98 High Street, Fremantle
Ph: (08) 9335 6688
Luxury and old school charm in FREO
Rebuilt in 2013, the listed National Hotel in downtown Fremantle offers five levels of amenities including accommodation, dining and beverage options, and caters to patrons’ differing needs, depending on their choice of experience.
We entered at street level into the ground floor bar which was atmospheric and lively. Tables and seating are available, including alfresco seating on the sidewalk. Live music plays seven days and nights, with a generous menu on offer – including traditional pub fare, and weekly specials. We tried the Steak Burger – which was generous in portion size, with tender and perfectly cooked steak, and very easy to eat with a pint in your hand.
Meandering up the stairs to the next level, you are offered views over High Street and the surrounds from the wrap-around verandahs, and further menu options from the dining room. Available for functions and events, the dining room is open for service Thursday-Sunday. The menu includes Confit Duck on braised lentils with sweet potato, which was well cooked, with strong savoury notes, crispy skin yet tender, and the lentils and sweet potato were balanced by the red wine jus.
The walk up the winding staircase past bare brick walls and solid timber balustrades offers a sense of grandeur, with interesting architecture and local art pieces adorning the walls. Here the National Hotel offers 12 individually styled heritage rooms, each with an en-suite and exceptional views across the port city.
The six lower rooms boast high ceilings and a private entrance through French doors to the balcony that looks over the surrounding streetscape. The upper six rooms are uniquely shaped due to their placement within the eaves of the building, with windows offering photo worthy views across the harbour and rooftops of Fremantle.
Guests have the option to order from the menu for in-room service, for both lunch and dinner, and meals can be served in the rooms or on the balcony for those guests in the lower rooms. Both options make the best use of the unique space, and offer a private and intimate dining experience.
The final instalment of The National Hotel is the exceptional rooftop bar. Here you get 360 degree views across the port city, including the Indian Ocean (ideal for sunsets), the working harbour, the Town Hall and across to Monument Hill.
The rooftop bar’s cocktail bar is renowned for its gin and tonic interpretations, and a shared plate and platter menu is available. We sampled the seafood platter of smoked salmon with herb oil and aioli, salt and pepper squid, pan fried snapper, oysters natural and Kilpatrick, and chargrilled whole king prawns, with a refreshing garden salad.
The seafood was well cooked, seasoned, and honest and was a delightful accompaniment to the dimming afternoon light and a glass of Drift 2020 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Chef Simon said he wants the rooftop menu to enhance the atmosphere; for patrons to sit together, nibble, chat and enjoy clean and simple food while taking in the magnificence of the view and surrounds.
With a traditional bar, diversity of dining options, and an exceptional rooftop view, it is hard to beat the National Hotel as an experience unique to Fremantle.
The experience feels deeply ‘Freo’, with both romantic appeal and a great time, and the entirely enticing option for a night, a weekend or even longer.
By Danica Scott