Every community needs a “local” – whether it’s a pub, a bookstore or a café. A place that doesn’t require a car to reach. A cultural hub. An identity. For the little community in North Eastern Fremantle, that place is now The Cool Room.
Only two months old, The Cool Room is a funky little café next door to the vintage furniture shop – and Fremantle institution – Old Values. And like its neighbour, The Cool Room is both refreshingly unpretentious and passionate about breathing new life into the discarded and once-loved.
Peta, the shop’s gregarious owner, says she was keen on creating a space that promoted art and culture. Dog-eared art and design mags are fanned out on tables. Paintings by local artist Peter Matulich, depicting lonely and abandoned old buildings in Perth, hang on the walls. He certainly shares the shop owner’s nostalgia for what she calls the “forgotten and disappearing urban landscape”.
Ideology aside, The Cool Room is simply a great place to eat. Peta does the cooking herself, and her menu offers a welcome diversion from the typical Perth breaky menu. The muesli, cakes and muffins are homemade. The panini are made with locally baked sourdough bread. The salads are fresh and inventive – how about one with roast sweet potato, beetroot, fresh goats curd and hazelnut? Yum.
If a community’s identity becomes embodied in its neighbourhood café, then Fremantle just got a whole lot cooler.
(Also published in Agenda)