06/08/2008 - 22:00

Double take at Shafto cafe

06/08/2008 - 22:00


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Cultural think tank Form has been working to develop Perth's laneways for about a year, spawning awareness programs that have included a number of arts installations in the CBD.

Double take at Shafto cafe
QUALITY PUSH: Thomas Randolph has a focus on fresh food made on site at his new venture, Entendre, in Shafto Lane.

Cultural think tank Form has been working to develop Perth's laneways for about a year, spawning awareness programs that have included a number of arts installations in the CBD.

And the hospitality sector seems to have embraced the idea, with several local entrepreneurs having identified unique, hidden venues to actualise a trend largely inspired by the vibrant Melbourne bar scene.

The cafe Tiger, Tiger in the Murray Mews, Alda's in Wolfe Lane, and even the Andaluz Bar project in the short one-way Howard Street, off St Georges Terrace are all creative offerings on the way to becoming new social meeting hubs.

The latest venture to make its mark in the laneway activation crusade is Entendre, located at 38 Shafto Lane.

Entendre is not activating an empty laneway as such but rather re-activating the good old Shafto Lane by giving what was formerly an organic cafe a fresh feel with an urban facelift.

Thomas Randolph took over the cafe last December, hoping to turn it into a buzzing cafe where people could have a quick lunch in a friendly atmosphere.

Although Shafto Lane was one of the first laneways to attract commercial activity in Perth, it seems to have failed to create an identity. Current tenants include a couple of Asian cafe chains, Taka and the Seoul BBQ Café, a pub, and a casual Italian cafe, Bocca.

Mr Randolph says he managed to get a good lease deal for Entendre, allowing him to spend about $100,000 on renovations six weeks ago.

The cafe has a warm atmosphere and has retained the large alfresco area. Mr Randolph added a lounge area and half of the seatings feature long, high tables with stools.

It has an open kitchen that showcases Mr Randolph's vision of making everything fresh on premises.

And with a French pastry chef making the cakes every day, a stopover for breakfast might become a must for those working in the area.

Mr Randolph says he wanted to give a completely different feel to the venue, which he believes had become too focused on its organic tag rather than having fresh food made on site.

"We gradually changed the concept; a lot of the food was pre-prepared and I don't believe in that, so we stopped all those supplies and we now make everything on site," he told Gusto.

"We redesigned the concept by focusing on quality rather than on tags."

But fresh food doesn't mean customers will have to wait longer.

Mr Randolph says that, because Entendre caters for an inner-city business crowd, the food has to be on the table in five to 10 minutes.

"We make sure that people can come in, order their lunch and don't have to rush to eat it, the customers have to have their food in 10 minutes maximum, everything is about efficiency in a fun environment," he says.

"We seem to be successful with that; there is a bit of a bottleneck when people order but the food comes out very quickly."

The decision to take the focus off the organic side of the business doesn't mean Mr Randolph isn't interested in using ethical produce.

He uses West Perth-based coffee roaster Fiori's Honduran espresso blend, which he says is bought by Fiori directly from the producers.

Entendre has a BYO licence and Mr Randolph says he will look into getting a liquor licence in the future, along with developing a tapas menu.

Entendre is open from Monday to Friday from 6.30 am to 4pm and seats 60.



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