31/07/2007 - 22:00

Trimboli answers Cott call

31/07/2007 - 22:00


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Little Creatures director and leading restaurateur, Nic Trimboli, has bought his first seaside eatery, Cottesloe’s La Tropicana Café.

Trimboli answers Cott call

Little Creatures director and leading restaurateur, Nic Trimboli, has bought his first seaside eatery, Cottesloe’s La Tropicana Café.

Mr Trimboli, who owns Balthazar in the city and Duende in Leederville, intends to close the cafe in about a fortnight and reopen under a new name in September, after some major renovations.

The new eatery will adopt an Italian focus, taking Mr Trimboli back to his heritage and restaurant roots – he established e’Cucina about 15 years ago.

He no longer owns e’Cucina, selling it five years ago to concentrate on his other city business, Balthazar.

Unlike his previous project, Duende – which opened in purpose-built premises underneath an office building four years ago – the new venture will require a bit of remedial work.

Former Duende manager Daniel Goodsell will be in charge of the restaurant’s day-to-day operations, while Mr Trimboli manages his three restaurants and oversees the expansion of Little Creatures in Fremantle, which includes developing a late-night bar.

The Cottesloe cafe, which Mr Trimboli bought from Kuppa owner Rehan Alikhan, will be the first restaurant Mr Trimboli has owned by the ocean and the first that has some noteworthy views.

Mr Alikhan had operated La Tropicana for about two and a half years.

Mr Trimboli said he did not have a long-term lease for the business but hoped to turn around the cafe’s fortunes during the next five to 10 years, which would keep him busy during his 50s.

Mr Trimboli said the restaurant would be a bright area and he would likely draw on some of the building’s history.

“This building used to be the Lido Cabaret and dates back to the late 1930s,” Mr Trimboli said.

“It was a very popular place during WWII with visiting American sailors,” he said.

Mr Trimboli said he had been searching for a new site for some time and had been keen to develop something new in the city, but decided against it because the overheads were too large.

“I got a little bit nervous about it,” Mr Trimboli told WA Business News. “Office rents in the city have got so high and hospitality can’t keep up with that.”

Mr Trimboli made a bid for the Cottesloe business more than a decade ago, so it’s somewhat fitting that he now has an opportunity to develop the business.

“I was looking at buying it with some mates about 10 years ago and we were outbid,” Mr Trimboli said.

“I’ve always had an attraction to this site.”

While Mr Trimboli is known for creating contemporary, cosy and sophisticated places, he said the restaurant would not try to emulate the once popular Italian restaurant in Subiaco, Altos.

“We won’t be doing anything too serious,” he said.

Mr Trimboli doesn’t intend to apply for a liquor-without-a-meal permit from the liquor licensing authority, which would allow customers to simply order a glass of wine at his restaurant.

He said he wanted to develop a good relationship with his resident neighbours and also thought the application process was too cumbersome.


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