Fremantle’s West End has it all. Looking for old-school Freo pleasures? Hopefully you've got Kakulas Sisters and The National Hotel (since 1868)
The Buffalo Club (since 1938) on the retro radar. Want something a little more of-the-moment? Let me introduce you to
Goldbird Hot Chicken, Wise Child Wine Store and Chicho Gelato. And if you’re in the market for something that borrows from both camps, you’re going to love Lola’s – a family-friendly pizzeria and the sophomore venue from Harriet Roxburgh and Harry Peasnell of beloved West End sandwich shop, Peggy’s.
If you read the April news piece proclaiming Lola’s arrival, you’ll know that Roxburgh and Peasnell are opening venue number two in the same Imperial Chambers building that Peggy’s resides in. But unless you’ve walked past the Lola’s shopfront at 41 Market Street, you probably don’t know how beautiful and utterly charming the space looks. The bar and counter in the window are made from a handsome beetroot-coloured stone. Salvaged jarrah timber, terracotta wine holders and painter Ash-Lee Clarke’s palette of earthy hues and tones give the room instant character. Custom-built furniture from Remington Matters inject just the right amount of contemporary style. It’s a fitting backdrop for a food offering that combines modern-day baking craft with no small amount of nostalgia.
“This is going to be the corner pizza store stuff you and I ate growing up,” says Peasnell. “The sort of pizza where you might order two family pizzas between three of you on a Friday night so you’ve got pizza leftover the next day. In terms of structural integrity, that’s my favourite style of pizza.”
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As Peggy’s regulars will know, Peasnell gives good bread, and that baking know-how will carry over to Lola’s (and not to mention vice-versa: some aspects of Peggy’s dough production will shift to the new place). While slow-fermented dough is the name of the game, these “super takeaway-friendly” pizzas – as Peasnell describes them – will eat differently to the Naples-style woodfired pizzas that are ubiquitous out west. For starters, the bases themselves will be spread a little thinner and wider than the LP-sized Neapolitan pizzas and cooked a little longer. The house cheese mix will be made of low-moisture mozzarella (the mozzarella of choice in New York-style slices) provolone dolce and Gruyere, all of which are bought in blocks and shredded. Drier cheese and a sturdier base means a heftier pizza for you and me as well as something we can reheat and eat the following morning with impunity. Or at least we can once takeaway (hopefully October) and delivery (hopefully November) get introduced.
Till then, Lola’s is dine-in only which, considering how beautiful the space is, isn’t too hard an ask. The opening 11-pizza menu is gloriously pun-free and classically minded with choices split evenly between red-sauce and white-based pies including vegetarian options. Peasnell and head chef Drew Dawson will also do a limited “grandma slice”: a square-shaped pizza baked in a deep-sided tray that produces a crisp, crunchy and high-walled crust of cheese. Only 25 grandma slices will be available each day. (For the pizza nerds: despite how it’s billed on the menu, this pizza won’t be a strict New York-style grandma slice, but will borrow from the style as well as the similar Sicilian pizza playbook, plus the tao of Detroit-style deep-pan pizza. As far as comparisons go, Peasnell points to the grandma square pie at Melbourne’s Capitano.
A small edit of pizza-adjacent sides makes up the rest of the menu. House-smoked meatballs and scallops “Rockerfella” bring some American red-sauce fun to the party, while a bread salad and bitter greens crunched up with toasted seeds and nuts are on-hand to appease your GP. A wine list sporting low mark-ups and a selection that’s two-thirds conventional and one-third natural ensures everyone’s looked after on the drinks side of things. A couple of tap beers and house cocktails round things off. Like Freo’s West End, Lola’s aspires to take care of us all.
41 Market Street, Fremantle
Thursday to Monday 5pm–9pm