04/06/2008 - 22:00

Tradition re-cast at Lyrebird

04/06/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Upgrade your subscription to use this feature.

Those who think the proliferation of funky new cafes with their trendy interiors and furnishings means the end of any role for classic, Italian style-cafe furniture may wish to reconsider.

Tradition re-cast at Lyrebird
EXPERIENCE: David Bianchi has assembled a top team of chefs, under executive chef Putu Surya, at his new venture, Lyrebird, in Fremantle. Photo: Grant Currall

Those who think the proliferation of funky new cafes with their trendy interiors and furnishings means the end of any role for classic, Italian style-cafe furniture may wish to reconsider.

Entrepreneur David Bianchi has decided to re-cast the traditional Italian decor he introduced to Perth at Leederville's Café Villa and Giardini, mixing it with Asian influences and lavish atmosphere in his latest restaurant, Lyrebird.

The venue is located in the building that formerly housed Sails Seafood Restaurant, on Fremantle Fishing Harbour, and can seat 500.

Executive chef Putu Surya brings with him years of experience, having worked in five-star hotels including the LeMeridien in Dubai, the Hyatt Regency in Surabaya, and some of Bali's luxury resorts.

The food reflects the venue's atmosphere, with the menu combining the traditional Italian pasta with nasi goreng, while garlic bread or Indian naan can be ordered as a side.

And Lyrebird might be among the first venues to be granted a 100 per cent extended trading permit (ETP).

Mr Bianchi has applied for a 100 ETP, which was introduced in May last year with the small bar licence; it allows an establishment to serve liquor without a meal to 100 per cent of the patrons, an increase from the initial 20 per cent ETP.

"We applied for the 100 per cent ETP but we don't want to become a pub. I opened the Onyx Bar before, that was my first bar, and I've never opened a bar again...there's just too many people in one place drinking," Mr Bianchi told Gusto.

Mr Bianchi spent the past 18 months, and a couple of million dollars, to scrub the oil residues from the roof of the Lyrebird site - which for 17 years housed a fish and chips restaurant - and increase the size of the restaurant area to 1,300 square metres.

To manage such a big venue, he imported 12 chefs from Bali on 457 visas and has trained most of his wait staff from scratch.

"At the moment I work on the restaurant floor every day to get the system right. It has to be my way, and could take a couple of months," he says.

A 23-year veteran of the industry, Mr Bianchi has opened about 10 restaurants in Perth, including Savoia Café and Wine Bar, which he sold to Warren Mead, who renamed it Black Tom's.

He also set up West Perth-based Onyx Bar and sold it to the Franchina family.

"I like setting up the venues and getting them started, but after a little while I get bored so I sell them," Mr Bianchi says.

He ays that, when he got tired of the industry a few years ago, he started his own interior/exterior design consultancy along with a garden nursery-cum-furniture shop, Casa Bianchi, in Scarborough.

However, the desire to open a new restaurant was soon rekindled when he was approached to start a new restaurant on the old Sails site.

"This was a pleasure to do up because it's got the high ceilings and it has a fantastic location," he says.

As with his other ventures, Mr Bianchi was involved in every single aspect of the renovations at Lyrebird.

"I sleep in the venues when I do them up, I'm there with the workers, but when they leave it's a completely different atmosphere. Actually night time is very spectacular here [at the Lyrebird]."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options