When it comes to eating, the hit-rate is high on East Fremantle’s George Street (hello, Cook & Mason, Young George). This weekend, these two and the rest of the George Street community will be joined by Duke of George, a New Orleans-style jazz and blues bar. Created by WAAPA graduate Renee Coyle, the 200-seat venue is in the basement of the Brush Factory, a hub for creatives and arts professionals.
Duke of George will offer live entertainment from both local and touring talent spanning blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass. Friday nights will feature a 9pm “supper club” show, and Saturdays will host a dinner show.
The food, meanwhile, has been designed by chef Stuart Laws (formerly of Don Tapa) and follows the New Orleans theme.
“We’re looking at French Quarter, Bourbon Street-style food,” says Laws. “We’ve got corn cakes, griddle cakes, a vegan gumbo, three different jambalayas served in cast-iron pans. It’s a little bit heavier than we’d like going into this time of year, but I don’t know any New Orleans salads.”
The menu ranges from bar snacks to set dinner-and-a-show menus. Bar snacks include fried whiting with black-eyed pea salsa and baked oysters with a Creole-style butter. More substantial options include a soft-shell crab po-boy, beef short rib with charred corn and sofrito, and sides of cornbread and sweet potato fries. Most dishes sit in the $15 to $20 bracket.
Laws isn’t afraid to freestyle, either. Among the remixed dishes on offer: a gluten-free Caesar salad with Bourbon and vanilla candied bacon, and a Bloody Mary-style prawn and crab cocktail.
“It’s ceviche-esque but with Bloody Mary flavours, so lots of liquid, but liquid that you want to drink,” says Laws. “The sweetness of the seafood enhances the spices and the richness of the Bloody Mary.”
Despite Laws’s thoughtful food offering – there’s also a late-night supper menu starring petit fours, a selection of tarts, cheese and beignets, New Orleans’s famous doughnuts – accessibility is the name of the game.
“Being a live music venue, I didn’t want to put too much emphasis on the food,” says Laws. “But I wanted it to be better than any other music venue in the state and on par with the Eastern seaboard and overseas. We want to focus on quality ingredients at a good price point.”
To drink, expect local and international wines and tap beers alongside Prohibition-inspired and more modern cocktails.
Duke of George opens on Friday January 18.
Duke of George
135 George Street, East Fremantle
Thu & Fri 5pm–12am