Local Good Friends La Cabana

Local Good Friends - Meet La Cabaña


A series where we explore our #localgoodfriends around us and highlighting their stories, places and spaces.

Meet La Cabaña, founded by Chef Ben Fossilo, along with Madi Fay and Jarrah Stevenson. They are responsible for the very beloved coastal Mexican bar and restaurant found in South Fremantle, La Cabana. It’s a fiesta of Mexican dishes and drinks, combining West Aussie ingredients and the relaxed, fun and friendly beach shack style aesthetic. Eagle Bay has always been part of La Cabana’s beautifully curated beer offering, with a spot in the fridge or on the beer taps.

We caught up with Ben Fossilo to take a peek behind the scenes and get to know La Cabaña a little bit more, enjoy our chat.

Tell us about you and how La Cabaña was created.

“I’m a trained Chef and ended up going to Mexico a couple of times in that little winter break over the years. Tasting tortillas and tacos for the first time in Mexico. Just having kind of a mind-blown moment of how amazing real Mexican food can be. So when the food truck thing started to end and I wanted to do a restaurant that really embodied all those amazing things about Mexican food.”

“ Fremantle is my home town, with my friends Jarrah and Maddi we got together and decided to build a venue and we were lucky enough to find this spot in South Fremantle, a hundred meters from the beach.”

“Mexican food to me is very relaxed. It’s very conclusive with being outdoors and being in a friendly environment. So this was the perfect thing for us. We wanted to create a restaurant where you could walk in, sandy feet, have a beer, have a Margarita at 11 o’clock in the morning. Very social, being around friends, lots of loud music and then this place just came from that. And four years on, we’re still here.”

Tell us more about the ethos behind the menu at La Cabaña.

“So the idea of Mexican food is freshness, it’s quality of the products. It’s super regional, so you won’t get seafood in the mountains and you won’t get a goat stew down by the coast. So we chose the regions of the coastal style of Mexican food, which felt like a very West Australian vibe to me. Also being in Mexico, the terrain reminded me a lot of Western Australia, especially up north. You go to Baja and it feels like you’re up at Gnaraloo, red cliffs, big, deep ocean swells. It’s kind of very rugged, I suppose.”

“We decided to do a restaurant that almost considers West Australia to be a region of Mexico, so trying to be true to the food and the flavors of Mexican cuisine, but using the local ingredients that we have around us.”

And tell us about the drinks.

“So mezcal for me is the king. Obviously tequila is a big thing that everyone knows about, but mezcal is this niche style of drink. Again, every little town, every little region has their own style. The flavors of where the Agave is grown impacts directly the flavor of the Mezcal. So in Mexico, when you have a beer, you always have a Mezcal on the side, you’ll be sipping that. And as you’re going with your different beers, a Mezcal is always next to it, so one or the other. But as a combo, perfection.”

Share some favourite memories about Eagle Bay.

“ Eagle Bay to me again, because we are trying to do this West Australian take on our cuisine and the idea of Mexican food and dining. Eagle Bay to me is being down south in a surf region, I have memories of going down there on surf trips and always going to the brewery after and having a few cold ones.

Tell us about your favourite local go-to’s in your neighbourhood ?

“I think South Fremantle is definitely becoming a bit of a hotspot. You get up in the morning, South Beach for a early swim, there’s a sauna down at the beach, South Beach sauna. Book in there for an hour. That gets you ready to go. Then you go down to Third Wheel for coffee and a little sandwich for breakfast. Then you wander up to our place for Margarita’s and tacos. You’ve got the pub next door for a nice pint of beer. You’ve got Wild in the Street up the road as well, if you want to go for a nice little wood fired treat and a cocktail.”

“So just coming down and spending the whole day here. Then in the end you go down back to the beach again and watch the sunset, maybe some fish and chips. It’s a very quintessential thing to do down here, but I think it’s probably my favorite thing to do if I ever get some time off.”

Tell us what you love and favourite moment’s of La Cabaña

“We pride ourselves in the atmosphere and the feeling you get when you walk into the restaurant. We want it to be very family orientated, very casual and you’re just being looked after from the moment you come in. Again, that for me is Mexican eating. It’s eating around family, it’s eating with friends. It’s not too polished. So we are lucky that we have really amazing staff, that we have a lot of fun while we’re here. We might have a couple of shots of tequila during service. The music’s always up a little bit too loud, but everybody’s bouncing around, everyone’s hopefully really enjoying themselves and that gets rubbed off onto the customers. Then the whole experience as a customer, you walk out of here having really felt and made a connection and had an emotion about what you’ve just been doing”

“La Cabaña opened in late February 2020, and then two weeks later had to close for Covid. We were so high and ready to go and ready to smash this thing, and then that just came out of left field. But over those six months instead of it being a negative thing, the community around us really came and supported us, did all the takeaway things and I think the community that got built from that really kind of gave us some good, strong foundations to become the restaurant that we are today.”

Check out La Cabaña here.

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