Ask Hermosa Cantina owner and head chef George Fowler about his proudest culinary achievement. He won’t say it was serving as senior sous chef at Grossi Florentino in Melbourne, or even at the Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social in London.
It’s the fact that his current kitchen has a Josper – a Spanish-made, charcoal-powered oven with a knack for trapping heat and imparting loads of gorgeous smoky flavour.
It’s one of only two that he knows of in Perth (Noma in Denmark has one, too) and Fowler uses it to create knockout mains using local ingredients such as grass-fed Margaret River beef, Rankin cod from the Coral Coast and Fremantle octopus.
The Josper is also responsible for some of the restaurant’s best share plates, such as the compressed watermelon salad with smoked almonds and a miso-infused butterscotch; or the smoked hock and morcilla sausage croquettes.
When the breakfast queues are too long, customers gravitate towards the providore in the corner for an eyeful of the wall art from Perth-based artist Chris Nixon and the pastry case packed with goodies from local confectionary queen, Rochelle Adonis.
A cup of Will&Co coffee and a strawberry-and-spiced-chocolate cronut is the local breakfast of choice.