10/02/2004 - 21:00

Seaduceing those who love fine food

10/02/2004 - 21:00


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NORTHBRIDGE wouldn’t seem the most obvious location for renowned chef Peter Manifis to open his latest restaurant venture.

Seaduceing those who love fine food

NORTHBRIDGE wouldn’t seem the most obvious location for renowned chef Peter Manifis to open his latest restaurant venture. 

But take a seat inside the newly opened Seaduce and the potential Mr Manifis saw in what was Soul Food (and before that Bamboo) becomes apparent.

Seaduce overlooks Russell Square, on the fringe of Northbridge, in a spot that avoids rowdy late-night crowds but is close enough to attract attention of its own.

But the restaurant isn’t solely aimed at a nightlife-loving crowd. Mr Manifis, who has taken on the kitchen and a management role, says Seaduce is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday.

And he hopes city and Northbridge-based workers will stop in for lunch and enjoy the tranquility of the setting.

“You can come here and really enjoy the environment,” Mr Manifis says.

He is also hoping to target inner-city dwellers by pushing a take-away trade.

“There really aren’t too many places offering that. There is no fish and chips shop in Northbridge,” Mr Manifis says.

Getting fish and chips and taking it away to enjoy in the setting of Russell Square is also something Mr Manifis is keen to promote.

“We want people to use that park. It’s beautiful, but you look over and no-one’s in it,” he says.

“We want people to come and get fish and chips and sit in the park and really enjoy it.”

Mr Manifis trained at The Loose Box restaurant before cooking in the King Street kitchen.

From there he took the position of head chef at Gucce restaurant in Applecross, started a chef consultancy business, Vineleaves, and was the chef selected by Albasio Le Pegna to help establish Zafferano at the Old Swan Brewery.

“It [Zafferano] was a lot of work. They had a huge seafood display that needed a lot of time. I had a good time there and Albi [Mr Le Pegna] showed me a lot of good things, like reducing waste; there’s no wastage in my kitchen now,” Mr Manifis says.

“But at Gucce I could talk to people and understand what they like and what they don’t like. I couldn’t do that at Zafferano because that’s what Albi did. I did my job and that was it.”

After leaving Zafferano last year Mr Manifis spent three and half months travelling Europe, during which time he decided to come back and start something new in Perth that would offer simplicity and the chance to establish good customer relationships.

And while others have failed in the location, the ambitious chef believes what he and his team, which includes West Coast Eagle Andrew Embley, will provide food and service that is second to none – a fine dining experience without all the fuss.

“It’s a matter of doing the right thing. The word will get out without us having to try,” Mr Manifis says.

“The menu has traditional dishes but I’ve made them a bit more funky.

“I’ve also included some Asian food in there because it’s good to offer people something a little different.

“We had crocodile skewers as a special last night and it went well.”

The emphasis at Seaduce is, of course, seafood, and its primary investor is Catalano Seafoods. But there are options for those who want chicken, steak, and salads.

Mains are priced between $14.50 and $27 and it is BYO.

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A major upgrade of The Art Gallery Café is scheduled to start on July 1 and expressions of interest are invited for a long lease for the renovated site. The Art Gallery of Western Australia business services team leader Cathy Roads says the organisation is seeking expressions of interest from which it would short list preferred proprietors to discuss leasing arrangements.

“We have a preferred lease option of five years but there is the ability to negotiate out to 10 years,” she says.

The current lease expires on June 30, when the cafe will be shut down for major renovations.

“We are expanding the interior and the alfresco area will be covered by a sail. It really doesn’t work at the moment because it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter,” Ms Roads says.

“We will be knocking down some walls so it will shut down. But we are hoping to provide a temporary service to our customers and that will hopefully be something that will be of interest to the people coming in.”

Ms Roads anticipates that the cafe will open towards the end of September.

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A group of WA businessmen is planning to open a string of Australian ‘Bondi’ bars in the US.

The plans are in very early stages but Gusto understands discussions are under way between the Perth holding company, Bondi Lifesaver Holdings Ltd, and US-based companies over the launch of a number of the Australian theme bars across America. The directors of Bondi Lifesaver Holdings are Lloyd Zampatti, Julian Heppekausen and Edmund Babington.

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The Gold Plate Awards were officially launched last week. Judges will be visiting restaurants (which have paid a fee to be included in the event) between March and July. The judging process is a tough one and the independent and anonymous judging panel scores restaurants in 31 different categories – three more than last year. The new categories are ‘coffee shop, restaurant within a training establishment’, while the tourism category has been split into tourism metro and tourism country.

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A new batch of truffles is headed to Perth. Two restaurants are busily promoting the decadent product for evenings of spoil-yourself food. Star Anise will host its truffle dinner on Sunday February 22. Head chef and owner David Coomer has created a menu designed to show off the French delicacy.

“Simon Johnson is getting them in from Pebeyere in France and we’re getting a lot,” he says.

Mr Coomer says that, at $2,600 a kilo, the product is perfect for special occasion dinners.

The dinner will cost $200 but guests can bring their own bottle of wine.

“I think it’ll work well. I want to do a 30-person long table and have people outdo each other with their wines,” Mr Coomer says.

The Gala Restaurant in Applecross is also hosting a truffle dinner that week. On Tuesday February 24 Hans Lang and Marianne Kempf will cook up a four-course truffle dinner. It’s priced at $160 per person and includes wine.

The demand for truffle dishes has been so strong, they say, that they’ve ordered Perigod Truffle and are dedicating the entire evening to the imported delicacy.

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Fremantle’s ‘revolving dinner’ will kick off the 2004 season on Friday February 27.

The revolving dinner is a collaborative effort between Café Il Porto, Sails Seafood Restaurant and The Mussel Bar Fremantle. This dinner commences at Café Il Porto at 6.30pm but the organisers are remaining tight lipped about where dinner and dessert are to be held.

And if you’re looking for a reason to go out and eat plenty of food and drink good wines, just think of the helping hand you’ll be providing. Ronald McDonald House is the official charity to which part proceeds from every dinner will be donated.

Tickets are $70 and can be obtained through Café Il Porto.

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Owner of the popular terrace coffee shop Rosso Espresso, Michael De Marte, is in discussions to open his next restaurant venture just a stone’s throw away at Exchange Plaza. The plans are for a Mediterranean restaurant. To free-up time and resources, Mr De Marte has put his other restaurant, Café Bocca, located in Shafto Lane, on the market at an asking price of $550,000.




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