Ethos Deli & Dining Room

This former tea merchant is now an airy, neighbourhood deli with white splashbacks, exposed brick, Hungarian folk art and animal figurines decorating the space.

To passers-by, Ethos looks a lot like any suburban cafe, which is exactly what its environmentally conscious co-owners, wife-and-wife Susan Whelan and Melissa Palinkas want. Further up the road, the couple’s small, East Freo bar Young George makes a compelling argument that no-waste does not mean no-fun. With Ethos, they want to take this green thinking as far as they can.

Just like at Young George, secondary cuts of meat, seafood by-catch and imperfect produce (“wonky veg”, as Palinkas says) feature on the menu, but at Ethos, chef Matt Novak is more direct in the way he uses them.

Palinkas’s German-Hungarian roots and Eastern European deli culture are referenced extensively. The brunch menu features nokedli – egg noodles and Hungary’s equivalent to German spätzle – with crab and a poached egg; lunch might be matzo ball soup; while Croatian roasted lamb peka with vegetables cooked in lamb jus is among the hearty dinner fare on offer. (The butter with the malted beer bread, meanwhile, is enriched with pork fat). All the ingredients are sourced from Western Australia.

Charcuterie and smallgoods also star. Some might choose to enjoy Tuscan salami, pate en croute and liverwurst as standalone items. Others will get their fix via comforting sandwiches like bacon sarnies, continental rolls and Coney Island hot dogs (oversized sausage and all).

The waste-not, WA-thinking carries over into the drinks side of things, too. Spent lemons, oranges and grapefruit are steeped in vodka to create a citrus aperitif. Leftover sourdough is distilled into a gin by Haiver Spirits. Every wine on the list is made by producers on the same sustainability wavelength as Ethos.

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Updated: August 31st, 2020

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