10/08/2004 - 22:00

A world of gourmet delights in Subiaco

10/08/2004 - 22:00


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Many Perth chefs and Western Australian foodies will want to check out a new store opening later this month.

A world of gourmet delights in Subiaco

Many Perth chefs and Western Australian foodies will want to check out a new store opening later this month.

Gourmet food purveyor Simon Johnson, renowned for his range of speciality products (from pastas and preserves to cheese and chocolate), is opening his own food store in Subiaco.

His products have been available through restaurants and gourmet delis in Western Australia for a few years and, while that avenue will remain, the new Simon Johnson shop will provide the ultimate gourmet escape.

Kellie Willcock has managed the Simon Johnson brand in WA for the past few years, initially working for Kate Lamont, who was the distributor, before taking on the solo distribution job.

According to Ms Willcock, Mr Johnson has wanted to open a store in WA for some time and she has spent the past two years looking for a suitable site.

She’s found it in the former Wayne Stubbs florist shop at 169 Rokeby Road Subiaco.

“It will be just like our stores on the east coast; it will be set up the same way and it will be full of products we sell as well as the imported products,” Ms Willcock says.

“We will have a cheese room with lots of amazing cheeses in there.”

Ms Willcock says the store is scheduled to open on August 24 and the wholesale business will be operated from the same site.

“We will be operating wholesale from there too and supplying people like Boatshed, Claremont Fresh, and restaurants,” she says. 

Simon Johnson has three stores in Sydney and two in Melbourne. 

Former Little Creatures general manager Miles Hull and chef Clint Nolan (who was most recently a senior chef at Victoria’s Federation Square, which includes a number of restaurants and bars) have purchased North Fremantle restaurant, Harvest. The restaurant was owned by Michael Forde but after persistent badgering by Messrs Hull and Nolan he has sold it.

A poor trading year for C Restaurant in 2001 has caused the current managing director, Phill Clements, to call in the administrators.

According to Mr Clements, even though the past 12 months of trade has been exceptional, the positive change did not come quickly enough.

“I was a minority shareholder in C and was living in Italy [in 2001] and got an emergency call,” Mr Clements says.

At the time, Peter Clements and his father, Ken (no relation to Phill), were majority shareholders.

“There was nothing operationally wrong with the business, it was all financial. The pricing wasn’t done properly and that was a significant problem, Phill Clements says.

“We used to have a normal a la carte pricing with individual prices on everything; now you can have two courses for $63, three courses for $70 or four for $80. It’s not to be confused with a set menu, you can choose anything on the menu.

“It’s made a significant difference to our yield.

“I saw this in London when I was there last August and I know the Loose Box does it and it’s very effective.”

C began making a modest profit in 2003 and the results for the first half of this year show a significant profit, according to Mr Clements.

He anticipates coming out of administration within two weeks.

Kim Strickland at Hall Chadwick was appointed as administrator of Silverbird Nominees Pty Ltd, the entity behind the C name, about a fortnight ago.

Mr Strickland agrees that trading at C Restaurant had been good for the past year and says a deed of company arrangement should be reached with creditors at a meeting next week.

Mr Clements took over as majority shareholder in 2002 when he bought out Ken Clements.

He then set about making substantial changes to its operation.

Mr Clements said the new pricing structure, the launch of breakfasts, and the opening of the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre meant a prosperous future for C Restaurant.

West Perth lounge bar Onyx is renowned for its bar drinks and the mixologists who prepare them.

Now, while the bar aspect remains as popular as ever, a fresh food focus has been incorporated.

Tony Sage bought the venue earlier this year from Davide Bianchi and has recruited Jenness Ray to head up the food operations. Ms Ray has worked at Savoia (now known as Black Tom’s), Panache Gourmet Food and Wine, and Ogilvie and Co.

As the head chef at Onyx Ms Ray has prepared a menu that ranges from light meals like Moroccan spiced chicken skewers and bowls of chilli fries to a dish that anywhere else might seem peculiar – Vodka risotto with seafood. For the more conservative diner traditional items like bangers and mash are on the menu.

And if escaping from the keyboard for more than 10 minutes isn’t an option, Onyx is also offering take-away.


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