Fillaudeau’s Café Restaurant

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CrispyDuck3114 Benara Road, Caversham
Ph: (08) 9377 7733
What’s on the Manu?    

AS I walked up the lavender-lined path to Fillaudeau’s, I noticed Pinelli estate vineyard right next door, with charming old vines covering its pergola. The green lawn swept me into a light, spacious restaurant with wide verandahs.
Manu Fillaudeau greeted me with a gorgeous French accent. He described his food as family food, something he learned about as a child on their farm in Angers in the Loire Valley. He began to learn from a chef at age thirteen.
After years of experience in hospitality in Europe and UK, he came to Australia in 2005, arriving in Perth in 2006 where he met his Australian wife Jazz. After a couple of years back in Europe, they returned to Perth in 2011 to put down roots.
DuckOne day they were tasting wine at Pinelli estate in the historic Swan Valley, founded by Domenic Pinelli in 1955. They were chatting about food and wine, and Manu mentioned that he was a chef. The Pinelli’s mentioned that they were planning to make one of their buildings into a restaurant. Manu’s cooking cinched the deal. They still taste each other’s produce regularly.
Thus Manu and Jazz began the fit out, and the opening was in April 2012.
Gastronomic is a term Manu uses, defining his food as “old school classic French food”. He and his staff take pride in sourcing local, humane food, organic when possible. They take time to marinate, cure and smoke their produce and make their own bread, butter and reduction sauces. Similarly, Pinelli produce their wines by hand.
It brought back memories of long ago to taste Escargot a l’ail, snails in garlic butter, served with a home made bread roll. Not only were the imported Burgundy snails tasty, but so was the bread, as we dipped it in the warm melted butter. The flesh was firm and juicy.
Jazz’s crispy duck was served stacked on Israeli cous cous. The confit Cherry Valley duck was shredded and cooked in hoi sin sauce with a sharp coriander and tomato tabouleh, chilli, radish and coriander emulsion. This was my companion’s favourite. I enjoyed the bitterness, sweetness and crunchiness of the duck and the velvety large grained cous cous.
Fish of the day, estuary cod with parsnip, beetroot, snow peas and chipotle cream was a mixture of sweet and spicy. The fish was “meaty”, Coffeeyet tender and harmonised perfectly with the sweet, buttery parsnip puree. The spice of chipotle was not overpowering, blending all the ingredients, including the crunchy snow peas and beetroot.
Confit de canard maison is a confit duck leg, corn puree, sautéed cured lardons, porcini and mushroom with pommes duchesse. Such delectable tender dark meat was augmented by the corn puree and the fragrant mushrooms. There was a subtle, home-cured bacon flavour, adding to the whole and the duchesse potatoes were firm and flavoursome.
Tarte fine flambé au calvados was an irresistible finale. The finely sliced apple on puff pastry was not too heavy and a mild hint of calvados, flamed at the table, crisped the edges just so. The sauce Manu described as “milk jam” was like caramel.
Manu thinks of his staff as family, and believes that the unity of front of house, headed by Jazz, and kitchen staff, which he directs, leads to fruitful production.
He hopes to produce a recipe book next year and then after that he may commence cooking classes. Manu is adamant that chefs be taught properly and have the necessary experience.
My favourite summation from Manu is “I wish to share my culture with yours”.
Open for lunch – everyday except Tuesday and Wednesday, dinner – Thursday to Sunday. Functions can be arranged.

By Frances Myshell    
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