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Taking a break after a gastronomically great Easter, Julie-anne Sprague gets down to the serious business of documenting the movements in the city’s restaurant and cafe business.

SO just who has got Campo de Fiori? Clout and Associates can tell us it’s down to two people, with the final assessments being made. Gusto understands Yvette and Duncan Barker bought the restaurant in November 2000 for $700,000 including stock and have sold it for $500,000. Mathew Smith at Clout and Associates determined the loss to be largely due to the deterioration of good will. His advice? Appoint administrators before you have to close the doors.

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The block from Francis to William streets in Northbridge has fallen into a spot of bother. The boys who bought the Silver Dollar Restaurant about 12 months ago didn’t do so well, but the new owner (who Gusto will be talking to soon) says he’ll be just fine. The site opposite Villa Italia, which was only recently refurbished and renamed to Cafe de ja vu is up for lease or sale. Joe Hiddad has owned the site for about six years and says he’s getting out because he needs the cash. The restaurant has had several name changes in that time. He told Gusto the lease for the restaurant was for nine years. Purchasing the site also is an option. It is located on the corner of Aberdeen and William streets in Northbridge. While still trading,Vultures, located on the corner of Francis and William streets has gone into administration.

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Voyager Estate is getting back to its roots. The Voyager Estate Cape Malay Buffet is a menu showcasing the cooking that influenced Cape Town in South Africa. The Dutch brought people from offshore into South Africa, many of them Malay craftsmen. They were instrumental in its architecture, known as Cape Dutch, and on which Voyager Estate has modelled its cellar door building. The other influence Malays had on South African culture was food. Voyager Estate will celebrate what is known as Cape Malay cooking until Sunday April 7. Dishes include tamatie (tomato and lamb stew), kerrievis (soused Augusta Whiting) and Denningvleis (spiced lamb fricasee).

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International guests will join a host of local talent at the WA Wine and Food Forum later this year. Mike Stone from one of New Zealand’s most visited wineries, Gibbston Valley Wines, and principal of Niagara Nature Tours Carla Carlson are among the range of people who will take part in the conference.

The conference will be held at Burswood Resort on May 30 to June 1. For more information visit www.wineandfood.com.au

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The Taste of the Valley festival is under way and, if you are thinking of heading to the Swan Valley in the next few weeks, this event is one worth a look. Called GourmArt with an Aussie Twist at Chapel Farm, the event will surely entertain the ears, the eyes, and the tastebuds – everything a festival should be. The event will be held on Saturday April 13 at 7pm. Chef John Zarb will prepare four gourmet game meats, a buffet of desserts and cheeses plus fire up the barbecue. But this isn’t any old barbie. It has been made by local artist Antonio Battistessa and will be fired up on the evening to cook five seafoods. There will be plenty of music to accompany the food with the band Higher Ground performing on the evening. A selection of Swan Valley wines will be available for purchase. Tickets are $40 per person.

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While Gusto’s David Pike is enjoying the vintage in Margaret River you can get your slice of the action a little closer to home. Sandalford Wines is running a special promotion, Cruise through Vintage, for its vintage season. This half-day tour will give you a hands-on experience of a winery vintage, but with a touch of style. Beginning with an alfresco breakfast, you will have an interactive tour of the operational winery and wine appreciation tasting session. It concludes as you sit back aboard the Miss Sandalford, enjoying port and cheeseboards. The half-day tour and cruise is $59 per person.

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The third Farmers Market takes place in Margaret River this weekend. Held the first Sunday of every month, the initiative of the Margaret River Regional Producers Association has proven successful, says the great Don Hancey.

“We’ve now got 33 suppliers and 55 producers and there are over 200 different food items,” he says.

And tourists and locals are flocking to them, as Don says, because the markets are purely food.

“It’s a four-hour market and people come here to shop. It’s a food market. When you start blending it loses focus. It’s strictly food,” he says.

So if you’re heading down this weekend, be sure to stop in at the Old Hospital Complex in the Margaret River CBD between 8am and 12pm on Sunday. And, as for the effects of the cooler weather and impending rain on the market, Don says the Margaret River Regional Producers Association will convene to decide on the continuation through winter. He said they have been very popular and he would like to see them continue, however it depends on the availability of product and environmental factors. We’ll keep you posted.

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