13/02/2007 - 22:00

Botanical hits the spot

13/02/2007 - 22:00


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Based on recent goings on it would be fair to assume that Chris Taylor had swapped the kitchen to pursue a career as a professional builder-cum-architect.

Botanical hits the spot

Based on recent goings on it would be fair to assume that Chris Taylor had swapped the kitchen to pursue a career as a professional builder-cum-architect.

During the past year, Mr Taylor has rolled up his sleeves and developed The Botanical Café, which sits next door to his iconic Fraser’s Restaurant.

The cafe has been on Mr Taylor’s drawing board for the better part of five years, with redevelopment of the former information kiosk site kicking off last year.

It was no easy task, with the King’s Park visitor information kiosk needing to be shifted in order to accommodate the cafe development.

The new cafe follows another Taylor success story, the redevelopment of a section of the former Heathcote psychiatric hospital to create the popular Bluewater Grill, which opened in 2002.

The renovation work is not entirely over, however, despite the new Botanical Café opening its doors a month ago.

And Mr Taylor has another project on the go – The Indiana Tea House.

Plans are afoot to simplify the venue’s layout, bringing the current four levels to two while also giving it a complete makeover – think lounges, chiffon curtains and something with a classy-yet-casual feel.

“I want it to have a beach house feel but it definitely will not be raj,” Mr Taylor said.

The plans are not yet concrete but Mr Taylor envisages shutting the famous Cottesloe restaurant sometime over winter and relaunching it as The Indiana in time for the warmer weather.

He has already made some changes since acquiring the lease in November. The most noticeable for customers has been price reductions across the menu, with coffees coming down from $4.50 to $3 just one example.

While The Indiana will get a workover, so too will the kiosk that adjoins The Botanical Café, albeit to a much smaller degree. There will be some new cabinets to store the sandwiches and other snack foods, but the business itself will remain focused as a kiosk, selling ice creams and drinks.

The Botanical fills the void between the kiosk and the upmarket Fraser’s. The menu includes a range meals between $11.50 and $25.

The spacious cafe seats up to 120 people across a range of seating options, from standard tables and chairs to banquettes and tree trunks.

The menu is not as structured or as extravagant as that at Fraser’s, but that’s the whole point.

The only obvious similarities between the cafe and Fraser’s are the staff and perhaps the individual boxes that hold the knives and forks for diners, which were crafted using old Tasmanian oak ripped out of Fraser’s function centre.

The Botanical Café is open seven days a week from breakfast to dinner, which means visitors to the idyllic spot can now, for the first time, order a coffee if it is after the lunch-time rush.

The cafe also sells the popular il Gelato brand of Italian gelato as well as its own brand of coffee and wine, although a selection of premium wines from the Fraser’s list is available on request.

Fraser’s is now shut for breakfasts during weekdays but operates a buffet breakfast on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.


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