17/04/2007 - 22:00

A little bit of Melbourne into the mix at Bar One

17/04/2007 - 22:00


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Lovers of Bar One’s cuisine have some busy Melbourne hairdressers to thank for their good fortune.

A little bit of Melbourne into the mix at Bar One

Lovers of Bar One’s cuisine have some busy Melbourne hairdressers to thank for their good fortune.

The story behind that cryptic clue involves Bar One chef, Tony Garita, who needed a haircut before he took a holiday in Perth way back in 1999.

Mr Garita couldn’t get a booking in Melbourne in the days leading up to his adventure west, but this proved to be an inconvenience well worth it.

Mr Garita fell in love with the Perth hairdresser who trimmed his locks and she with him, so much so that she moved to Melbourne to continue their relationship.

The pair, now married with one son and a daughter on the way, decided to relocate to Perth permanently in 2002.

It’s a move that has paid dividends for Bar One owner Stephen Scaffidi, who recruited Mr Garita in early 2005 to help him develop the venue’s cuisine following the sale of his popular Subiaco restaurant, Altos Bistro, to restaurateur Albasio La Pegna.

“Tony is a fantastic chef,” Mr Scaffidi says. “I’ve managed to achieve a food style with him much quicker than I have been able to do in the past with other chefs.”

Mr Garita took on the job as Bar One head chef after working at Michael de Marte’s Bocca Restaurant in Shafto Lane, and helping establish Rocco Espresso on St George’s Terrace.

Bar One’s menu is split between lunchtime fare featuring wholesome Italian cuisine and an evening tapas menu, which includes Italian nibbling favourites like Arancini balls, carpaccio, and grilled chorizo sausage.

“Since we started doing the tapas the evenings have really started to pick up,” Mr Garita says.

“Friday nights are cranking.

“Everyone comes in after work and is keen to enjoy some wine or a beer, and when they start seeing some food come out, the orders start coming in and we get pretty busy.”

Mr Garita and Mr Scaffidi don’t fiddle with the menu too often, choosing instead to keep a simple specials board that changes every couple of days.

The lunch menu ranges from an aged porterhouse to a duck breast salad, to one of the staples of the former Altos menu, capellini – angel hair pasta, blue manna crab and tomato.

Mr Garita, who was formerly the chef at Melbourne’s Walters Wine Bar, says he learned the finer points of cooking early in his career at The Fenwick Inn Bar and Bistro, also in Melbourne.

“I learnt all the groundwork to make my own stocks and sauces,” Mr Garita says.

“Some people take the shortcuts but you can definitely tell when something has come out of a tin. We do it all from scratch.”

Meanwhile, at Bar One, Mr Scaffidi’s mother, Ada, continues to make the pasta while Mr Scaffidi keeps a detailed eye on the entire business.

“I think you have to have someone there looking at both the kitchen and the service and keeping everyone on their toes,” Mr Garita says.

“The great thing about working with him [Mr Scaffidi] is that we both get Melbourne food and what it’s all about, so I can do the food I want to be doing.”

Bar One, which is located at the bottom of the QV1 building, cooks up breakfast, lunch and evening tapas Monday to Friday.


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