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Vans hailin’ new menu options

VANS Sidewalk Café has reopened under the ownership of Kevin McCabe and David Cooney. Kevin is well known in Perth for his role as executive chef and manager at Ivan Rutherford’s Red Herring Restaurant, The Fremantle Surf Club, and Bacco Restaurant (which according to its answering machine is closed for winter renovations). Kevin says the new-look Vans is a mixture of home favourites and ideas he brought back from a recent trip to Sydney.

“Vans is an accumulation of our experiences at the Red Herring, Bacco, Oriel, Barista Cafe and also Sydney restaurants Bill’s and Bistro LuLu,” he says.

David is known in Perth hospitality circles for creating Barista, located on the same Cottesloe Street as Vans, Napoleon Street, and as the man behind the creation of The Globe in Mt Lawley.

Kevin says the pair’s decision to offer low fat menu choices has been well received in the early weeks of Vans’ operation.

“We thought, this is what we think they want, but we have been absolutely flabbergasted at how much response we’ve had. We’re getting 100 people in for lunch and 100 people in for dinner,” he says.

Among the low-fat items are bircher muesli with toasted almonds and blueberries, roast free range skinless chicken, and Vietnamese salad of fresh crab, chilli, coriander and mango. Of course there are plenty of other choices for those not concerned with what the bathroom scales say.

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Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group’s latest pub revamp, the Balmoral, has opened in Victoria Park. Formerly known as the Culture Garden and The Babylon Hotel, ALH has overcome the community hurdles that plagued the venue’s former owner for years. Balmoral project developer Brian Hopely says the group has gained good community support.

“We spent a year working with the Town of Victoria Park, local police and community representatives to ensure we got the planning and delivery of the Balmoral just right,” he says.

Food is a central focus for the new-look hotel with Ken Priest heading up the kitchen.

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Ferngrove Vineyards has had an inspiring Royal Sydney Wine Show win, taking out the Best Wine of the Show for its Cossack Riesling 2002. The grapes used for the wine were taken from a single block of the Frankland River-based vineyard and the entire production of about 1000 cases was bottled under srewcap.

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Carlton United Breweries has tapped into two burgeoning beer markets with its latest product, Carlton Sterling. Looking similar to a Crown Lager, the silver badged Sterling is a double hopped 2.5 per cent premium lager. According to CUB WA sales GM Graeme Wood, the product fits consumer demand.

“The timing is perfect. CUB research reveals that consumers are ready for a light beer that has strong ‘real beer’ brand credentials. They have moved on from reduced alcohol beers that screamed ‘light’ and were all about functionality and a forced choice,” Mr Wood says.

“As light beers have improved, more light beer drinkers are making the conscious decision to drink only light beer.

These consumers want a credible brand name, not a light version of another beer brand.

“They want a brand with a unique identity and charisma they can call their own.”

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