IT’S worth taking the three hour drive to Shelter just to see the humungous ceiling fans.
They are bigger than the blades on a chinook helicopter and when they are going full tilt they would generate enough wind to blow-dry Ted Danson’s hair in the 1980s.
Situated beside the jetty in Busselton, Shelter is one of the more recent brewery/eateries in WA, opening to much fanfare in November last year.
Maybe it’s just me, but brewery apathy is setting in.
Like burger joints, they seem to spring up faster than Mark McGowan’s hard borders, and familiarity has started to breed contempt.
But I visited Shelter with an open mind, and I must say I was impressed by the architecture and lighting on a cold, dark Spring night – the black facade helped soften the industrial shed-look (see The Jetty Bar in Fremantle) and the building really ‘popped’ when the lights were turned on in the alfresco, which had tasteful limestone and plenty of verdure.
The inside is huge without being soulless – imagine Little Creatures on steroids – with the obligatory bench seating and looming steel vats.
The menu had the usual burgers and woodfired pizzas, but there was also a decent range of salads, sweets and mains, including pork ribs, lamb rump, mussels and beef brisket.
There was a decent kids menu too, with a healthy fruit basket option, so all-in-all the menu was well-rounded for a brewery.
Interestingly, Shelter was a cashless venue, which may pose problems for those enterprising cash-in-hand tradies.
My woodfired prawn pizza ($25) was a tasty affair with loads of plump prawns and a thick tomato sauce with plenty of garlic.
The mozzarella was nice and stringy and the thin base well woodfired with crunchy, charred crusts.
A really nice addition was the subtle chilli, which gave the pizza a flavour twist without overpowering the prawns. Overall, a very enjoyable number.
After the drive down south my wife was famished and devoured her fish burger ($26) with all the gusto of Hannibal Lecter in that cage scene in The Silence of the Lambs.
The star of the dish was the hand-cut chips, which were super crunchy and tasted like the frites you get in the Belgian Beer cafe.
“The burger is really good too with a fresh-tasting snapper fillet and a nice assortment of onion, pickles and aioli,” she said.
You could have the fillet battered or grilled.
The kids were busy munching down their cheeseburger and chips ($14), and fish and chips ($15) from the children’s menu.
There were no complaints, but I thought the price was a bit steep for a kid’s meal, and they left a lot because the portion size was too big.
I’d go for a smaller portion with a lower price, but it’s hard to please everyone.
Our friends shared a pepperoni pizza ($23) and a bowl of hand-cut chips ($10).
I had a taste of their pizza and it was crammed with flavour with plenty of pepperoni, olives and a liberal garnish of oregano.
Shelter’s food was very enjoyable brewery grub, so I’ll be back to try the mains and the beer.
It’s definitely out of the Little Creatures’ cookie-cutter mould, but like AC/DC said – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Shelter Brewing Co
11 Foreshore Parade, Busselton
by STEPHEN POLLOCK