.