29 Mandurah Terrace, Mandurah
Ph: (08) 9535 2601
Not to be Underestimated
When I first visited Samudera earlier in the year I thought it was just a little coffee shop that made a bit of bread. I entered via the main street to a tiny rustic coffee shop but it turns out that Samudera is much more than just that. I am not local to Mandurah so I didn’t know how extensive and popular this spot was. I guess I had my blinkers on.
Luckily I bumped into owner, head baker and executive chef Nat Loaring at one of the many Perth cafes Samudera supplies handmade artisan bread to. He invited me back for lunch the following week and I am so very glad he did. My navigator took me to a secluded back entry that had a rustic setting of wood and tin. I didn’t even know it was there. It was really busy so I sat down outside the open Bakery and ordered some food.
Before the food came out Nat took me through his bakery which is a good size and capable of supplying fresh bread to half the population of Mandurah. He says it’s his bread that made Samudera famous, and sourdough is their specialty, and I must say – it is excellent. I took home some fresh sourdough crumpets, a sourdough loaf and some seeded bread. I think it was the first time in my life I had gone home and just had bread for dinner. I couldn’t believe it when my wife and very fussy kids joined me and ate until they couldn’t eat any more.
Nat took me through the kitchen and into the shopfront before I realised where I was. The same tiny rustic coffee shop I had once visited and clearly underestimated. This deceptive little place had me wondering what else had I missed?
First up from the breakfast menu, we tried the Samudera Souffle Cakes – what I would best describe as one of the more extravagant pancakes I have had. With meringue on top, a selection of seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds and mascarpone, it was a combination you don’t often see. Both kids and adults will love them.
Next up was the Buttermilk Chicken & Sourdough Waffles which was a good-sized portion, and I am starting to see they love to use nuts and seeds in most dishes. The bacon was my favourite part of the dish because it had a lovely smoked flavour to it.
From the lunch and dinner menu, the Seared WA Scallops was an interesting twist of flavours. I particularly liked the citrus with it. Nat told me they torch it gently to highlite the natural sweetness. The sourdough crumbed fried balls filled with La Delizia Latticini’s hand crafted stracciatella cheese was great mixed with the rest of the dish so make sure you give that a try when you order.
The Samudera Artisan Sourdough with beetroot hummus, olive oil, balsamic, whipped herb ricotta salata, dukkah and citrus oil will satisfy the health conscious too, so there is something for everyone at Samudera.
Onto the dinner menu and the WA Fish Fillet came with a big Exmouth tiger prawn, a couple of WA scallops, Mandurah crab risotto, guanciale wrapped asparagus, and house kaffir lime aioli. There is nothing better than fresh seafood and it was exactly that (a true reflection of the name Samudera – which translates in English to “of the sea”). All of the seafood was cooked perfectly, but the fish really stood out – silky and flaky, it was just the way it should be.
Don’t forget this is a first-class bakery so make sure you have some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand to dip any leftover bread as it doesn’t get any fresher than this. The Samudera bakers work 24 hrs around the clock and fresh sourdough loaves come out of the oven every 45 minutes.
The WA Prawn Linguini was another huge dish packed full of flavour. I really loved the combination of the creamy sauce with the house made crayfish oil. Next time I will try the Crab Linguini as we are, after all, in Mandurah and this is what Mandurah and Samudera are famous for.
The final dish we tasted was the Samudera Chicken Parmigiana. I could not believe the size of it and was somewhat relieved to hear it’s designed to be a share plate. Complete with a side pasta, salad and chips, this is half a free-range boneless chicken crumbed in Samudera’s own sourdough breadcrumbs with La Delizia Latticini’s hand crafted mozzarella and a very fresh house made passata.
The other share dish that was recommended to us was the 54 Degree Black Angus Scotch Fillet Reef & Beef, but I was too full on the day to do it justice. It is slow cooked then reverse seared on a woodfire using local timbers including salt encrusted peppermint collected from the banks of the Peel Estuary.
The food at Samudera is full of intensity and integrity. Nat’s philosophy is simple – it’s all about real food. He says: “You can really see and taste the quality of not only the produce and ingredients but also the love and passion of making everything here in house – it’s food you want to eat”. And he is right about that. Where possible everything is made in house, and only chefs who are passionate about the food they make are working here. For Nat, his experience growing up in Mandurah, catching, growing and cooking fresh food has influenced what you find on the menu.
There are lots of interesting things to come back for at Samudera and the next time I walk into a little shop I won’t be underestimating what else is there.
By Scott Arnold-Eyers