19/06/2007 - 22:00

International flavour at 1907

19/06/2007 - 22:00

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Behind the elegant façade of a 100-year-old building on Queen Street in the heart of Perth lies an exciting and exhaustive renovation that, when complete, will be home to a fine dining restaurant with all the trappings.

International flavour at 1907

Behind the elegant façade of a 100-year-old building on Queen Street in the heart of Perth lies an exciting and exhaustive renovation that, when complete, will be home to a fine dining restaurant with all the trappings.

The restaurant is being developed by South African chef Graeme Shapiro, who moved to Perth about 18 months ago, leaving behind the restaurant he founded in Cape Town, called The Restaurant.

The Restaurant won many awards and accolades and Mr Shapiro’s culinary prowess became known across the globe – he featured in celebrity TV shows A taste of the Cape with Brian Turner and Off The Menu with Ainsley Harriott.

Mr Shapiro left behind his high-profile restaurant in search of a safer city to bring up his children.

He chose Perth, which he had visited previously and which was also the city his brother already called home.

Mr Shapiro hopes to open the new restaurant in September under the name 1907, which simply comes from the numerals adorning the very top of the Queen Street building and, it is also the year the building was established.

The internal renovation is massive.

The interior of the first floor of the building has been gutted to make way for red carpet, black velvet chairs, tables dressed with linen and some Italian chandeliers.

New toilets have to be built as well as a bar and a row of banquette seating.

Mr Shapiro has been assisted by Gabbi McAullay from McAullay Design on everything from the carpets to menu holders.

The entrance is also a work in progress.

Rather than guests entering from the main street, Mr Shapiro has opted for a more Melbournian entrance – the alleyway next door.

Stairs will take guests to level one, while downstairs in the basement there are plans for a cocktail bar.

Mr Shapiro says he’ll be doing exactly what he did when he established The Restaurant about a decade ago – focus on serving up the finest food.

“I didn’t open that restaurant for the accolades, it was to put the best food possible on the plate,” he says.

Mr Shapiro is a member of La Chaine des Rotisseurs, which is a foodie club made up of passionate food lovers and industry professionals.

Mr Shapiro says La Chaine has provided him, a relative newcomer to Perth, with an invaluable network.

He was a member of the association in Cape Town and made contact with the local Perth group when he moved to WA.

“I went to one of their dinners and got introduced to everyone,” Mr Shapiro says.

“It’s been great to be able to ring Michael Tamburi from La Vigna and ask him for wine contacts, or to be able to ask someone where they get their linen from because the stuff I’ve been sent isn’t that good,” Mr Shapiro says.

“It has been better for me here in Australia for networking than it ever was back in South Africa.”

His biggest struggle at the moment is recruiting the talent he’ll need to provide the finest food and service.

In a bid to entice and retain good people Mr Shapiro is offering his senior staff members a free international holiday once they have completed 12 months of service.

“I think that shows what kind of a place this will be to work and how we treat people, but also it is a good reward for your best people to stay with you,” Mr Shapiro says.

Behind 1907 is the massive Raine Square office tower development, which will become the new headquarters for BankWest.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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