31/07/2007 - 22:00

Bradley's a tale of two hemispheres

31/07/2007 - 22:00


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About 18 months ago, British couple Michelle and Pierce Bradley took a river cruise during a holiday in Perth. It was an afternoon adventure that left an indelible and captivating impression of the tranquillity of Claisebrook Cove.

Bradley's a tale of two hemispheres

About 18 months ago, British couple Michelle and Pierce Bradley took a river cruise during a holiday in Perth. It was an afternoon adventure that left an indelible and captivating impression of the tranquillity of Claisebrook Cove.

So moving was the experience that, when the couple spotted a for-sale sign on one of the restaurants on the boardwalk, they promptly made enquiries.

They bought the business the next day, then returned home to pack up their lives in Hertfordshire near London and start anew in Perth.

It has been a year this week since the pair opened the doors of Bradley’s, following a few months spent renovating the restaurant and flying between Perth and England to properly pack up their lives for the big journey to Western Australia.

“This location here is beautiful,” Mrs Bradley says.

The business was formerly an Indian restaurant underneath The Sebel and close to the Royal Bar and Brasserie on the boardwalk off Royal Street.

They set about painting over the bright orange walls, installing a new kitchen and buying new tables and chairs.

The restaurant’s old plastic chairs are now used in its alfresco area, while big and comfortable leather chairs, and linen-lined tables, adorn the interior.

Mr Bradley, an Irishman, heads up the kitchen and has designed the menu, which includes some hearty dishes that are starting to create a bit of chatter among some foodies in Perth.

The slow-roasted half shoulder of lamb, which is cooked for about five hours and served with roast potatoes and a redcurrant and rosemary sauce, is particularly popular.

The menu also includes a fillet of beef wrapped in a pate and bacon puff pastry, duck breast with parsnip puree, and a pork rib cutlet with crackling, mashed potato, braised red cabbage with a cider jus.

The main meals are priced at about $30.

The venue is also open for lunch and offers some lighter options, including gourmet ciabatta rolls as well as the main fare.

And while the restaurant looks nothing like an English pub restaurant, the pair has remained true to their heritage by putting the traditional Sunday roast on the menu.

The menu and the service at Bradley’s has caught the attention of the Gold Plate judges, who have nominated the venue for three award categories – best new restaurant, best licensed casual dining and excellence in health.

It’s praise that has been welcomed by Mr and Mrs Bradley, who have found some frustrations in their transition from England to Australia.

The pair had spent six years owning and operating a pub restaurant in English town of Hertfordshire after years working throughout the UK in pubs and restaurants.

“We wanted a change of scenery,” Mr Bradley says.

“We have been in this industry for 15 years and we had worked all over the UK. We’d worked in Oxfordshire, Surrey, and London.”

Coming from a country that simply gets on with things during wet, wild winter weather, the Bradleys’ biggest shock has been the downturn in trade during the winter months in Perth.

“It slowed down in winter [in the UK] but it never got really quiet, not even if it was snowing,” Mrs Bradley says.

But as they continue to work hard in the business, word has begun to spread about the food and service on offer, with Bradley’s taking more corporate bookings for parties and special dinners.

Yet, while word is spreading about this new eatery, the couple will consider closing during lunchtime service unless trade picks up in the coming months.

They’re also looking forward to summer when their massive alfresco area, which can accommodate up to 70 people, will hopefully be filled with diners.

The Bradleys, who are currently applying for a liquor-without-a-meal permit, admit the state’s new liquor licensing laws have proved frustrating.

The pair began working on their application for the permit when the liquor laws were changed in May.

“We have found the bureaucracy very hard,” Mr Bradley says.

“Perth wants to lose this dullsville tag but it has cost me $2,000 already to try and get this new permit.”

Mr Bradley says dealing with two government agencies and a liquor licensing authority is challenging.

“Everything is made so difficult; it is a very long-winded process and all we want is for people to be able to sit out here and have a glass of wine, which is what the laws were passed to do,” he says.


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