19/11/2008 - 22:00

Vic Park pair brings out The Imp

19/11/2008 - 22:00

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HOSPITALITY entrepreneurs Kristan Roche and Chris Sweeney are taking Victoria Park a step closer to the vibe of Mount Lawley or Leederville with their first venue, The Imp.

Vic Park pair brings out The Imp
DELIGHTS: Kristan Roche (left) and Chris Sweeney want to bring back quality, inexpensive food on the menu with their new venue, The Imp. Photo: Grant Currall

HOSPITALITY entrepreneurs Kristan Roche and Chris Sweeney are taking Victoria Park a step closer to the vibe of Mount Lawley or Leederville with their first venue, The Imp.

The little cafe-cum-bar was celebrating its sixth week of business when Gusto chatted with the enthusiastic owners, who met while working together in the early days of Cino to Go on King Street, under the tutorage of Geoff Hayward.

The Imp, which refers to the naughty temptations you could fall prey to as you step in the cafe, is located in a former kebab shop at 863 Albany Highway.

Mr Sweeney, who has lived in Victoria Park for 15 years, says there is great potential for the suburb to grow even though there are still more businesses than "destination shops" in the area.

Mr Roche believes the area will grow to be the equal of Perth's top shopping strips in the next few years.

"Victoria Park is the last suburb that hasn't been exploited like Mount Lawley and Leederville...even Mount Hawthorn has a cafe strip now. It's a great area [Victoria Park] with heaps of restaurants," Mr Roche says.

Messrs Roche and Sweeney took over the shop in May last year with the plan to set up a venue that would attract a flow of people all day with breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes and dinner services.

While counter service will be the go during the day, dinner will have table service and offers a choice of tapas.

The Imp is currently BYO but the owners say they will apply for a restaurant licence in the New Year.

Mr Roche told Gusto they're trying to keep the menu reasonably priced - the tapas menu won't cost over $12 - and build a clientele that comes back several times a week, rather than occasionally.

"You don't have to pay top dollar to get good food...sometimes I hate going out to restaurants because of what they charge," Mr Roche says.

Among the items on The Imp tapas menu are: flat bread with tapenade; deep fried stuffed Jalapenos with raspberry coulis; and crab and goat's cheese empanadas.

The menu changes every four weeks.

The owners say working with Geoff Hayward at Cino to Go was a great way to learn the industry and gave them inspiration to run their own business.

"We have a lot of respect for how he [Geoff Hayward] runs his business, and looking at how he does things gave me inspiration," Mr Roche says.

And they're not the only ones who became inspired after working with Mr Hayward; the founder of MilkD and co founder of Soto, Lorena Tati, had a stint with Mr Hayward as did Alex Cuccovia, who set up Cantina 663 with Michael Forde in Mount Lawley.

There are more plans in the pipeline for The Imp with projects to expand the venue in the near future.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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