PERTH | For some reason, Manuka Woodfire Kitchen wasn’t on my radar before I got back to Perth, despite it opening in 2015 (seriously what rock was I living under!). When my friends Laura and Ryan told me that I had to check it out during my day down in Freo, you bet I paid attention.
Manuka is the baby of owner and head chef Kenny McHardy. I popped in for a small(ish) second lunch, to experience a bit of the magic coming out of the kitchen, on the final day of the restaurant’s original wood fired oven (there’s now a new one).
As you’ve probably gathered, it’s all about cooking with fire here. Kenny hails from New Zealand, and his career has seen him work in Michelin started restaurants in London and two hatted restaurants in Melbourne. At Manuka, he cooks simple, innovative food over fire, using local, seasonal produce from WA growers and producers who support ethical and sustainable farming.
I wish I was dining with a few people, so I could try all of the things, but I had to choose wisely being solo, and a bit full from lunch one. For savoury dishes I opted for the jumbo Tiger prawns with fennel remoulade, fermented chilli, and lemongrass, the wood roasted cauliflower with almond and currant pesto, and smoked whey (thanks Kenny for doing me a half serve). Both bursting with freshness and flavour, and the undeniable impact of smoke. Sublime.
I was full, but I couldn’t go past the dessert of vanilla pannacotta with roasted stonefruit and toasted almonds. I’m glad I was able the delightfully light, sweet and smoky final plate in as it was brilliant.
Next time I’m in town, I’m definitely popping in for another visit, this time with friends/family, and an empty stomach.
Manuka Woodfire Kitchen
134 High Street
Western Australia 6160
Tue – Thu: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 3:00pm; 5:30pm to 10:30pm