Long known as a winter destination, some Broome restaurateurs are aiming to make the Kimberley locale more of an all-year operation.
MORE people choosing to live and work in Broome combined with a longer tourism season is resulting in a transformation of the local restaurant industry.
This is most apparent in a number of new investments and renovations that have provided Broome with some new flavours.
Former Asian-style restaurants are now up-market dining venues and some local favourites have undergone transformations of their own.
The result is a number of contemporary places that suit local residents as much as tourists.
Being able to open all-year round and employing more Broome residents is something that is, while in its early stages, also starting to occur.
Most restaurants close during Broome’s wet season that is usually between January and March but there are a few that open all year.
Aarli Bar opened this February and its owner Nick Wendland says it will be open all year round.
The new restaurant and bar has taken what was the successful Noodle Fish up some significant notches.
Modernised surroundings coupled with a menu that has a strong emphasis on shared tapas is winning over the locals.
“We rely on the locals for the wet season so we need to do a good job. We wanted to do something that was eclectic,” he said.
The Old Zoo Cafe owner Peter Watterston has invested heavily in his restaurant to modernise its operation and create more seats to cater for an increasing clientele.
“We’ve changed the kitchen and cleaned up some problem areas. It used to seat 65 people and now it seats 90. We’ve put new furniture in and we’ve made it a bit more trendy,” he said.
“We’ve made the kitchen four times bigger and put in another pastry machine and slicers.”
Mr Watterston said his restaurant had been booked out several nights for the past few weeks, which was ahead of the official tourism season.
“Last year we were booked out for most of March,” he said.
Newcomer Pindan Blue hopes to gain as much popularity with its up-market cafe offering.
According to Pindan Blue owner Grant Wilkinson it is the first purpose-built restaurant to open in Broome for a number of years.
“We’re more of an up-market cafe and we do gourmet takeaway. I’ve been in Broome for five years and working in hospitality. I saw this opportunity and noticed a gap in the market and got into it.”
Frangipanis Cafe Restaurant opened last October and its owners Andrew and Sharyn Radford have transformed the former Asian-style Sheba Lane Restaurant into something with a more Mediterranean flavour.
Mr Radford said his aim was to provide good food for locals and to pick up tourist trade.
“The local population has been increasing and increasing quite rapidly but there have also been a number of restaurants that have opened.”
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