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Could David Bianchi’s West Perth restaurant Savoia be a takeover target for industry heavyweight Warren Mead? Julie-anne Sprague investigates.

COULD West Perth have a new Oyster Bar? Industry sources suggest Warren Mead is a keen contender to purchase David Bianchi’s West Perth restaurant Savoia. Mr Mead purchased LinQ Restaurant last year and set about exercising a rebranding strategy for it and his Mosman Park restaurant Mead’s.  The two restaurants are now known as The Oyster Bar at Linq and The Oyster Bar at Mead’s. So could it be The Oyster Bar at Savoia? Savoia manager Michelangelo Svrznjak (Mick) strongly denied that the West Perth restaurant had been sold.

“If I had a dollar for every time somebody said that I’d be a rich man. It’s not sold and it won’t be sold until sig-natures are on the dotted line. As soon as it is, which it’s not, the whole of West Perth will know in 24 hours,” he said.

Mr Mead was unavailable for comment.

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When two boxes, adorned with pink and orange Cake Box ribbons arrive at WA Business News’ reception desk (with instructions for them to be given to the food writer) it is fair to say that there is a little commotion from the sweet tooths in the office. Everyone wanted a peek and, well, when the boxes were opened and the cakes presented, there was little chance that said food writer was going to get those cakes home. But, then again, cutting up two cakes sent courtesy of Cake Box makes for good market research. There were two varieties received in the office – vanilla-bean raspberry ripple and lemon poppy sensation – the latest editions to the Cake Box range. Most people in the office took a piece of the raspberry cake first but it was most likely because the toffee wedges on the lemon cake may have looked too grandiose for first thing in the morning. Both cakes disappeared rather quickly and the WA Business News team has never been more grateful that the reception area is some distance from the food writer.

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Sassellas Bar and Bistro head chef David Hope said he believed word of the refurbished pub had finally reached many a CBD office worker.

Mr Hope said there had been an increase in trade in the past few months and it had put pressure on his kitchen to produce more quickly-cooked pub meals.

Mr Hope has been with the Sassellas team for four and a half years and said cooking for the Carillon City-based bistro could be more demanding than working in the kitchens of some well-known restaurants (he has worked at the Witch’s Cauldron, The Blue Duck, and The Essex in Freo).

While the refurbishment of the three-decade-old tavern took place nearly a year ago it seems word is finally out that good, quick pub grub is available in the CBD.

“It was a change coming down to comfort food and it’s much harder to produce cheap, quality food in the time frame that we do,” Mr Hope said. “We cook the meals here in ten minutes and we have an open kitchen so you are under the eye of the customer and they are quick to notice if you do something wrong.”

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Coffee connoisseurs seeking out the world’s finest coffee blends will most surely have to keep their eye on parcels of coffee that grace the cupboards of a new coffee shop in Como.  Just Espresso opened last weekend and proprietor Denise Boog said she believed the store was the first “fair trade speciality shop” in Perth and was selling the best drops of coffee from around the globe.

“We use Cup of Excellence coffees which are considered the best a country has to offer for that year as judged by a panel of international coffee experts,” she said. “Our current blend includes the number one ranked coffee from Guatemala in 2002, a lot compris-ing only 21 bags which sold for a world record price of more than 40-times the average.

Ms Boog said paying good prices is what a “fair trade shop” is.

“We are committed to equitable purchasing practices that reflect the true cost of growing coffee,” she said.

“At the same time the ‘better price for better quality’ policy directly rewards growers and guarantees a superior tasting coffee.”

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