Simplicity key to diner’s heart

RESTAURANT food is being increasingly pared back, says The Fish House’s Linda Mead.

“Diners are now after simple, fresh food – I think the days of heavy sauces and rich cooking are gone,” Ms Mead said.

“People are increasingly health conscious.

“You need a menu that’s versatile and flexible so it works for everyone.

“Chargrilled or plain grilled fish is popular but we can prepare it any way the customer prefers.”

Ms Mead said the WA dining market had progressed from its obsession with fusion, East meets West cooking, typified by towering combinations of unlikely ingredients such as pasta, lemongrass and bean shoots.

“A Thai fish cake is now exactly that – not a Thai fish cake with a twist,” she said.

“We are influenced by Asia but our cooking has gone back to basics and become more authentic.

“WA also has a strong Italian influence and I think East meets West-style cooking is just a by-product of a multicultural society.”

Ms Mead said the modern diner also didn’t drink as much alcohol.

“Quality drinks have become far more important and Western Australians are very loyal to WA wines,” she said.

Ms Mead said WA restaurants were of an international standard, comparable to any major city around the world.

“If you travel to London, the US or even the east coast of Australia, you see that Perth restaurants – across the board – are up there with the best,” she said.

“There are many illustrations of this: take Sir Terrance Conran’s restaurant in London.

“It’s one of the best in the city and it was set up by WA chefs, including Martin Webb from the Ord Street Cafe.”

Ms Mead said WA still had some way to go in terms of regarding hospitality as a long-term career.

“In Melbourne and Sydney, it is taken more seriously yet WA still views hospitality as something you do when you go to

university,” she said.

“I’d really like to see this change and see people respect wait staff for what they do.”

Ms Mead said expansion plans were on the cards for The Fish House.

“You’ve got to keep things happening and changing to stay in touch with trends, but I won’t disclose the details just yet,” she said.

“To win the American Express Award within the first twelve months of being on my own was a bit of a coup. Awards help in that they confirm that you are heading in the right direction.”

A diner interrupted at this point to thank Ms Mead for her hospitality and added “the best restaurant in the world” as he walked away.

“Brilliant timing – I could have paid him to say that!” she joked.

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