18/11/2010 - 00:00

Sayers’ll leave a smile on your dial

18/11/2010 - 00:00


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Known by locals for its ever-changing menu, Sayers may no longer be Perth’s best-kept breakfast secret. Aimée Sargent reports.

Sayers’ll leave a smile on your dial

WHEN Mark Sayers arrived in Perth from his native England in the late ’90s he quickly discovered a gap in the local breakfast scene, with most of the established cafes offering little more than the usual suspects of bacon and eggs.

“I’ll always remember a well-known chef saying to me if you can cook a good egg, you can cook any dish in the world and I think that’s a very true statement,” Mr Sayers told Gusto.

“But there seemed to be no quality or standard and it takes a certain skill to know what you’re doing.”

Not content with simply cooking a good egg, Mr Sayers set out to push the boundaries of breakfast. The result is the self-named Sayers, a small-yet-busy establishment located off the main cafe strip in Leederville.

A qualified chef, Mr Sayers and his wife Stephanie opened Sayers in 2006 in the spot vacated by well-known Turkish restaurant Eminem.

The couple’s ambition was to offer fresh, locally sourced produce on a seasonally driven menu; a feat they are pleased to have achieved with an offering that includes a Wagyu beef omelette and house-made cumin beans with baba ganoush.

“When I first opened, I think I was one of the only people at the time who was buying directly off the growers and I wasn’t using any interstate food whatsoever, and I still don’t do it now,” Mr Sayers says.

“I’ve always had a strong feeling that local growers should be used – not only does it give me the best quality because it came directly from the field, but it also gives me the opportunity to ensure I get the best price.”

Mr Sayers says this approach is important because it puts money directly into the pockets of Western Australian growers, who are then able to build up their own businesses.

“We need to look outside of the boundaries; [buying seasonal produce] means the food we do here changes all the time depending on availability and pricing, and being aware of what is being locally grown,” he says. “It means that Sayers is an experience – people will come here, eat the food and go away happy knowing that when they return, it will be totally different.”

When asked whether there is a risk the punters may opt for affordability over high-quality produce, Mr Sayers says it’s simply a matter of understanding and educating the wider community.

“I honestly think that if there is a big care factor put into something, customers will appreciate that, and if you pass that knowledge on, people understand the process and price isn’t an issue. It’s an eye-opener,” he says.

Mr Sayers believes his establishment has been a success for two main reasons: it gives the customers what they want, even if it means changing an ingredient; and it backs its carefully crafted food with well-picked staff.

“To drive a good business is to drive good staff and ensure they are inspired by what they sell,” he says.

“If the staff can see the passion and anguish that goes into the product, then that’s a winning formula that must be driven from the top.”

During a typical weekend about 800 meals are produced in the kitchen, with Mr Sayers at the helm and his wife ensuring the front-of-house activities run like clockwork.

“We do our best to make sure the customer leaves here with a smile on their face and if you can’t do that, then you shouldn’t be in this industry,” Mr Sayers says.



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