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Italian face on Highgate ‘hotspot’

GUSTO’S Highgate spies tell us there is a new Italian restaurant opening on the emerging ‘hospitality hotspot’ on the Beaufort Street strip from the Queens to Luxe.

Opposite Jackson’s Restaurant, at 484 Beaufort Street, the former Elysian Fields Books will be transformed into an upmarket Italian eatery. Gusto’s not sure who is behind the venture but, combined with newcomers cafe Soto and the planned opening of Chutney Mary’s, it will certainly add more potency to a growing dining precinct. Just a stone’s throw from crowd favourites The Queens, Sienas, Jackson’s Restaurant and Must Winebar, the new Italian restaurant will be developed over coming months. Word is the inspiration behind it has come from Philip Johnson’s E’cco Bistro in Brisbane, or so our informants tell us.

 

Denmark’s Karri Mia Resort function centre and restaurant in Denmark is up for lease. According to Karri Mia’s marketing gal, Bridget Robertson, there’s an opportunity for an experienced operator to manage the restaurant and recently opened function centre

Each venue seats 120 and they’re situated in Karri Mia Resort, just four kilometres from the town of Denmark.

“We leased-out the restaurant for three years but have taken it out for quality control, Ms Robertson says.

“It’s a great venue. It has a wine cellar that’s like a mini tourist bureau. People can read about the wines and match their wines with what they choose for dinner.

Karri Mia Resort is set on 24 hectares with views of Wilson Inlet and the Great Southern Ocean.

According to Ms Robertson, Albany, 52km east of Karri Mia, and Denmark are among the fastest growing tourist areas in Australia, and the resort is hoping to capitalise on this.

 

The Western Australian Club launched its new bar, CC’s (Churchill’s Cellar), last night. The new bar is an expansion of the Western Australian Club’s Churchill lounge. The new modern bar is situated downstairs at its St George’s Terrace site and forms part of the Western Australian Club’s strategy of attracting a younger membership base. Marketing and membership manager Margaret Mann said CC’s would provide a setting for members to relax after work that was uniquely different and offered unsurpassed service.

 

The team at the Monkey Bar sure know how to create some hype. There weren’t too many CBD business and media personalities who didn’t know about the launch of the new bar, formerly The Globe, last weekend (see photo, above).

The Monkey Bar marketing manager Bec Gauci sent out almost 1,200 invitations with the alluring “free drinks from 7pm to 9pm” for the invitee and a guest.

According to Ms Gauci, opening night last Friday was a huge success with the venue reaching crowd capacity by 9pm.

“We invited the council [Perth City] and business within a 200-metre radius. We invited media, Woodside, people at Barbagallo’s, residents in the area. It was a huge success,” Ms Gauci says.

The Globe, which used to be known as Pinocchio’s, closed on New Year’s day to undergo $1.2 million in renovations, reopening last weekend as The Monkey Bar.

The result is new looks for the main room, lounge bar and outdoor courtyard. But last weekend was only the first launch party. Tomorrow night there’s the opening of the newest addition to The Monkey Bar – the Warehouse Bar.

“It’s on our existing land that wasn’t being utilised. It was a sandpit and we developed it into a new bar. That will open this Friday [tomorrow] and we’re really excited about it,” Ms Gauci says.

“We’ve spent months getting our liquor licence amended so we can open at 3pm.

“The idea for this came from Melbourne. The whole management team flew to Melbourne for a week and did research and it was a concept Joe Coci [director of The Monkey Bar, The Globe and Pinocchio’s] wanted to bring here. It’s very much about entertainment.”

The entertainment takes the form of The Bench, a live sporting and variety show featuring AFL and sports identities Scott Watters, Ben Allan, Karl Langon, George Grljusich, Ken Judge and Michael Clark.

Ms Gauci said special guests would join the panel each Friday, with the gig starting at 4.30pm.

Doors to The Monkey Bar will open each Friday from 3pm.

 

Chocoholics, wedding planners, and function organisers take note. A new company has been launched in Perth with an innovative product that will certainly cause some conversation and over-indulgence.

Husband and wife team Peter and Helen Axton have started Chocolate Attraction, which specialises in chocolate fountains. And, like regular fountains, the essence is fluid motion, so the chocolate is melting. The warm chocolate flows over a stainless steel fountain and guests are invited to dip skewers of marshmallows, strawberries or other yummy foods into the warm stream of chocolate.

According to Mr Axton, the fountains have proved popular in the UK and the US and he hopes Perth finds them just as tempting.

“We brought the idea out from the UK, it is very popular in London,” Mr Axton says.

The fountain stands at 75 centimetres high and is about 40cm in diameter.

Chocolate Attraction hires out the fountains, which includes set-up, staying at the function to provide instruction and assistance, and packing up the fountain.

According to Mr Axton the chocolate fountain would be ideal in a corporate function environment.

“Our first thought was for the wedding market but it’s also a very good ice breaker and we’ve had interest from corporates wanting to use them,” he says.

“It can be offered for welcome drinks; it’s perfect with champagne, or served as a dessert with a fresh fruit platter.

It’s an ideal way for breaking the ice and providing the wow factor.”

The fountain will feature in The Joondalup Festival in Joondalup this weekend and appeared on Postcards WA  last weekend (see photo).

 

For lovers of organic produce and food created with tender love and care, watch out for the inaugural producers’ market being organised by the Perth convivium of the international Slow Food movement. The organisation, which has 6,000 members worldwide, supports and protects regional food production and practices and embraces food as a vital aspect of local culture and a major influence on quality of life.

Slow Food aims to promote food appreciation, with an emphasis on taking the time to enjoy the tastes of food produced through sound agricultural processes.

The Slow Food Producers Market will be held at The Melbourne on Hay Street, Perth, on March 27 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

Producers involved in the event include Cloverdene Diary, Bunker Natural Mushrooms, Kervella’s Goat Cheese and Milk, Emdavale Flour Company, Gingin Avocado Farm, Margaret River Free-Range Eggs, and Holy Smoke Fish Products. They join many other food producers, who will be in the one room in the CBD, making it easy for the city folk to sample and buy food from some of the best producers in the world.

 

Watch out for the new look Gala Restaurant. Owners Marianne Kempf and Hans Lang have grabbed a few tins of paint and changed the exterior of the restaurant.

It is now defined separately from neighbouring Piccolo Mondo in a lighter sandstone colour. In the coming weeks the awnings will be painted a dark grape colour, helping it stand out a bit more from the restaurant next door. Also new for the chef duo is the launch of a vegetarian gourmet night.

“The thought of having a vegetarian gourmet night started when we were talking to customers of ours about vegetarian dishes on menus in restaurants. Being vegetarian, they mentioned that a lot of times when they join their friends for dinner the selection and variety of dishes offered to vegetarians is very limited and repetitive. Dishes such as pasta, steamed vegetables, garden salad or spinach lasagne would be the norm,” Mr Lang says.

Ms Kempf says customers suggested Gala put on a special night for vegetarians, encouraging the meat and seafood lovers to join in.

“However, to cater for seafood and meat lovers we thought that a side order of meat or seafood is the way to go,” she says.

“We have Vince Garreffa of Mondo Butcher supplying us with organic meat such as lamb, beef and pork.

“We are not sure what the actual response for the dinner will be, but it is certainly something different to the standard offering for vegetarians.”

The special vegetarian night will be held at Gala Restaurant in Applecross on Tuesday March 23.  

 

Nicholas Declerck has been appointed as executive chef at the Mecure Hotel in Perth. The Tasmanian-born chef has spent a number of years working in Perth’s hospitality scene. Mr Declerck worked for BoardWalk Restaurant, Fremantle and Coco’s Restaurant in the 1990s when he lived in Perth after a travelling stint around Australia.

In 1996 Melbourne’s Crown Casino banquet department recruited him to open the Southbank site. In 2002, after a few years working between Crown and Cervo Italian Restaurant, he was awarded Crown’s manager of the year title. 

 

Anyone watching reality program Survivor Allstars on the box at the moment will have realised that plain old boiled rice just isn’t too tasty, no matter how hungry you are.

But to find out how to cook inspirational and tasty rice dishes, Gusto suggests booking a place at a cooking class being conducted by Fraser’s Restaurant head chef Mark Haynes and executive chef Chris Taylor on Saturday March 27 from 3pm to 5.30pm. The theme is ‘rice’ and the two chefs will be demonstrating how to prepare some exciting dishes using rice as the main ingredient. There will also be wine tastings to wash down the good food.

 

Rare premium wines at a discounted rate are the latest offer from Must Winebar. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the wine bar is offering a ‘Cellar Door Lunch’, which exec chef and Must Winebar director Russell Blaikie says should boost the traditional tough early week trading period. And with deals like these it’s easy to understand why. 

This week at Must, Pierre Amadieu Grand Romane 1998 from Rhone Valley in France was sold at $36 instead of its $69 retail price. Tormaresca Negroamaro/Cabernet 2001 from Puglia in Italy was offered at $22 instead of $40. Specials will vary from week to week.

 

 

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