THE MANTLE, Fremantle
by JENNY D’ANGER:
The Mantle is a fresh approach to the Fremantle dining scene, an incubator for those wanting to get into the restaurant trade, without the massive cost normally involved in starting up.
Wannabe eateries can sign up for a six-month stay and at the end of the time stay or move on, co-owner Anatoly Mezhov says.
“They can test the water…without having to commit to a five-year lease or put their house on the line.”
Mezhov kicked off Don Tapa in a sea container on Victoria Quay last year, which was an instant success.
A couple of months ago the container moved into the vast warehouse space that is The Mantle, at the corner of Beach and James Streets, and added small bar Alter Ego.
The historic building has been converted into commercial kitchens and art spaces.
Opposite Don Tapa is Magna Pizza, and other kitchens are waiting to be filled, or are being used for pop-up eateries, “[and] there’s a fully fitted out commercial kitchen that can be rented by the hour to prepare food to sell elsewhere,” Mezhov says.
When the Herald dropped in the place was buzzing, a dad was playing ping pong with his kids at the rear of the huge space and happy gnashers were seated at both eateries.
The smell of pizza had us heading to the Magna kitchen where we eventually narrowed our choices.
For the cheese-allergic D’Angerous Dave it was the cassio ($16), with its tomato base topping, onions, black olives, garlic and heavily infused with anchovies.
D’Angerous senior went all Roman with a gladiatore ($20) with its spicy flavours of tomato, mozzarella, potato, spinach and anchovies.
I was drawn to the costantino ($18) one of a handful without a tomato base.
The mozzarella, zucchini, capsicum, egg plant and corn was magnificent without a sauce base, and the rocket really set it off.
We took one look at the massive pizzas and thought we’d be taking some home for dinner but they were so damn good we just kept eating and were surprised to see an empty space and nothing to take away. Not even the crisp but chewy crusts of the delicious base escaped.
Don Tapa had closed for lunch by the time we staggered over, but a group of young women was happy to share their experience saying the white fish ceviche ($18) was fantastic, if a tad unusual with its serving of spiced popcorn.
The pulled pork, palm heart, chilli and pickled black beans ($18) also won the thumbs up, as did the queso blanco, with guava and lime ($15).
If you get your Herald early enough this Friday Jai’s Pie shop is popping up for one night only.
1 James Street Street, Fremantle
open Wed–Fri 5.30–11pm,
Sat & Sun 11am–10pm.
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