06/03/2007 - 22:00

Punters fork out in a fresh twist on loyalty

06/03/2007 - 22:00

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One Mosman Park foodie couple enjoy the food, ambience and service at Twisted Fork so much that they are currently negotiating with the restaurant’s owners to lease a table.

Punters fork out in a fresh twist on loyalty

One Mosman Park foodie couple enjoy the food, ambience and service at Twisted Fork so much that they are currently negotiating with the restaurant’s owners to lease a table.

The ‘lease’ would allow the customers to have a table available to them on a Saturday evening so they can drop in without needing to plan days ahead and make a booking.

For this convenience they pay a fee, and then of course pay for the meal.

While it’s an obvious sign of the significant wealth being generated through the current economic boom, it also highlights the popularity of the Mosman Park eatery, which only opened 12 months ago.

The 44-seat restaurant is at the former Casablanca restaurant site on Glyde Street and is regularly booked out during its five trading nights.

“We did a 10-year business plan and after three months we were achieving [the revenue] what we though we would do at seven years,” head chef and co-owner Paul Zammit says.

Mr Zammit moved to WA from Sydney with his Perth-born wife, Jaycinta, about four years ago.

He wanted to replicate what he had been doing with a BYO restaurant in Sydney called Macleay Bistro.

While Twisted Fork is licensed, it does allow customers to bring in their own wines for dinner bookings made from Tuesday to Thursday.

The idea is to let customers bring something special to the table to accompany the quality dishes coming out of the kitchen.

A little trophy collection has started, with customers leaving their empty bottles of premium plonk to stand on a shelf in the restaurant.

On that shelf sit some pretty impressive vintages and wines from the top winemaking regions of the world. Among are a 1966 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and a 1976 Penfolds Grange.

The restaurant was criticised in some quarters early on for its minimal wine list, which has since more than doubled in size to include 12 red varieties and 13 white varieties.

Among the offerings are local favourites Cullen, Picardy and Voyager, while Victorian, South Australian, Tasmania and New Zealand wines also get a look in.

The menu changes every four to five weeks but Mr Zammit says one thing always remains – flavour.

The current menu includes twice-cooked pork belly, gremolata, seared scallops, polenta and gorgonzola, fig and prosciutto tart with bitter greens and fresh lime.

There are also some unusual items, such as quail sausage roll with harissa butter sauce and a fennel salad and a smoked salmon and cucumber terrine with cranberry yoghurt.

But Mr Zammit says that is why the restaurant is called Twisted Fork; he likes to do things a little differently, or, with a twist. What is important, he says, is that the food tastes good.

“I get bored really easily so I like to change what we’re cooking,” Mr Zammit says.

“But I think the customers like the fact that they can find something different on the menu because our regulars might be in here once or twice a week.”

The pair started the restaurant with about $80,000, and it was with slight trepidation that opened the doors last year with just $4,000 remaining in the bank account.

“Paul was better than me but I remember thinking, ‘what if no-one comes through that door?’” Mrs Zammit remembers.

But come they did. Within a few months, the couple had made enough profit to put down a deposit for a house.

They are now entertaining their options with regard to opening an ultra premium dining experience close to the Twisted Fork premises, or opening up another restaurant in Perth.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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