Kailis Fish Market Cafe Re-opens in Fremantle

Design / Life

Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour institution, Kailis Fish Market Café, has reopened after undergoing a complete reimagining with major renovations to interiors and a redesign of the culinary offering.

George KailisManaging Director of Kailis Hospitality Group (KHG), championed the relaunch of the family owned restaurant, founded by his father, Victor Kailis over 30 years ago.

“Times have changed as has the local hospitality scene. Kailis Freo was ageing so it’s time to go to town on it. I love the business like a child so this is a very passionate project for me. We have embraced the simplicity of who we are as a fish and chippery in a market style setting. Our focus is on the Fry, Raw Bar and BBQ counters along with the bar and sweet sections.

The biggest shift in the culinary agenda will be about focusing on specifically underused local species that are great value for money along with all the known favourites. We have a processing area on-site that services all of our KHG venues – we are at the fish market three times a week buying at auction and work with a range of great local wholesalers. With all these resources it makes sense to showcase local and interesting fish, crustacea and cephalopods. We buy lugs of something that morning at the markets and it will be cooked and served by lunch service until it’s sold out.”

Kailis Fish Market Café sees local chef and seafood specialist Peter Manifis (InContro) on board to steer the culinary redirection. Manifis’ late father Mick supplied Onslow prawns to the business for the better part of 30 years.

“I am so excited to be on board for the reimagining of Kailis Fremantle. The menu is simple; whitebait, whole herring, mullet, whiting, snapper’s, fish wings, garfish, and sardines will hit the deep fryer, local tiger prawns and lobster will BBQ’d, there will be two types of chowder served inside a sourdough roll. We will be shucking three varieties of oyster at the Raw Bar along with some crudo, poke and ceviche dishes. There’s also a pickled & marinated section served from the display with some specialties, like the raw seafood cocktail and the Uni Waffle” said Manifis.


George Kailis is championing the design of the Fremantle refurbishment, as he did with the other KHG venues:

“Design and aesthetics are important part of our businesses. Given the 80’s architecture of the Kailis Freo building we went straight to that period for design inspiration, think 80’s fish and chip shop meets New York City Jewish deli from the same period” said Kailis.

Kailis engaged Paul Lim and his award winning team at Mata Design Studio to help realise this vision following the successful launch of Island Market Trigg. Under Mata Design Studio, Island Market Trigg won Best Non-Residential Interior Design at the 2018 National Building Designers Awards and was the only WA venue shortlisted in the 2018 Global Restaurant, Bar & Design Awards

Mata Design Studio Director, Paul Lim, adds:

“The brief was to create a space that was enduring yet modern, layered with various lighting techniques and features without being contrived, whilst paying homage to the history of the business. We’ve avoid the predictable ‘seafood/boat harbour’ style aesthetics – no fishing nets or rope to be seen. The interior of Kailis Fish Market Café also honours the 1980’s building exterior, referencing the existing arched openings and terracotta floor tiles. It has an overall ambiance reminiscent of a New York-style delicatessen with its casual feel and warm material palette. The result is an honest, functional and nostalgic interior.”

The reimagined Kailis Fish Market Café is now open.