First there was Susan Whelan and Melissa Palinkas: restaurant manager and chef, respectively, of small Mount Hawthorn bar The Cabin. Then there was Susan Whelan and Melissa Palinkas, owners of East Fremantle neighbourhood spot Young George. This March, the hardworking married duo will add a new entry to their CV: Ethos Deli & Dining Room.
Taking over the split-level space that once housed Alder & Co and Ari & Esmay, Ethos, as its full name suggests, caters to both the takeaway and dine-in crowd. The downstairs counter can seat 10 people inside, and there’s space for another 16 outside. The upstairs floor is being turned into a 40-seat dining room. Depending on the time of day and week, guests can drop by for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
Regardless of when you visit, Whelan and Palinkas want you to know two things: they’re (still) big believers in making as much as they can themselves, and wastage is (still) a swear word in their world.
“It’s all the [sustainability] practices we use at Young George, but because it’s smaller here, we can focus on it 100 per cent,” says Whelan.
Food-wise, Palinkas is employing the same no-waste approach of the Young George kitchen. Vegetable seconds will be fermented and upcycled into pickles and chutneys. The deli will make its own sodas and tonics in a bid to cut down on waste. The expansion will (finally) make it possible for people to buy Palinkas’s excellent salamis and charcuterie to take home. Initially, Palinkas will rotate through 10 different types of smallgoods – including three kinds of mortadella – that will also be available to those who are dining in (and deployed in a very George Street continental roll).
Sandwiches are a big part of the Ethos menu, including bacon sandwiches made with house-smoked bacon (they use mesquite wood rather than applewood) and a hot salami roll. Knishes (savoury Jewish pastries), latkes (potato pancakes) and other hallmarks of New York delis such as Katz’s and Russ & Daughters are also on offer.
Weekday breakfasts will be a case of choosing something on the counter and having it in-house or takeaway. The upstairs dining room will serve lunch and dinner during the week, as well as breakfast on weekends. Evenings are Palinkas’s chance to explore the trencherman flavours of Europe: think duck tartare; ribollita (Tuscan bean and kale soup); lesser-seen cuts of beef (such as spider/oyster steak) grilled over charcoal; and goulash, a nod to her Eastern European roots. Like Ethos as a whole, the dinner menu will be a celebration of food traditions and history.
“There won’t be any sous-vide cooking,” says Palinkas. “We’re going back to old-school methods of cooking. Cooking over fire and in pans. Braising things. Just doing what we used to do. I don’t want it to be modern. I want it to be old world.”
Ethos Deli & Dining Room (88 George Street, East Fremantle) opens in late March.