30/01/2007 - 22:00

Evolution of perfection at Eminem

30/01/2007 - 22:00

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Ismail (Ish) Tosun doesn’t want to have another year like 2006.

Evolution of perfection at Eminem

Ismail (Ish) Tosun doesn’t want to have another year like 2006.

For the first three months of last year, Mr Tosun was bunkered down in the old Happy Buddha Chinese Restaurant in Nedlands, spending his days creating a new, larger Eminem Turkish restaurant. He spent most nights there, too, pouring more sweat and tears into his big project.

And what a project it is.

The new Eminem may be more than double the size of its Leederville predecessor, but there are plenty of similarities to the popular venue off Oxford Street. For one, despite seat numbers more than doubling, it’s still hard to get a booking on short notice.

Mr Tosun did just about all of the renovations himself, including the tiling, and had friends provide assistance – one friend created the impressive artwork that covers the length of a wall in the restaurant’s courtyard.

Eminem opened in Nedlands to great acclaim in March last year and Mr Tosun was run off his feet keeping pace with the extra bellies to feed, not to mention the fact that his wife had recently given birth to their second daughter.

Mr Tosun seemed to have it all – a beautiful new restaurant and a gorgeous baby girl.

But he shocked food fans across Perth by closing the restaurant at the end of October, only to have them breathe a huge sigh of relief when it re-opened a fortnight later.

Mr Tosun says family reasons were behind the closure.

He admits that being a husband, father and a restaurateur is a difficult juggling act.

Mr Tosun is a breed of chef who has to be in the kitchen all the time.

“I can’t be comfortable at home if someone else is running my restaurant,” he says. “I like to be the best at what I do and to do that I have to be here doing it.”

And he misses being able to spend time on the restaurant floor chatting with his regulars, but he realises that he’s being kept back in the kitchen because he has so many more of them.

“I don’t get to see them so much anymore because I don’t get the chance,” he says. “That has been the biggest downfall.”

Mr Tosun plans to consolidate this year.

“Last year was a very difficult one,” he says. “Everything happened to me. We had no income for eight months, I had a baby girl and it was very stressful. I would like to think this year is my year and I want the restaurant to be faultless; I want the service running smoothly and the food to always be good, and no hiccups.

“As much as people tell me it is great, I am not satisfied until I think it is.”

While Mr Tosun has more plans for the restaurant’s aesthetic appeal, perhaps the biggest change for diners this year will be the implementation of a new a la carte menu.

Since its move to Nedlands, Eminem only offered guests a set menu, a mezze of Turkish treats at $60 per person.

Mr Tosun will design an al a carte menu in the next month or two. He also plans to add a roof to the courtyard and put in a long dining table.

Mr Tosun is proud of what he has achieved, designing and renovating the restaurant with no input from interior designers.

If anything, he regrets listening to advice from those in the industry and many of his customers about the overall project.

“I would listen to them again but I would do it my way,” Mr Tosun says. “Everyone said to open something bigger and put on the wine list, but then the costs are just as much; we have high overheads and I have to pay more staff. But if I didn’t do this I wouldn’t have known what I do now; it’s very easy to look back.”

Eminem is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner and lunch on Fridays.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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