08/06/2004 - 22:00

New Italian offers a familiar feel

08/06/2004 - 22:00


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IT may only have been the second day of trade at new Shenton Park restaurant Galileo Buona Cucina, but co-owner Una Hosgood was run off her feet when she met Gusto for an interview last week.

New Italian offers a familiar feel

IT may only have been the second day of trade at new Shenton Park restaurant Galileo Buona Cucina, but co-owner Una Hosgood was run off her feet when she met Gusto for an interview last week.

And it wasn’t last-minute preparations or menu changes that were taking her attention. Rather, it seems, passers by in Shenton Park were as enthused about the restaurant opening as Gusto was.

In our short chat at 4.30pm last week at least half a dozen residents on their daily afternoon walk stopped, peered in, smiled and politely asked for a look at the menu.

“I’ve been waiting and waiting for you to open, we will see you tomorrow night,” said one.

“I love what you’ve done, are you licensed?” asked another.

A booking for eight people and another for two were taken during our interview, joining a long list of those wanting to try out the newcomer.

Ms Hosgood and business partner Vince Soresi have spent the past two months in complete renovation mode with the aim of creating a new, but decidedly familiar look.

“We wanted it to feel like they have been here before or that this place has been here for a while,” Ms Hosgood says.

New windows and doors allow more natural light into the restaurant, new paint, new bar and new furniture create warmth and the outside garden is now an alfresco dining area, complete with lake views.

The former Il Principe Gran Caffe chefs have kept the food to what they do best – Italian.

And they’ve added some cooking tools that give the kitchen as rustic a look as the interior.

“We’ve got a woodfired oven and rotisserie and we’re cooking a lot of food in them. Food cooked in a woodfired oven has that distinctive taste. I don’t know what it is but it’s good. We’re not doing pizzas but things like the cacciatore and the pork spare ribs in there. It’s about taking cooking back to the basics,” Ms Hosgood says.

Bright paintings and astronomy-inspired sculptures by Western Australian artist Len Zuks adorn the walls.

Main meals are priced at about $25 and they’ve got an impressive wine rack, which should have a bottle to suit most tastes.

Galileo is open Tuesday to Saturday, lunch and dinner, and there’s even the option of takeaway.

Geoff Hayward has recruited The West Australian food editor and foodie consultant, Marg Johnson, to design a menu for The Brisbane Hotel.

Ankle-deep in renovations, Mr Hayward’s task of launching the new-look venue in October was complicated recently when his Bar One business partner, Stephen Scaffidi, opted out of the hotel venture.

According to Mr Scaffidi two venues (Bar One and Altos Bistro) took up just about every waking moment, leaving no time to create a menu and manage to fit a third kitchen to his schedule.

“I’ve briefed Marg on what I want and she’s doing a menu, that will be all about real pub food, and I’ll employ a chef to execute it,” Mr Hayward says.

He anticipates an opening date for the Beaufort Street hotel sometime this October. 

John Hooper at Halo Restaurant has noticed some shrinkage among the many wine lists around town.

So, rather than follow the trend, he’s done the opposite and recruited good friend Anne-Marie Banting to help him spruce up his wine list. Ms Banting, the sommelier who helped establish Must Wine bar but has since left Perth for greener pastures in Melbourne, helped Mr Hooper select about 50 more wines to add to the list, taking the total to 212 wines. 

Mr Hooper says while big wine lists can be difficult to manage, it’s something he’s passionate about. “I’m a big collector of wines and it’s a nightmare to do this because you are dealing with so many companies but I wanted to do it,” he says.

And news of Anne-Marie Banting’s help with the Halo wine list had Gusto wondering whether she’s done some other list sprucing on her family visits to Perth.

“No,no. I come back to see my mum and catch up with friends and I am good friends with John,” she says.

“I didn’t do his list, I just gave him some advice and pointed him in the right direction.”

Ms Banting is working as a section waiter in Melbourne’s Ezards, the restaurant in the very mod Adelphi Hotel.

“It’s pretty full on and it’s keeping me busy,” she says. “I’m doing some consulting in Melbourne, including the new bar and brasserie Three Degrees. It’s a lot of fun.”


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