If you’re already looking forward to some cosy winter action down south – let us acquaint you with Flame Trees Denmark, the Great Southern’s latest tapas-style cocktail bar in the heart of Denmark.
Located on Denmark’s main drag and previously known as MJ’s Wine Bar, the space has been transformed by new co-owners Kelly McCrae and Cooper Garbellini into a dimly lit and intimate 1920s Prohibition-style bar.
Expect an eclectic mix of crystal chandeliers, oil paintings and antique couches under moody candlelight as you step through the door, and a contemporary Mediterranean menu of locally sourced fare.
While Mediterranean-focused, the menu pays homage to the region with touches of native flora and fauna. Utilising the fresh produce of the region, Flame Trees sources their meat and seafood from Denmark Butchers and Great Southern Seafoods.
“Our three highlight dishes are the steak tartare, the fish crudo with fire-roasted paprika oil and the fired octopus served on a bed of ajo blanco,” co-owner Kelly McCrae tells us. “And our signature dish would be the 24-hour slow-cooked roo ragu.”
The iconic ‘Cooper’s Roo Ragu’ is a kangaroo ragu slow-cooked in a red wine jus, served with fettuccine or mash: “We’ve got three chefs, but because that’s Cooper’s special dish, he makes it himself. I’m so proud of how successful his ragu has been,” Kelly beams.
Other delicious share plates include the baked brie with chilli-infused honey and the triple-cooked potatoes – especially when the crispy potatoes are dipped into the warm, soft brie.
Feature wines from Demark’s selection of top-notch wineries have been chosen to complement the menu: “We really wanted to showcase what the region had to offer, so all of our wines have been carefully selected,” Kelly explains.
“If you want a red wine to go with the roo ragu, go for a Forest Hill malbec. Or, if you wanted a white to go with the risotto, definitely pick the Singlefile chardonnay.”
The cocktail list has almost 20 cocktails, with heavy hitters including the ‘Grandmumma’s Apple Pie’ and the ‘Charlie Chappy Sour’. If you’re the designated driver, try the ‘Virgin Summer Gin’.
For beer lovers, there’s a range of WA craft beers, especially from Denmark’s Artisan Brewing, and a selection of cider from the town’s Monkey Rock Cider.
A welcome addition to Denmark’s blossoming hospitality scene, Flame Trees opened its doors in August 2022 amidst plenty of support amongst the locals, Kelly tells us: “When we first opened, we had an overwhelming amount of support from all the locals and local businesses that really wanted to help us out and see us succeed.”
Kelly has worked extensively in the hospitality scene on the east coast, even helping open up the popular Byron Bay restaurant Bang Bang. She is also a wedding and event stylist, which helped her bring the vision of Flame Trees Denmark to life.
Her partner Cooper, an Albany local, is a carpenter by trade, and the dynamic duo were able to combine their skills to renovate the wine bar and turn it into a bustling meeting spot for locals and holidaymakers.
“Part of the beauty of having a small venue is that we get to meet every single person that comes in the door. Learn their name, learn a little bit about them, and where they’ve come from,” she says.
“It’s just so beautiful when we get to bump into them at the shops and at the beach and we remember who they are, and they remember who we are.”
Flame Trees Denmark is located at 3/27 Strickland Street, Denmark, WA (opposite the Denmark Bakery).
Image Credit: Kath & Co