Quirky cafe 

IF I had strayed too close to that lost radioactive capsule would I have acquired superhero powers like Hulk or Spidey?

Hailing from Glasgow, I imagine my superhero power would be shooting batter mix out of my eyes and deep-frying villains, then eating them in an ironic twist. I could have been “Heart Attack Man”.

My wife Special K told me to stop being ridiculous and keep my eyes on the road as I drove the family to Sealanes Cafe for dinner.

I thought my Glaswegian spidey senses had detected every fish and chip shop in Greater Fremantle, but somehow this one, almost on the Chook’s doorstep, had eluded me.

Situated in South Fremantle, Sealanes has been operating since 1922, establishing a reputation for supplying good quality seafood to businesses across WA.

They also have an on-site “seafood market”, where the general public can shop, and a small cafe on the Marine Terrace-side.

Cafe is probably being a bit generous – it’s really a cabin where you place your order and a hole in the wall where you collect your order. 

There is a small paved area with a few tables and chairs, which have seen better days, and some seats facing out towards the sea, but it’s really geared up for takeaway.

A lot of people were sitting on the grassy bank in front of the cafe, eating their meal or waiting for their number to be called, while others took their food to South Beach foreshore across the road.

The menu had a small range of fish including spanish mackerel, snapper and whiting; seafood like scallops, prawns and squid, and more modern fare like fish and prawn tacos, a spicy fish burger and even a mushroom burger. 

There were some good value packs including a share platter with three grilled mackerel fillets, six grilled prawns, six salt and pepper squid, two scallops, chips and salad ($46).

I had been to Sealanes Cafe before and got the fish tacos (two for $14.50), which were really nice with a lovely topping of coleslaw, pickled radish, coriander and tartare, and the fish burger ($14.50) is a good option if you want something quick and easy to eat.

But tonight we decided to go traditional with fish and chips – the true test of any chip shop’s mettle.

My Spanish mackerel and chips ($20) came in a cardboard box with two fillets of fish, chips and a generous tub of tartare sauce. There was a little table with salt and vinegar where you could help yourself.

The fillets were a decent size and had a nice, ever-so-slightly sweet flavour. 

I am a bit wary of mackerel as it can be overpoweringly “fishy” and a bit oily if not done right, but these were spot on and didn’t leave me smelling like Captain Birdseye with a hangover.

Spanish mackerel is known to be a good fish to BBQ, especially popular in Asia, and it’s a good choice to use in tacos, but I reckon it’s pretty tasty fried on its own.

The chips were okay – not the best I’ve had, not the worst – and could have done with a bit longer in the fryer or multiple fries to get them really crispy.

Slightly higher up the grassy bank, perched beneath a large triffid-like plant, my wife was enjoying her two fillets of snapper and chips ($22).

“The fish has a nice texture and plenty of flavour, and the batter is not thick or greasy,” she said.

The portion size for the kid’s fish and chips ($9.50) was spot on and it came with a complementary tub of ketchup.

They ate it all no problem and were full afterwards (normally they leave lots of food).

As the sun set and the mozzies descended, it was time to head back up the road.

Our fish and chips were good, but not amazing, and I preferred the tacos and burgers. It feels like Sealanes Cafe has untapped potential and they could improve their outdoor area and make more of their prime location near the beach.

Sealanes Cafe
178 Marine Terrace, South Fremantle


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