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There’s plenty of activity in Applecross as some familiar names bring a little more choice and flavour to the area, as Julie-anne Sprague reports

UMBERTO Tinelli’s recent move back into Applecross, a new venture by Jerint Jumakool of Thai Corner fame, and ownership changes at several sites have created a hub of activity in that suburb which, according to proprietors, is giving it a growing reputation as a restaurant precinct.

Mr Tinelli, who started up Campo Di Fiori in Kearns Street and now operates West Perth’s Il Principe Gran Cafe, says he decided to head back into Applecross to open Rigoletto after noticing a good site in Sleat Road.

“Every time I drove by this place I thought it would be good because it was a lovely location. One day I noticed it was for sale and I bought it and our first official opening to the public was last Friday night,” he says.

Mr Tinelli, who began Campo Di Fiori in 1993 and sold it in 2000, says growth over the years has created a restaurant strip in Applecross.

“I was the first one to build, with Campo Di Fiori, and there was nothing else, many restaurants opened and it became a strip,” he says.

Having been in the area for some time now at his Canning Highway based Thai Corner, Jerint Jumakool recently opened a curry house and function centre, Newab of Perth, on Ogilvie Road.

There is also renewed activity in other long-running cafe and restaurant sites.

According to Goodwin Mitchell O’Hehir managing director Graham O’Hehir, the cluster effect in Applecross is not unlike the Victoria Park caryard syndrome.

“You get enough critical mass so that everyone goes into Applecross to go to a cafe, it’s the same in Leederville and in Subiaco,” Mr O’Hehir says.

He says one reason behind growth in the area is the maturing office market.

“There is a burgeoning of office workers and offices on Riseley Street and Sleat Road. It is becoming a fashionable office address. The quality of the company’s has increased,” Mr O’Hehir says.

“It has been evolving for three or four years and it is putting pressure on the council in terms of planning; it is under pressure in terms of parking.”

Also noticing a growth in the area is Louis Papineau, operator of Spices Flavours of Asia Grand Café, formally Bella Italia.

Mr Papineau, who purchased the site last June, says he saw a noticeable gap for Asian cuisine.

“We bought it in June last year and closed for five weeks of renovations. The reason we bought it was because there was nothing in the area, or in Perth, that offers the food fair that we wanted to offer,” he says.

“We wanted to position it as Asian and diverse. You will find Malay, Chinese, Indian, and a combination of styles.”

Mr Papineau says choosing to set up in Applecross was based on the restaurant’s location to a growing restaurant precinct.

“I thought that this would add to that. There are so many Mediterranean and Chinese places and I thought it needed an Asian place,” he says.

“The precinct now offers a bit of variety and people can come and try different food. They enjoy variety.”

Piccolo Mondo changed hands three weeks ago, with its new owner German-born South African immigrant Dieter Engler saying he thought the site was good because it was situated in between Perth and Fremantle.

His neighbour, Hans Lang, operates Gala Restaurant with wife Marianne and says when they bought the restaurant (the former Campo Di Fiori) in June they were looking for a suitable spot for their concept.

“We looked at the back part of Subiaco, near Wembley, but we didn’t see anything where we could do a cooking school and a restaurant or do functions. It would have to be purpose built. An agent told us about this place and we had a look,” Mr Lang says.

“We liked Applecross, it’s well located between Fremantle and the city and the clients in the area have a bit of wealth.”

Last June the Bolton family bought Florian’s and, after extensive renovations, relaunched it as Cafe Bolto’s last November.

According to Cafe Bolto’s manager Melissa Bolton, the family chose the cafe because of its location on the corner of Kearns and Riseley Streets.

“It was old and tired and it needed a revamp. We gutted it and it has a very arty look,” Ms Bolton says.

“We are now looking at some external renovations. We want to resurface the ground and put up some screens because it gets quite a strong breeze in the afternoon but we will be keeping it [the renovations] minimal.”

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