Bringing a new flavour to the city

26/03/2008 - 22:00

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Northbridge is building on its reputation for providing authentic, well-priced international cuisine, with a new breed of eateries bringing a fresh flavour to the area, largely in response to the wider demographic changes occurring just outside of the mai

Bringing a new flavour to the city

Northbridge is building on its reputation for providing authentic, well-priced international cuisine, with a new breed of eateries bringing a fresh flavour to the area, largely in response to the wider demographic changes occurring just outside of the main entertainment precinct.

At the top end of Northbridge, in the unofficial ‘Chinatown’ district, a number of boutique and critically acclaimed restaurants, such as The Red Teapot and Lido Vietnamese Cuisine, have helped lift the profile of the Northbridge dining experience.

Sacha and Shelly Grewal opened their restaurant, Mela Indian Sweets and Eats, two years ago, and are currently working on expanding their premises into the adjacent property.

The restaurant seats about 120 people, and expanding into building next door will allow it to cater for an additional 120 people for functions or overflow from the restaurant.

They are also looking to establish a bar in the front half of the new venue.

The Grewal family is an institution in Indian cuisine in Perth, starting Maya Masala in Northbridge, Chutney Mary’s in Subiaco, Nine Mary’s in Perth, and the Cinnamon Club in Leederville.

The Grewals have also lived in the area for the past six years, and have witnessed a change in the demographic of residents in the area.

“We have seen a massive change in that end of town,” Mrs Grewal said.

“There are a lot of young families there would value the food we’re providing, which is basically homestyle Indian food.” She said the experience of running Mela at the opposite end of Northbridge to her family’s former restaurant, Maya Masala, on James Street, has been very different.

Window breakages, for example, are non-existent in the new location, according to Mrs Grewal.

“We opened near Brisbane Street to get away from the pubs and negative aspects of Northbridge.

It’s also close to Prime Products, an Indian supermarket,” Mrs Grewal said.

“We didn’t know what to expect.

But we have been pleasantly surprised.” Nearby, at Café Mozart, owner Jenny Shen believes the area has grown in popularity significantly with both Asian and non-Asian clientele since she first moved in nine years ago.

“Western people know that on William Street you can buy good Chinese food.

They also love the dim sum,” Ms Shen said.

“Before, not many people came through.

But now, on Saturdays and Sundays, the streets are full of people.” She said the general amenity of the area had also improved after the relocation of some less respectable businesses, such as massage parlours.

Among the newest additions to the area, Northbridge restaurateur Maggie Cai, owner of the Dragon Seafood Chinese Restaurant on James Street, is about to launch her second restaurant in the striking, long-abandoned premises on 66 Francis Street.

Ms Cai said she bought the property a year ago, and had spent the past six months conducting extensive renovations on the interior, to transform it into the two level Dragon Palace Chinese restaurant.

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