In November I visited Perth, capital of Western Australia, to attend a food blogging conference, ‘Eat. Drink. Blog.’ After the conference, we toured for a week, visiting some of south-west of WA. As part of the #tiffingoeswest extravaganza, I spent A Day in Fremantle, a seaside city that’s a 20 minute train ride from Perth.
I had a vague recollection that I had visited a deli the last time I came to Fremantle over 10 years ago and an even vaguer recollection of the name. If you type ‘Kakulas Perth’ into the search engine, the first two returns are Kakulas Brothers and Kakulas Sister. Kakulas Brothers was established in 1929 in Northbridge as a grocery, dry goods and continental deli. It’s still going strong though these days it’s run by cousins, son’s of the original brothers. Kakulas Sister is Eleni Kakulas, the daughter of one of the original brothers (so she’s actually Kakulas Daughter).
Visiting Kakulas Sister in Fremantle (there’s another store in Nollamara) is like visiting an Aladdin’s Cave. It’s a treasure trove of all that is unusual, exotic, hard to source and hard to go past in the food world. In amongst the workaday staples including pulses and flours, there are glistening jewels of glace fruit, imported sweets and shiny bottles of sauce to tempt you. There is no such thing as low-fat or low sugar. It’s a gourmand’s delight and downfall.
Housed in an old theatre, it has dark wood floors and a patina that encourages you to enter. As you pass the specials baskets out the front, you are overwhelmed with the dazzling array of food on offer. Open sacks of coffee beans fill the air with their roasted scent and a table of chocolates and sweetmeats imported especially for Christmas greets you. To one side are enormous bins of chocolate coated treats and another bank of savoury snacks, nuts and unusual items such as sweet potato chips, all available by weight.
Further into the shop is a large deli counter with cold and cured meats and yes, cheeses of the world. Atop the counter are olives, biscuits, oils and tempting tidbits to accompany the cheeses.
Tinned goods are housed in open shelving with large sacks of nuts, pulses and beans plonked in strategic corners and in large displays. Whilst there are signs asking customers to use the implements provided, there’s no one worrying about the dry goods being uncovered and the pretend danger that his may pose.
Continue into the shop and you will see a vast floor to ceiling wall of bottles and tins, set up in convenient sections such as Middle Eastern Spices, Nut Spreads, Syrups and Maize (yes, there’s a whole section devoted to maize and cornmeal). They support local businesses too such as Freo sardines.
From the ceiling hangs groovy Fremantle art tea towels, dried oregano and stockfish, all vying for your attention as you try to decide what to purchase. Another thing vying for your attention are the amusing and informative signs dotted around the shop. Clever, arty and a little bit smarty, they are sure to make you laugh.
Kakulas Baccala…try saying that quickly!
Make sure you leave plenty of time to browse the shelves, the bins and cabinets. I spent well over an hour in the shop and if I had more time, it would have extended to two. Kakulas Sister will hurt your wallet but you’ll leave with a smile on your face.
29-31 Market St
Fremantle WA 6160