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It seems King Street is where the action is, and will be for some time to come. Colour, culture and cuisine. The three words Julie-anne Sprague loves to hear.

KING Street newcomers Bien Fine Food and Hudson will add a splash of colour and culture.

Bien Nguyen and Tai Pham have recently bought the lease for the embattled Mezzonine.

Bien says he hopes to open Bien Fine Food in early June after transforming the menu and interior.

“The style of food will be Asian fusion,” he says.

“We want to have simple, different, yet affordable cuisine.”

But the interior won’t be staying simple.

Bien has consulted with an interior designer and says he is looking at several options, including constructing an awning to cover the upstairs section to shelter a proposed martini bar.

“I’m going to change the colour scheme and make it a lot warmer. Dark purples and silver is what I am considering,” Bien says.

While the previous owners experienced a range of problems, Bien is excited about the opportunity.

He is no stranger to Mezzonine, having managed the restaurant for nine months, just after it first opened in 1999. He then travelled to Vietnam for a year before returning to Perth, where he has since accumulated a wealth of hospitality experience. He has worked at Zin n Zen, Frasers and also invested in the East Perth cafe E-Sense.

Dominic Lalor is also making moves in King Street, and will open the art gallery/wine bar/cafe Hudson late this year or early in 2003.

Domenic says he chose the site at 76 King Street because of its heritage.

“I thought the combination of a heritage building with a contemporary art gallery in a cultural precinct would be good for the city,” he says.

“The existing driveway will be roofed-atrium style. The art gallery will be in the driveway and you enter from the driveway into the first floor area, which will be a wine bar and cafe.”

Cox Howlett and Bailey have developed initial plans to cover the driveway and elevate it so that the entrance to the first floor is seamless.

While Dominic is considering the plans he says he will definitely be going ahead with the development of the site, whether it be with Cox Howlett and Bailey or another bidder.

“There’s no way I won’t do it. I’ve put too much time and effort in,” Dominic says.

But he does confess to not rushing into the development.

“King Street is turning for the better and I want to enter at the right time,” Dominic says.

“I’m being patient but will look at opening next summer.”

And patience and creating success is a trait for which Dominic’s family is renowned. His dad and uncle started the gold mining giant, Sons of Gwalia. Since its inception in 1982 the company has finished every financial year with a net profit.

“I’ve always enjoyed art and my family has been heavily involved with art and architecture. I wanted to do something that would blend my interests,” Dominic says.

He has obtained a special facility licence and says he will focus on Australian wines.

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If you haven’t been to the Luxe Bar for a superb cocktail whipped up by bar ace Jonna Roberman you’re simply out of the loop. Friday nights are the busiest but the bar is open Wednesday to Sunday from 6pm with plenty of sexy tunes. Thursday is celebrity DJ night. 94.5 morning man Fred Botica and Magenta’s Melissa Lekias are among some of those spinning the discs. Coming up next week is Liz Carberry from Carberry Modelling Agency (now Chadwick Management) and the Brand Agency’s Dale Simmonds On May 9, Greenhill Galleries’ Paul Swain and Forrest Means-wear’s Dean Brescacian will have a licence to mix it up. But this bar is not just an after-work leisure temple. Situated among some of the best dining in town (Jackson’s, Must Wine Bar, the Queens) Luxe makes an ideal drinks pitstop – especially of the cocktail variety, which are priced between $9.50-$13.50. Luxe Bar is situated at 446 Beaufort Street Highgate.

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Bruce Stewart has left his post at Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group and is now the restaurant manager at Frasers. Bruce has extensive hospitality experience, particularly regarding wine stocks. He has managed ALH group’s wine bar, Grapskin, and most recently was the group’s WA retail operations manager for wine. And he’s no stranger to Frasers owner Chris Taylor. Bruce worked with Chris many years ago at Rendezvous Observation City. He also has worked for Stephen Scaffidi at Altos, which was an interesting turn of events. Bruce was Steve’s boss when they worked together in Melbourne at Walters Wine Bar.

And where has Bruce’s predecessor gone? Stuart Burling has left for London.

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While visiting the wineries of the Swan Valley or Margaret River is a nice experience, it’s also quite good when they come to you. The first WA Fine Wine event will take place at Forrest Place on May 9 and 10. Two sessions will be open to the public and professional wine tasting classes will be held by the Wine Education Centre, along with introductory wine appreciation classes and riesling and cabernet sauvignon master classes. Entry during the day period (noon until 3pm) is $15 and night entry (4pm-9pm) is $25. An introductory class beginning on the hour from 5pm to 7pm is $35. For more information call the Wine Industry Association of WA or visit www.winewa.asn.au

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While I like the look of Frankland River Olive Oil Company’s range of Jingilli Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the bottle, Must Wine Bar chef Russell Blaikie prefers his on a seafood risotto. According to Russell, the Frantoio variety is the all-rounder of olive oils.

“Use the Frantoio as a dressing, drizzle on cooked meats such as veal or chicken, or drizzle over a seafood risotto,” Russell says.

Jingilli is available in three varieties – Frantoio, Leccino, and Tuscan Blend – and Herdsman Fresh has just decided to stock it. You can also get the beautiful slender bottles at various gourmet outlets, including Food Sense, New Norcia Bakeries, and Claremont Fresh. If you’re looking for a perfect recipe, visit www.froc. com.au

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Cullen Wines will be teaming up with The Globe’s Cheong Liew for a wine dinner not to be missed. Cheong Liew and Vanya Cullen will create a night of fine food and wine and provide some rare opportunities.

If you attend the function on May 8 you will be among the first to try the new 2001 Cullen “Mangan” Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot. You’ll also get to enjoy Cheong’s signature dish, sitting duck.

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Elements Restaurant is celebrating 12 months of operation on Saturday May 4.

A magical night of fine food and wine is in store for guests. Andreas Supper and Henriette Schijf would love to see you there. Complimentary parking is available and tickets for the event are $100 per person.

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A course examining the critical effects of zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, iron, copper, estrogen dominance and politics on your family health will take place next month.

Dr Igor Tabrizian will provide insight in a seminar called Nutritional Medicine: Fact and Fiction, which also is the title of his book.

Cost is $97, which includes a copy of Dr Tabrizian’s book. The seminar runs on May 1, 8, 15, 22 from 7.30-9pm.

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