THE MANTLE is a flurry of activity.
There are sugar-high kids bouncing around the ice cream bar, parents with prams negotiating tight walkways and kitchen staff rushing to finish orders.
Wandering around this restaurant hub in the East End of Freo, you’re hit with enticing smells billowing from the boutique eateries that make up the warm, intimately-lit space.
Don Tapas, Magna Pizza, Short Order Burger Co and Stampede Gelato were all run off their feet on the night we popped in.
The menu at Short Order Burger Co is simple, which is convenient for a down-to-earth fella like me.
I can never understand why they print obscenities on a menu and quickly skimmed over the vegetarian burger ($13.50).
I have no tolerance for an average burger—I want it so big my jaw aches.
In fact, I want a fat juicy burgerasauras oozing with rich gooey cheese and most importantly, during these austere times, I want it fairly priced.
Short Order Burger Co ticks all the boxes.
My cheeseburger ($11.50) was a thing of beauty.
Of course I supersized it to include another patty ($2.50) and I also added the sweet, smokey maple glazed bacon ($3.50).
Kylie’s chicken burger ($15) was equally impressive and featured a plump deep-fried chicken breast, American cheddar, lettuce and tomato with Sriracha, a chilli sauce that contains distilled vinegar and garlic and originates from Thailand.
The chook burger is so good it will make you wonder why you’ve been worshipping Colonel Sanders all these years.
There was only one, very minor downside to our meal, but I feel like it’s worth mentioning: french fries cool quicker than their thick-cut counterparts and Short Order’s fries ($6) were cold.
Nonetheless, there were lots of them and the Sriracha mayo was a delicious accompaniment.
My three-year-old son Ollie, had eyes for Magna’s wood fired pizza and understandably could only describe his Hawaiian as “awesome”; so I asked Magna regular Lindsay, who works at the Herald, for his take.
“I always order the Nerone ($20),” he said.
“I’ve never been disappointed: the fresh tomatoey base is the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy. I’m a sucker for spice, so this pizza is always my go-to, with a generous cover of mozzarella and plenty of hot salami and fresh chilli.”
Don’t think we’ve forgotten you, Don Tapas. You’re next on our hitlist.
by MATTHEW EELES
1 James Street, Fremantle