26/04/2005 - 22:00

Family values work at Borsalino’s

26/04/2005 - 22:00


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One of Nedlands’ best-kept secrets will reach a milestone next week when Italian restaurant Borsalino’s celebrates seven years in the game.

Family values work at Borsalino’s

One of Nedlands’ best-kept secrets will reach a milestone next week when Italian restaurant Borsalino’s celebrates seven years in the game.

At the same time, its enigmatic owner and maitre d, Michael Golubovic, will notch up 30 years in the hospitality trade.

Competition in Perth’s restaurant and catering industries is tough, with a steady stream of cafe and restaurant closures throughout the city and suburbs indicating saturation point has been reached in some locations. In such a market even the international chains find it difficult to penetrate an already oversupplied market.

Yet places like Borsalino’s on Hampden Road have bucked this trend, something Mr Golubovic contributes to family values and hard work

Many of Perth’s longest serving restaurants are family owned and operated, a fact not lost on the team at Borsalino’s.

“We take a family approach to cooking,” Mr Golubovic says.

His brother-in-law was the former head chef and also trained the man currently in charge, Darko, Mr Golubovic’s son.

“We believe that the small things are the biggest things in cooking,” Mr Golubovic says.

 “The most important factor is quality, though. We will never compromise on it. Prices for the produce we buy may go up but for us, it is important to maintain our high standards.

“Darko understands the level of quality we demand. He has brought a synchronised system of service to the kitchen.”

Darko Golubovic agrees that, while the familial bonds have been important to the success of the restaurant, he has worked on establishing his own style in the kitchen.

“Each chef has a different approach,” he says. “They can be trained in the same techniques but each one will find a way of expressing themselves differently. That is what I’m trying to do”.

Michael Golubovic says that the key to being successful “is expressing your uniqueness”.

Believing that too many restaurants don’t offer their customers something special, Mr Golubovic says he created a gourmet menu that has become Borsalino’s signature.

 “You will never do something other than this, better than the rest. You must focus on what you are the best at,” he says. “For me, this is the gourmet menu.”

Unlike traditional set menus, the gourmet offering at Borsalino’s focuses on flexibility. Mr Golubovic begins by subtly investigating what his patrons want, then tailors the menu to suit their needs.

 “It is quite conceivable to have six different gourmet menus running at once, each comprising of an average of five courses,” he says, adding that this is the best way to sample the Borsalino’s experience.

This ability to understand what the client wants before they do seems to be the very essence of hospitality. And so good is Mr Golubovic at his craft that he says the vast majority of his patrons opt for the gourmet menu.  But it is a skill not learned overnight.

“It looks easy from afar, but it is far from easy” he says. “It is a complex thing to take the trust of a customer. Our repeat business is an indication that they are satisfied.

 “The last thing I want to do is ‘sell’ something to customers. I just inform them of what they can have and try to fit it to what they want.”

Mr Golubovic says eating at his restaurant is a chance for people to indulge themselves.

“It is a philosophy of giving when customers leave themselves in my hands. When you give people more than they are expecting, how can you go wrong.”


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