Amongst the festive magic and mayhem, Freo scored an extra gift just before Christmas: the arrival of Goldbird – which we’d happily take over a shiny new present under the tree.
The venture is the latest from Short Order founder Simon Kony. Chatting in the unfinished restaurant amongst stacked chairs and the clammer of tools, his pre-opening nerves are offset but a quiet, understated confidence in the product.
“We’ve definitely levelled up with our chicken here,” he tells us. “We think it’s amazing, I really hope you guys do as well.”
Short Order is coming up to its eighth birthday as one of Perth’s premier burger spots – and one of the forebears of the American style that now dominates the meat-between-buns landscape. While their classic beef options are always tempting, their fried chicken burgers have also been gaining a reputation as some of the best in town.
“It was about two years before we started to put chicken into the menu. We ran a special called the FNZ Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, and it was incredibly popular – so much so that we had to put it on the menu permanently.”
The fried chicken concept was first considered six years ago when Short Order was still based at the Mantle (now Sunshine Harvester Works), but never eventuated – the success of the Nashville hot chicken sandwich prompted a revisiting of the idea, which was cemented by the location becoming available.
While Short Order’s proven quality is certainly a drawcard to visit Goldbird, Simon’s also keen to let the restaurant speak for itself.
“I’m trying to avoid associating it too much with Short Order, I kind of want to create it on its own merit. I don’t want them to be sisters, I want them to be cousins, so that there’s still a bit of distance.”
With a huge dose of ’70s and ’80s nostalgia, Goldbird will be serving up, broadly speaking, a retro-infused take on Nashville hot chicken. Crisp, fried chicken tenders have been developed from the Short Order recipe, with a long brine time creating juicy tenderness.
“You’ll be able to choose your level of heat, heaps of sides, heaps of salads, a couple of desserts, a few weird milkshakes – a real sort of nod to ‘70s and ’80s home cooking in a way.”
“It’s really going to be a nod to that era. Being in my early 40s, it’s bringing back a lot of memories of the ’80s. I’m hoping that the service is the same, real homely, getting to know customers.”
As well as the aforementioned “weird” milkshakes, Goldbird will be BYO – so you can duck over the road to the brand new Wise Child Wine Store Market Street store for a bottle of something to wash it down.
“Let us do the food, you bring the wine!” he laughs.
“I’m really excited about doing some plant-based stuff as well, I feel like that’s really important. And trying to get our chicken as gluten free as possible – we’re working on being able to cater for gluten free. We’re going to be working with a plant-based company very closely… I just want to be able to offer the same experience for anybody, that’s what we’re working on.”
Fittingly with the rest of the vibe, sides and desserts have a similarly nostalgic melange of influences: Women’s Day and Women’s Weekly cookbooks, childhood fast food memories and family recipes.
“I just really wanted to lean into that, that whole family cooking, give the kitchen a break, let us do the dishes – that kind of old-school advertising.”
“There’s going to be a couple of salads, coleslaw – we’ve worked on an incredibly nostalgic coleslaw! Incredibly. So close to exactly what you think it might be, without mentioning anything!”
“There will be sides and desserts that I grew up with, that lean into that Hungarian-Jewish pastime. My Dad used to make cakes – there’ll be a cake, or a pancake, or babka, or some Israeli sweets as well. I’m not going to lean too far into it, but it’s definitely going to make an appearance here and there.”
“We’re just going to run this as lo-fi, pop-up-y as I can – I’ve put a bit more into it than I thought I would for a pop-up style place, but I think it’s going to be awesome.”
“We want the chicken to be the star of the show, but everything else that we’ve done for the sides, and the desserts, is equally as important. And we’ve spent equal amounts of time on it, too. I’m hoping that everything’s good! So far, we think everything’s incredible, and I think they all really work well on their own and hopefully together as well.
That’s really all I really want to do, is cook really good food, and hope that people love it.”
Goldbird is located at 3 Cantonment Street, Fremantle.
Image Credit: Gina Boylan