Going to Fremantle for a steak dinner is a bit like going to a winery for beer. But that’s all set to change, with new restaurant Char Char Bull making a name for itself as a place for those who want meat instead of mussels, a rump rather than red emper
Going to Fremantle for a steak dinner is a bit like going to a winery for beer.
But that’s all set to change, with new restaurant Char Char Bull making a name for itself as a place for those who want meat instead of mussels, a rump rather than red emperor, or a quality steak instead of a calamari salad.
Located at the former Bertini’s Restaurant and Cafe site (next door to Cicerello’s), the new restaurant prides itself on steak, but also offers other non-staples such as Moroccan goat and double-roasted duck.
But it’s not that owners Graham and Rhonda Bolton aren’t fond of seafood – they own and operate neighbouring Sails Seafood Restaurant and have done so for the past 16 years.
Rather it was more a matter of finding a good niche market to develop.
“We’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and we were just waiting for the right time,” Mr Bolton says.
Of course they haven’t excluded fish from the menu altogether, but an entire page of Char Char Bull’s three-page menu is devoted to steak, and steak for everyone.
For those with a small appetite there’s a mini fillet on offer. Then there’s the porterhouse, scotch fillet, T-bone, a rib-eye on the bone, and the classic pepper steak.
There is also a surf ’n turf option, not to mention the revival of the classic bearnaise sauce.
The prime year-old Murray Grey beef is supplied by Avon Valley Meats, which has been surprised by the recent orders from Char Char Bull, according to Mr Bolton.
“It took them a bit by surprise with the initial success of it and the volumes involved,” he says.
Mr and Mrs Bolton are no strangers to establishing new venues.
They’ve been involved in more than a dozen restaurants, and according to Mr Bolton setting them up doesn’t get any easier, with the former cafe-style Bertini’s having been completely overhauled to create the new 160-seat restaurant.
There’s an open kitchen, new carpet, new paint, new furniture, new lighting … and the list goes on. It all took place over two days – The Boltons’ very own renovation blitz.
“We had 25 or 30 tradespeople in here and it all got done,” Mr Bolton says.
Past successes include one of Perth’s first pizza and pasta bars, Charlie Brown Pizza Bar, established in 1972, which eventually grew to six outlets.
“We purchased the Matilda Bay Restaurant in 1974 and ran a restaurant upstairs called Corida,” Mr Bolton says.
“Even back then we were popular for our steak.”
And now, 20 years later, steak and pizza are back on the menu, only this time the customer is getting a much better product, according to Mr Bolton.
“The method of farming now is so much better so you get more quality more of the time; before you took what you got and it was hit and miss,” he says.
“It’s the same with seafood. Fishermen treat their product so much differently today. They used to take the nets out and if the fish thrashed around you’d still pay for it, even if it ended up being tough. Now there are much better practices.”
The Char Char Bull menu explains how each steak is cooked, from blue (sealed both sides while steak is at room temperature) to well done (shrinks markedly, very firm, little juice – style affects taste and tenderness), as well as a description of the sauces.
It’s something Mr Bolton believes helps customers make the right choices and causes less friction with the wait staff when meals are served.
Char Char Bull is open seven days for lunch and dinner.