13/08/2008 - 22:00

Meeting the market for breakfast

13/08/2008 - 22:00

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Breakfast meetings are growing in popularity among Perth's business community, but whether it is for a casual catch up or a corporate get-together, finding the right spot is an important item on the agenda.

Meeting the market for breakfast
EARLY STARTERS: Table 78\'s Hayley Rooke and Damien Brown added a breakfast menu in March, joining Plaform Restaurant + Bar and ecucina in targeting the morning rush.

Breakfast meetings are growing in popularity among Perth's business community, but whether it is for a casual catch up or a corporate get-together, finding the right spot is an important item on the agenda.

Efficient service, intimacy, good food along with good coffee - and being open for breakfast, of course - are pretty much the basics for a venue.

Although the quality of coffee found in Perth has improved significantly in recent years, with espresso bars popping up all along St Georges Terrace and in West Perth, finding a place that combines all the right ingredients can be a challenge.

Not put off by the early start, Gusto set out to investigate which spots attract the business brekkie crowds on the terrace and in West Perth.

The well-established venues such as Bar One and écucina (respectively located in the QV1 and Central Park towers) still have their fair share of early morning patrons, but a few new gems are emerging.

Located in Woodside Plaza, away from the hustle and bustle of Perth CBD's main strip, the Platform Restaurant + Bar has proved popular with local workers, but also pulled crowds from the terrace and beyond, according to owner-operator Josephine Mac Fie.

The open venue has a cosy feel with ambient music and comfy lounges; the restaurant has an a la carte breakfast menu and table service, and can seat up to 130 people inside and up to 230 including the alfresco.

Ms Mac Fie has been running the restaurant with business partner, Belinda Martin, for two years.

She says they wanted to move away from the previous owners' 9am start to cater for the early morning employees in the Woodside building.

"We were quiet at the beginning; the previous owners only opened at 9am and we open at 7am,'' Ms Mac Fie told Gusto.

"We have an à la carte menu and table service, which is an advantage against the take-away cafes or the hotels which often have a buffet-style breakfast."

The change proved to be successful for the venture, not only for the breakfast service, but also lunch and dinner.

Ms Mac Fie says many of her customers discovered the venue through their breakfast meetings and came back for lunch or dinner, so catering for breakfast was also a way to familiarise clients with the venue.

"We're only touching the tip of it and a lot of people don't know we're here for breakfast," she says.

"Our regular customers love the fact that we are a bit hidden, and they look pleased to bring people here who had no idea we existed."

Owner-operator of West Perth-based eatery Table 78, Hayley Rooke, says the demand for breakfast functions was so strong that she and partner, head chef Damien Brown, decided to change their opening hours last March to cater for a breakfast clientele.

"We found that a lot of people were calling for venues doing breakfast meetings, and because we can do large numbers and have a large private room that seats 20 and another room tucked away from the restaurant's main area, people can have breakfast meetings without being disturbed," she says.

Ms Rooke says now that Table 78 is open for breakfast, the take-away coffee trade has been strong and she finds that morning customers are also coming back for lunch or dinner.

"The breakfast service brings different group of people that have never been here before and who have started to come back for lunch," she says.

Tucked away from Hay Street on the corner of Murray and Outram Street, the restaurant is located in three heritage houses that have been merged in to one venue to create a modern and homely feel.

écucina bar manager Paul Versluis and Platform's Jo Mac Fie agree that the two eggs on toast is still a favourite.

But, with the increasing competition, chefs are using their creativity to take the breakfast offering to another level.

Avocado, toast with slow-roasted tomatoes, cheddar, rocket, and ricotta hotcakes with banana and maple syrup are on Table 78's menu, écucina offers a char-grilled asparagus, goats curd on toasted sourdough, while breakfast bruschetta complements Platform's more traditional fare

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