14/04/2011 - 00:00

Making a mark in Mosman Park

14/04/2011 - 00:00

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A couple of fresh faces have added a new dimension to the Mosman Park scene. Amy French reports.

Making a mark in Mosman Park

WHEN does a cafe become a restaurant and a deli a cafe? It seems it’s all about the renovations, as a couple of old faces in Mosman Park get a facelift and new names.

And what they now offer has also undergone a significant change.

The Gill St Cafe and Deli and Cognito Restaurant characterise very different dining experiences.

The Gill St Cafe and Deli has recently been transformed from a dowdy corner deli (complete with signature fly strips) to a relaxed and breezy cafe that sells salads and cakes and award-winning coffee made by its owners, husband and wife team Kevin and Kelli McCabe.

Mr McCabe, who also owns Van’s cafe and restaurant in Napolean Street Cottesloe with his wife, says they kept the name Gill St when they took on the lease late last year so as to maintain the business’ connection with the community.

“I didn’t want people in the area to think that I was trying to create another Van’s because I’m not,” Mr McCabe told Gusto.

“It’s very much a coffee shop, it’s very much a place where people can meet and have a quick bite to eat or a coffee if they want to, whereas Van’s is a machine.

“You know, we haven’t called it Van’s ... we could have called it Van’s Mosman Park, for example, but we wanted it to have its own character.”

Mr McCabe says the focus on quality ingredients, including free-range eggs, sourdough bread and freshly squeezed juices, is the only similarity between Gill St and Van’s.

He says when he first saw the deli site he recognised a real need for a cafe on that side of Stirling Highway.

“I drove around and saw that there were plenty of schools there and nowhere really for the mums to go. They all had to come to Napolean Street,” Mr McCabe says.

While plans to develop the deli part of the cafe, which is part of the licence agreement, have been delayed, Mr McCabe says the business is getting back on track after he suffered a major health scare recently.

In the midst of renovations, Mr McCabe had a heart attack and went into a coma for several days.

“I’m just recovering from all of that now,” he says.

Despite that setback, Mr McCabe has been pleased with how the new venture has developed.

“We know where we’re heading and the response has been fantastic. We just want to add more layers and sophistication to the place,‘‘ he says.

“We really want to make our own pastries a bit more than we are. We want to be able to sell other things to take away, to push that deli side of it.”

On nearby Wellington Street, the former Anna’s Cafe has also undergone a recent refurbishment and a change of name, to Cognito Restaurant, which more accurately reflects what it offers patrons, according to owner Ian Telfer.

He says he never felt comfortable with the ‘cafe’ part of the business’ name, mainly because cafe food has never been his style.

Mr Telfer bought his partner’s share of the restaurant last year and says the transformation and the change of name has been a long time coming.

“The name Anna’s Cafe, simply did not reflect the quality of the food or wine we are serving,” he says.

Mr Telfer told Gusto the new name Cognito doesn’t mean anything and just came about as a result of playing around with words.

“Cognito, I think, just has a nice sound to it,” he says, adding that a lot of people had thought the name was part of the Latin cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am), which it isn’t.

“After a couple years it doesn’t really matter but when you first [change the name] it’s quite important because you want it to be a reflection of yourself, so that’s what we were looking for with something that’s different.

“You know, you can’t pin a label on it or associate it with anything else particularly.”

The restaurant’s menu has also diversified away from Mediterranean dishes to modern Australian cuisine featuring Asian and French techniques.

 

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