If you knew Subi ...

MY first memory of eating out in Subiaco was with my parents at the legendary Witches Cauldron. Although most of the evening has been lost in the fogs of time, I vividly recall that everyone at our table had garlic prawns.

The Witches Cauldron is an institution that has managed to survive recessions, the stock market crash, the wave of cafe dinning and the introduction of quality pub grub. While the Witches Cauldron has continued to attract diners years after year, there have been many restaurants and other eating houses, critically acclaimed and otherwise, that have not been able to survive.

What attracts punters to individual dinning venues will always be something of a mystery, but part of the mystique is the cultivation of an atmosphere that inspires confidence and entertainment. Fremantle has it, as does Northbridge, but has Subiaco reached out and grabbed the opportunity to create its own eating out culture?

Last week I was part of a large group of friends that gathered at the Subiaco Hotel for a birthday celebration. It was mid week, yet the Hotel’s restaurant was full and buzzing.

On a return visit the following night the restaurant again was full, with customers waiting for tables as the clock ticked over to 9pm. The Subiaco Hotel has, over the past four or five years, created an atmosphere that encourages people to return.

On most occasions the quality of food has been at a level deserving of the many awards and accolades the Hotel restaurant has received.

The service at times has bordered on comical but, for the most part, the Subi has enjoyed consistent success. The vibe, atmosphere, or whatever you wish to describe it as, at the Subiaco Hotel has set the tone for what is the beginnings of an eating out culture lifestyle.

It might have been the Oriel Cafe in the late eighties that started to generate an environment that began to attract punters into ‘Subi’.

Another Subiaco favourite, Altos Restaurant, continues to set standards and reliability that will ensure Steve Scaffidi and his team survive and prosper. Not everyone enjoys eating at Altos nor does everyone enjoy the Subiaco Hotel or the Witches Cauldron, yet individually each of these restaurants has maintained a consistency that keeps customers coming back through their doors.

Will the latest overhaul of the (now) ‘B’ restaurant, which has been through a number of changes, help it find the ingredients or individuality to gain the success and ensure long-term survival?

Some of Subi’s cafe-style dinning venues have been developing and creating their own style and individuality.

The lively Fantastico, for instance, has the energy, the quality of food, the atmosphere and the staff. Not only is this a popular venue with its customers, it also has brought individuality into Subiaco dining that hadn’t been there before. In other words, it created its own success.

There are many other dinning experiences in central Subiaco that do not have the right ingredients, however. The meals are often lacking in flair and flavour originality.

Eating out is very much up to the individual and everyone will have a different view on each restaurant.

I think that some of the eating houses in and around Subiaco need to take a step back and look from the outside to highlight the changes needed to give the increasing numbers heading into Subiaco choices that offer originality, yet maintain quality and reputation.

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