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02 8920 1499 www.bergstromarchitects.com.au Nominated Architect: Thomas Bergstrom reg. number 7052 (NSW)
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venue » editorial
There’s Something In the Past-a
Sausage & chips
Sausage, egg & chips
Sausage, chips & baked beans
Sausage, beans & egg…
And so it went, a whole blackboard full of every single permutation of about five different ingredients. This was pub grub at its least sophisticated, but it was lovingly made only a short stroll from my first publishing job in the UK and, crucially, for an editorial assistant, it was cheap. So cheap, in fact, I couldn’t afford not to eat there. I will never forget the publican’s wife – the chef and waitress of the enterprise – who was like a character out of a nursery rhyme (when she wasn’t making lunch I’d half expect her to be ‘chopping off tails with a carving knife’). Aproned and reassuringly rotund, she scooted surprisingly nimbly around the pub laden with plates of this nosh, looking slightly harassed but still finding the time to silently recognise regulars with a half smile. I recall the pub mid winter. Entering it was like checking on the progress of a Sunday roast – steam would fog my glasses and the smells of the kitchen and tobacco smoke would cocoon me in an instant. I also recall how annoyed I was when the pub changed hands. The blackboard was scrubbed clean, making way for a Ploughman’s Lunch, Scampi and Steak & Kidney Pudding. I can’t comment on the quality of the new menu, it was out of my price range and I never returned. Totally irrationally, I took the changing of the guard personally; almost like a betrayal. I’ve been lucky enough to eat very well in the last few days. New eateries, fine dining in hotel restaurants, and sumptuous buffets that taunt you from a good 20 yards. I’ve met some larger than life characters, I’ve savoured some wonderful flavours and I’ve marvelled at some great décor. So why am I reminiscing about a not-so-special pub in a back alley of a 3rd-tier market town in England? I’m not entirely sure. One thing I figure is that food is not just another consumer item. Food presses many more buttons than merely that of subsistence. Food is wrapped up in love, in comfort, in celebration, and in mourning. Food evokes memories of your first girlfriend, of a marathon night on the tiles, or your meagre existence as a penniless university graduate. It hardly matters whether it’s a humble sandwich, a kebab, tomato soup out of tin, or a lavish once-in-a-lifetime banquet, any of them can be a powerful reminder. Yes, your restaurant’s menu needs to be as good as you can make it, but just like a photo of a departed loved one, the food is rarely what provides us with lasting memories, rather, it acts as a powerfully evocative trigger of memories. So after the final dish of the evening has been washed, the floors mopped and the door locked for the evening that’s all any restaurateur can hope to have achieved, a lasting memory. Christopher Holder, Editorial Director
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» issue thirty one July
60 — W Hong Kong
Starwood goosesteps the competition.
40 — Buffalo Club & Sky Room
34 — Iceworks Precinct
Brisbane’s coolest precinct.
66 — Flooring Special
54 — Tongue & Groove
A taste of Canberra.
The Bowery owners branch out.
What’s going down in flooring.
50 — Limes Hotel
A hotel on an average houseblock.
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For more information on these products please visit www.hitachi.com.au or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ultra Short Throw
» Cover: W Hotel, Hong Kong
Advertising Office: (02) 9986 1188 PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 Editorial Office: (03) 5331 4949 PO Box 295, Ballarat, VIC 3353 Publication Manager: Stewart Woodhill (email@example.com) Editorial Director: Christopher Holder (firstname.lastname@example.org) Publisher: Philip Spencer (email@example.com) Assistant Editor: Mark Davie (firstname.lastname@example.org) Art Direction & Design: Dominic Carey (email@example.com) Additional Design: Heath McCurdy (firstname.lastname@example.org) Circulation Manager: Miriam Mulcahy (email@example.com) Accounts: Jen Temm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hotels & Nightclubs W Hong Kong Limes Hotel The Belrose Hotel Platinum Nightclub Woodman Estate
Ltd. The title Venue is a registered Trademark. Apart from any fair dealing permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. The publishers believe all information supplied in this magazine to be correct at the time of publication. They are not in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. After investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, prices, addresses and phone numbers were up to date at the time of publication. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements appearing in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility is on the person, company or advertising agency submitting or directing the advertisement for publication. The publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, although every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy.
60 50 18 31 32
Bars & Dining Iceworks Precinct — Buffalo Club & Sky Room — Emerald Peacock — Tongue & Groove — Bacco — MoMo — Kam Fook — Ripples Sydney Wharf — The Edge Geelong — St Ali’s — You Wish: Applemore College —
34 40 46 54 12 13 14 16 28 30 82
alchemedia publishing pty ltd (ABN: 34 074 431 628) PO Box 6216, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086 email@example.com All material in this magazine is copyright © 2009 Alchemedia Publishing Pty
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venue » leading edge
Come Bacco Bacco Wine Bar Pasticceria is Chifley Plaza’s latest premium dining offering. Located on the lower ground floor, Bacco brings some Italian flavour and mealtimes to Sydney’s CBD for breakfast, lunch, evening apertivi and dinner. Extra Italian touches include fine Italian coffee, freshly made pastas and pastries, great wine, and spuntini and stuzzichini to enjoy at the bar (fancy Italian for bar nibbles). Bacco lives up to its name and offers an extensive wine list hailing from Italian and local vineyards that reside in a central, temperature controlled glass wine cellar. Michael McCann of Dreatime Australia Design designed Bacco with an open view kitchen, wooden interior and central bar; putting the chefs and staff on display, including pastry chef extraordinaire, Brendan Dewar, who’s trained under world-renowned pastry chef Pierre Herme and past experience includes time as a chocolatier for Lindt. » Bacco Wine Bar and Pasticceria: Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, NSW (02) 9223 9552 or www.bacco.com.au » Dreamtime Australia Design: (02) 9368 0800 or www.dreamtimeaustraliadesign.com
More MoMo Not so long ago venue was ensconced in the treasure trove of Spice Market talking to owners, the Lucas Brothers. At one point the conversation topic turned to MoMo, the restaurant that arguably put the Lucas Brothers and chef Greg Malouf on the map. The story goes (see Issue 29) along the lines of Jamie Oliver buying the brothers out of the MoMo space to start filming the Fifteen makeover, taking everything off their hands bar the name. That same day, the brothers signed an agreement (one they’d been negotiating for eight years) to lease the space next door. That was two and a half years ago. The entire time, the brothers have been hard at work with Spice Market and the new MoMo, paying Greg Malouf a retainer to stick it out with them. venue: It’s amazing that you have kept the same owner/chef relationship alive for so long. Geremy Lucas: We’ve worked together for over eight years. Even though he works for us, we treat him like family, and to us it doesn’t seem that strange. At the end of the day we want the best people to work with us, otherwise we wouldn’t still be here. He is the best at what he does, and we want to deliver the best. Dean Lucas: We’ve designed a beautiful dining room, with a beautiful atmosphere, down to elements such as Rosenthal custom-making all the crockery for us. Marrying those things with Greg, who actually invented the modern Middle Eastern style of cuisine, and you’ve got the perfect package for a dining experience.
Music Video Watch Galvatrons, Cassandra
GL: Another thing is, when some owners open a new venue with a recognised chef, they’ll leave everything to the chef and say, “Okay, we’ll do a restaurant, now you organise it.” But we let Greg concentrate on what he is good at: designing a menu and concentrating on the food. We do everything else – conceptualise, design, source all the crockery, cutlery and glassware, and come up with innovative methods of serving our clientele.
venue casts a sly eye over the latest in pop music videos.
venue: Has the MoMo concept evolved?
fantasy… it’s been perfected. There’s no other explanation for
Apparently my New Scientist subscription must have lapsed and some breaking news has passed me by, ‘cos that carbonfreezing process Jabba uses on Han Solo is no sci-fi stuff of
DL: One thing that happened by default at the previous MoMo was to experience Greg’s style of cooking in a sharing environment. We used to offer an a la carte menu as well as a sharing menu. But most people opted for the sharing menu because it gives you that opportunity to sample a much broader range of food. The new MoMo will only have a sharing menu – you can have five course dining, or seven courses, and with 72 hours notice you can have a grand dining experience where a whole suckling pig can be arranged. We’re basically doing what the guests have always wanted and what suits the style of food. The level of dining is also at a high level, so it is not going to be cheap by any means.
the existence of the Galvatrons: a four-piece, balls-out rawk
» MoMo: 123 Collins Street, Lower Plaza Level, Melbourne, VIC (03) 9650 0660 or www.momorestaurant.com.au » Photo: Diana Snape
Jean; we’re immediately put in the picture.
band straight outta 1985. They’re an irony-free facsimile of the big-hair bands like Van Halen, complete with fist-pumping, speed licks, and stadium-filling sound. Cassandra is a winner before the first note of the opening guitar solo. There’s none of this nameless, faceless, chicks ‘n’ bitches schtick that hip hop has foisted on us. ‘Cassandra’: it’s personal; she’s real. Just like Rosanna, Nikita, Layla and Billie Cassandra, the clip, finds us hovering with the boys over what could be Manhattan Island on four giant cubes. After Johnny Galvatron punches his fist skyward like Billy Idol in full pomp, we’re joined by a lo-res Weird Science-style apparition of Cassandra herself. Every ’80s movie has a crazy girl who can mix it with the rich bitches with convertibles, but is buddies with the poor girls with spots. ‘Crazy girl’ will always split a dancefloor scrum with some weird-arse pogo-ing dance moves. So it is with Cassandra: purple leotards, denim jacket, headband, Converse boots with laces undone, and zebra-print skirt, all a whirl of extroversion. The song is a no-nonsense paean of lost love. Don’t panic, there are no embarrassing mushy bits, it’s an action-packed narrative of missed planes, ‘one more nights’, running lights, parties and going as fast as Johnny Galvatron’s ‘Camira’ would let him go (might be a Camaro). The band is in fine fettle – fat synth chords, endless tom rolls and relentlessly chugging bass lines. Johnny is wearing a locker full of bandanas, badges and oil rags as well as denim that’s looking more distressed than a Def Leppard groupie without a hair dryer. So I don’t know which time capsule The Galvatrons busted out of, but their time in stasis has done them no harm – they’re Karate Kid, they’re Rocky when he was cool, they’re a Michael J Fox-dunking werewolf, they’re borrowing your Dad’s Ferrari in white loafers, they’re getting even with the Jocks, they’re a stupidly big ghetto blaster… real wind-in-the-hair, experiencing-life-at-a-110mph stuff. I love the idea of The Galvatrons, and Cassandra deserves its own John Hughes teen-pic of the same name. — CH.
venue » leading edge
Venues in the News More than 200 producers of organic products will be kicking off their sandals at this year’s Organic Expo returning to the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. The expo is a focal point in the organic industry’s annual calendar, coming in just above the harvest moon dance, and is the only opportunity in the Oceania region for traders and punters to check out what’s new in the organic industry. The show will feature renowned chefs Kylie Kwong and Tobie Puttock cooking up a storm with organic produce. If you fancy a bit of organarchy, you can’t afford to miss the Organic Expo, on from July 24 to 26. For more information visit www.organicexpo. com.au The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) claims that in the six weeks before July 1 this year, employers in the hotel sector were rushing in workplace agreements covering 5,000 workers before the new industrial relations laws came into effect, and freezing out unions until 2012. ACTU president Sharan Burrow wasn’t too impressed, asking why employers would seek to get agreements with workers without their unions representing them, all without the benefits and rights of the new laws. Troy Burton, national assistant secretary with the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous [read cause ‘or clause’ to get up in arms about anything] Union, said the rushed agreements were a misguided attempt to stop their workers being able to get union involvement in their work places. However, AHA National Chief Executive, Bill Healey, denied the rush was to pre-empt the new industrial relations regime, claiming about ‘two or three’ of the nine major hotel groups in Australia have struck deals across their properties at an enterprise level, adding that these agreements are subject to review by the government.
Yum Cha Dynasty Hits the Burbs Enter the realm of Kam Fook Doncaster and you enter into a restaurant that is clearly a slick and highly professional operation, which Yum Cha by its nature needs to be. Kam Fook Doncaster is the first foray of Sydney’s ‘Yum Cha Royalty’ into Melbourne and is owned and operated by Rosetta Lee who is both Vice President of the Australian Chinese Restaurateur Association and the Standing Director of the World Association of Chinese Cuisine. Rosetta Lee’s Kam Fook Group manages two extraordinarily successful restaurants in Chatswood and Bondi, Sydney and now Kam Fook Doncaster which has been open since April. Seating 220 people in a room which is clearly some of the most prized real estate within the Westfield Centre, Kam Fook Doncaster boasts panoramic views of the outlying Eastern suburbs with Melbourne’s high rise towers twinkling in the distance. Just the kind of view to work up an appetite for Peking duck, prawn dumplings and barbeque pork buns. Designed by Eid Goh of EAT architects, the design reflects a stylish ‘East meets West’, ‘Traditional meets Modern’ approach to the best that Chinese dining has to offer. Decorative dividing screens partition and suspend from the ceiling, tables are generously spaced out with traditional dark wood Chinese dining chairs and a modern hawker bar sits to the left of the kitchen which is completed by a contemporary interpretation of an abacus as a ceiling. Textural finishes are found throughout the restaurant; black embossed wallpaper, white pebbled walls, and a stone wall feature which houses wine and teas. » Kam Fook: Shop 2003, Level 2, Westfield Shoppingtown, Doncaster, VIC (03) 9005 1888 or www.kamfook.com.au » EAT Architects: (03) 9824 0813 or www.eatas.com.au
After a year of construction, the Brisbane-based Hospitality Training Association has unveiled the second stage of its $17.8m refurbishment and expansion program. Costing $11.6m, the second stage has doubled HTA’s existing floorspace and the capacity of its teaching kitchens, created new classrooms, patisserie labs, training restaurant and café. HTA said it expects to spend a further $6.2m over the next three years on the final stage of the expansion program, which will result in five additional kitchens, lecture theatres, and a function and events area seating 120 guests. We could be looking at some drearily quiet restaurants and cafes if a proposal to increase music licensing fees by more than 100 times gets a run. The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia, which sells licences for the public broadcast of recorded music and then distributes the money to record labels and musicians, is planning a huge rise in the licence fee cafes and restaurants pay to provide a bit of musical atmos. The proposal would see the fee to play music in a 30-seat cafe serving breakfast and lunch go from $62 a year to more than $800 – an increase of 1300 percent. PPCA Chief Executive Stephen Peach said the proposal more accurately reflected the true value of music to restaurants and cafes. The PPCA is accepting submissions on its proposed fee increase for restaurants and cafes until August 20, and intends to introduce it on October 1. Source: Canberra Times. A quiet revolution is taking place amongst the Perth metropolitan area. Inconspicuous small bars are opening their doors on laneways and alleys to little fanfare, but are welcoming small crowds of loyal customers. Thirty small bars have so far been given licences since the new licensing system was introduced in 2007. While it’s still early days, the emergence of Perth’s small bar scene is looking tantalisingly close. In the CBD, bars such as Helvetica, Alda’s Cafe and Andaluz are just a few minutes walk apart, and it’s these clusters of micro-bars that may hold the key to bringing people back into the city after-hours. Source: The West Australian. According to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Alcohol Advisory Group, a tax penalty should be imposed on alcohol that causes most harm to drinkers. Under the group’s recommendations, beverages should be taxed based on alcohol content and authorities should set a minimum price for standard drink. Higher taxes should be imposed on particular
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venue » leading edge
products that ‘cause more damage’, and the Senate should pass the Bill to enforce the 70 percent increase in the excise on alcopops. Public health physician Steven Skov has outlined the RACP’s proposals in the Medical Journal of Australia, saying he was “disappointed” the Senate had scuttled the alcopops tax legislation, but Dr Skov welcomed its reintroduction as “there is evidence it helped reduce overall alcohol consumption”. Source: Canberra Times. Newcastle City Council could soon be implementing changes to its one-size-fits-all outdoor dining policy. Councillors decided in December to review a ruling that all tables must be on the kerbside of footpaths, so some proprietors can have seating on the shop side. Alternative arrangements would be considered on a case by case basis. Public feedback on the proposal yielded five submissions; two supported the change, one raised no objection, and two highlighted potential difficulties for vision or mobility impaired people. Three disability advocacy groups briefed councillors and said that changing where tables were situated could affect people’s mobility. Furniture consistently placed on the kerbside created a clear path for people with impaired vision or in wheelchairs, the groups said. Source: Newcastle Herald. Sofitel Melbourne on Collins’ new restaurant, No35, offers stunning floor to ceiling views from the 35th level. The team is now complete with the recent addition of sommelier Kyriacos Christodoulou, joining restaurant manager Chris McNally, and chef James Viles. » No35: (03) 9653 7744 or www.no35.com.au Melbourne’s newest Crown hotel is due to open in early 2010, and will be named the Crown Metropol, in step with Melbourne’s long-term vision of being Australia’s leading conference and event city. The 658-room, 28-storey, $300m hotel boasts a day spa, a level-28 sky bar with outdoor terrace, dedicated spa accomodation, extensive meeting facilities and a futuristic design by Bates Smart that would make Fritz Lang proud. Crown Metropol will provide over 300 jobs and train a host of up-and-comers at Crown’s educational facility, Crown College, which includes a dedicated training restaurant for apprentice chefs. Who for their own good will steer clear of Gordon Ramsay’s first Australian restaurant, Maze, to open in the new Metropol. Hailed as a revolutionary online breakthrough, Nightscope.com offers another portal to entertainment information. Nightscope.com is a global entertainment search engine for sourcing venue information, events and promotions, no matter what the occasion, location or personal preference [finally, a hip hop-playing, vampire-themed wine bar!]. It’s free to register, and venues can upload and manage the details of their services, facilities, events and promotions, with userfriendly tools that require no web or HTML experience. For venue managers, owners and operators, Nightscope. com could be a useful marketing resource, and for patrons, the service offers individualised choices at the click of a mouse. Citigate Perth has unveiled its new $9m look following a refurbishment of the hotel’s lobby, guestrooms, Encore Restaurant and West End Bar. The 4-star hotel features six venue spaces for meetings, conferences and special events over two floors catering for up to 250 people. » Citigate Perth: (08) 9327 7000 or email@example.com Beer from an in-house brewery and wood-fired pizza are on the menu at the new Chifley Doveton. The 4.5 star, 128-room hotel is the third Chifley property to be opened by the Constellations Hotels group this year. As well as the accommodation and conference centre, the hotel includes the Coldwater Creek Tavern and its own boutique micro brewery. Constellation Hotels managing director Jonathan Wooller said the tavern and micro brewery were aimed at offering a unique dining and entertainment area. “We’ll have three types of beer made in the hotel and guests will be able to see first hand how it’s made,” said Wooller. The new hotel features four conference and function rooms catering for up to 300 delegates. Wooller said efficiency and sustainability were paramount in the construction and design of the Chifley Doveton. Environmental features include a solar hot water system,
Causing Ripples Ripples alfresco restaurants have been spreading across New South Wales since 2002. The first stone was thrown at Milsons Point, and the second recurrence was in Chowder Bay, with the third Ripples popping up recently at the Sydney Wharf precinct at Pyrmont. It’s a 60-seat open-air restaurant just metres from the harbour edge, looking out over Darling Harbour and beyond. Architect Sydney Koh designed the mostly alfresco space to fit right in with the wharf environment. A glass structure houses an open plan kitchen and 20m marble bar, and the deck area spills out onto the concourse, loosely defined by the sizeable collection of Punk chairs from Chairbiz. Husband and wife owners, Grant and Yvette Andronicus, have combined with chef Richard Park to serve up some tasty bistro fare with a French twist for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a sizeable wine list to select from, but the Andronicus’ also have a BYO option – a rare treat at such a prime harbourside location. »R ipples Sydney Wharf: 56 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW (02) 9571 1999 or www.ripples.com.au
»C hairbiz: 1300 888 434 or www.chairbiz.com
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venue » leading edge
efficient lighting control with dimmer switches and light sensors in the rooms and corridors, and basement level water tanks that capture rainwater and re-use it throughout the hotel. » Constellation Hotels: (02) 8962 2444 or email@example.com The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has won the coveted IMEX-2009 Green Supplier ‘Gold’ Award at the IMEX annual exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany. The MCEC is the only convention centre in the world to hold the six star rating and it is also the only convention and exhibition venue in Australia with both Green Globe and Waste Wise accreditation. » Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre: (03) 9235 8216 or www.mcec.com.au Victorian Premier John Brumby announced a new $5m marketing campaign to attract more interstate and international visitors to the state. Casting calls are open for the next middle-aged politician to mince a script on the arm of the effervescent Lavinia Nixon, paying $5m. Sydney’s attempt at creating a laneway bar culture has taken a dive with the closure and fining of the very first bar, Ching-a-lings, just two weeks after opening. Complaints from residents about noise forced the closure. And while the owners argued that the laneway culture would act as a barrier to the drunken antics of Oxford Street, residents say it only brought the problems closer to home. Ching-a-lings may not be entirely dead, but if it reopens, it will only have access from Oxford Street. The Melbourne Convention Centre was officially opened on World Environment Day with a sustainable menu. There are already 50 major international conventions and 190 national events booked in at the centre, with the centre’s environmental credentials playing a major part in its success. www.mcec.com.au Georgie-Porgie pudding and pie, Kissed the girls and made them cry Masterchef judge, and owner of Press Club and Hellenic Republic (see Issue 29), George Calombaris, is officially a sex symbol according to internet chatter and the girl’s trying to reserve him a table for two at his own restaurants. Calombaris doesn’t mind though, except that he’s got a girlfriend, but he reminds his fellow man that getting into the kitchen every now and then does pay off. An Order of Australia Medal (OAM) has been bestowed on Hotelier and Orient-Express Hotels’ regional managing director, Patrick Griffin, in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He’s only the third hotel general manager to be awarded the honour, but well deserved after 46 years in the industry. An amendment to the Beresford Hotel story last issue — The owner is Mr. Ashod Nassibian; Gerry Nass was the manager and had no part in the funding of the hotel or running it in its original state. In fact, he’s sinced moved on. And the Ballrooom is still being worked on with no launch date yet. Apologies to all at The Beresford Hotel. But on a lighter note, every Monday night is movie night on the courtyard big screen. So secure a VIP booth and get comfy down at the Beresford. Pascale Gomes-McNabb architect and designer of Cumulus inc. and Cutler and Co. as featured last issue has launched PGM Design Studio — a multi-disciplinary design practice focusing on interiors, furniture, and lighting for retail, commercial, residential and hospitality fitouts. Also, Splinter Society helped out Pascale with Cutler & Co.’s neat documentation. » PGM Design Studio: 0438 211 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org » Splinter Society: (03) 9419 4189 or www.splintersociety.com
All Fun & Games At The Belrose The Belrose is a hotel for families run by family-owned business, Bayfield Hotel Group, owners of several large venues including the Newport Arms. Bayfield has spent $10m on the redevelopment of the former President Hotel in Sydney’s Northern Beaches; including an open plan bar area, a bistro, and the largest independent liquor store in the area. But like kids boasting in the playground, Wayne Bayfield and his family are most chuffed about their latest toy — the largest ‘soft play’ playground for kids in any Australian hotel. Bayfield said, “We’re extremely proud and excited to announce the opening of The Belrose Hotel. We believe it will offer something for everyone but most of all, we have created a venue that will make life easier for families. And the playground will enable families and friends to catch up over a bite to eat or a drink whilst the kids play. For those with babies and toddlers, we also have a parents’ room, which is a rarity in any pub or hotel in Australia.” » The Belrose Hotel: 5 Hews Pde, Belrose, NSW (02) 9451 8585 or www.belrosehotel.com.au » Saltec: (02) 9707 2070 or www.saltec.com.au
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X-Color LED The X-Color LED is a compact spotlight combined with the versatility of colour projection. With output comparable to a 250W halogen and full DMX control the fixture is a lightweight (2.4kg) and low heat alternative to heavier incandescent lights. A four-button menu system with LED display makes the fixture easy to navigate, especially in low light. Lamp life is rated at 50,000 hours with the ability to run a number of units on a single 240V circuit. Razor sharp beams and no ongoing lamp costs make the X-Color LED a cost effective means to create stunning bursts of saturated colour that supersedes standard par projectors. Price is $599. » LSW: (02) 9718 4900 or email@example.com
Robe Spotted With Plasma The Robin 300 Plasma Spot moving head is the first in a generation of plasma lamp-based fixtures from Robe. The light fidelity lamp uses radio waves to create plasma inside a small glass bulb – emitting 95 lumens per watt. The unit offers excellent colour rendering and a lamp lifespan of 10,000 hours. The tiny lamp also enables the fixture housing to be very compact and features a motorised zoom range of 10 to 40 degrees. And the Robe Navigation System in its base includes a gravity sensor for screen auto-positioning.
The People’s Light GLP has introduced the Volkslicht, a small LED moving head armed with 60 Luxeon Rebel RGB LEDs — at a lower price point than its popular Impression heads. However, the basic colours are identical to those of the Impression 90 and the Impression XL, which makes it possible to combine the devices without risk of colour variation. The power consumption of Volkslicht is a mere 180W and in addition to the RGB model GLP has also produced a white model (with 42 cold white LEDs and 18 warm LEDs, allowing a continuously adjustable colour temperature). And the Volkslicht strobe offers between 1-10 flashes per second, with continuous 0-100 percent dimming.
» ULA Group: 1300 852 476 or firstname.lastname@example.org
» Show Technology: (02) 9748 1122 or www.showtech.com.au
Clay Paky Alpha 1500 The Alpha Beam 1500 is a moving light that produces a solid super-concentrated parallel beam. It’s often brighter than other lights in the same power category and reaches distances that can normally only be reached by spotlights of several thousand watts. And it’s much more than just a moving light beam, it also has an innovative focusing system and wide range of effects so that the beam aperture and graphics may be chosen as wished. » Lighthouse Distribution: (02) 9741 4377 or www.lighthousedistribution.com.au
The Worldâ€™s Purest White Imagine the Difference Pure White. One of nine new colours. Pure White
For our latest brochure phone 1300 119 119 www.caesarstone.com.au
Give Us A Wave The Wave stool is non-symmetrical and fluid, resembling a ripple effect paused in time. It’s perfect for hospitality; ticking all the boxes of lightweight, 100 percent recyclable and UV stabilised for indoor or outdoor use. The most unique design feature is the threepoint base, making it rock solid on any surface and easy to stack. It comes in a range of classic colours including aubergine, neon and snow. » Schiavello: 1300 130 980 or email@example.com
Benson Armchair The Benson armchair is part of a new range of lounge and club furniture by Cafeideas suited to commercial spaces and projects. It’s designed to be functional with high density foam, a solid timber structural frame and individual tube springs to ensure every chair looks as it should down the track. It’s available in a range of fabrics and vibrant colours with a choice of natural timber or polished chrome legs. » Cafeideas: 1300 223 343 or www.cafeideas.com.au
Eyes Only For You Eyes is a light upholstered chair designed by architects Johannes Foersom and Peter HiortLorenzen. It gets its name from the pair of buttons staring out from the back of the chair. It comes in four variations: as a regular chair with or without armrests and as a barstool in two heights (69 and 79cm). The chair is constructed from cold cured polyurethane foam ingeniously fixed on a steel foot.
A Seat For Madam Madam is a stackable armchair with an upholstered seat and plastic back. There is a range of style options including a cantilever frame or four-legged base, castors, linking devices, tablet armrests for conferences or no arms at all. The frame can be finished in either chrome or powder coated black, and available in a choice of upholstery including fabrics and leather.
» Corporate Culture: (02) 9670 0077 or www.corporateculture.com.au
» Chairbiz: 1300 888 434 or www.chairbiz.com
The Soho chair has a slightly tapered backrest, and is fully upholstered with feature stitching. Super slick and available in a huge range of fabric options, the Soho chair adds a punchy twist to a modern classic.
The Chess Piece stool suits many venue styles, specifically those with checkerboard tiles. The funky accessory is made of solid timber and finished in a walnut colour. Horseheads and bishop’s caps aren’t optional extras, but with a few papier mache crowns, your patrons could be playing a giant game of speed dating chess in no time. And at just 38cm high and 33 cm in diameter, they’re easy enough to maneuver around. » B Seated Global: (02) 9796 7400 or www.bseatedglobal.com.au
» Nufurn: (02) 9609 2233 or www.nufurn.com.au
Is it time for a facelift? Are you having trouble... • Attracting new patrons • Upgrading your venue • Competing with other venues • Creating a “WOW” factor • Reaching gaming and dining revenue targets Contact Innersphere now for a FREE consultation on 041 959 5656 Suite 2, 20 Cliff Street Milsons Point NSW 2061 P +61 2 9959 5656 F +61 2 9959 5539
LG Moves At 200Hz LG has released the LH50 series of LCD TVs, combining the high resolution of their full HD panels with TruMotion 200Hz technology. The LG 200Hz technology differs to others in that, as well as introducing new interpolated frames between each true frame at a best guess as to what should appear, the backlight flashes on and off to produce actual black frames between true and inserted frames. This reduces motion blur and improves the contrast level in dark scenes. The unit features four HDMI v1.3 ports as well as USB 2.0 for the connection of computers and other visual devices. The range has four models from 37- to 55-inches, with prices ranging from $2,199 to $4,799, as well as the 100Hz 32-inch model for $1,799. » LG Electronics: 1800 544 357 or www.lge.com.au
Mackie HD Speakers Mackie released its HD range of speakers to bring ‘high definition’ live sound to smaller systems. The HD1521 2-way and HD1531 3-way active loudspeakers both carry Class-D amplifiers that deliver up to 1800W of peak system power. The speakers incorporate crossovers, transducer time alignment and phase correction circuitry for a totally tuned system in the box. HD Series loudspeakers take this even further with acoustic correction processing that counters inherent physical attributes that can make typical loudspeakers sound honky or washed out. 15-inch neodymium woofers are matched with a 1.75inch heat-treated titanium compression driver, and the HD1531 3-way also features a 6-inch midrange driver and Mackie’s WaveFront mid/high horn system for wide, consistent coverage. Both speakers include a 3-band EQ with a sweepable mid and the all-wood cabinets feature 12 fly-points for horizontal or vertical rigging, or pole mounting.
Get Quad Creative Klark Teknik has released the DN530 Creative Quad Gate and DN540 Creative Quad Compressor. The two dynamics tools slide straight into any rack and provide four channels of gate or compressor effects that help control sound in a venue. The Quad gate has a unique Transient accenting feature that adds a boost to the signal when the gate is opened, adding extra punch to a kick drum sound for instance. The Quad compressor is a versatile compressor, but if ease of use is the order of the day, than set it to automatic compression and dial in the amount that sounds good to you.
» Music Link: (03) 9765 6565 or firstname.lastname@example.org
» Bosch: (02) 9683 4752 or www.boschsecurity.com.au
dbx At The Core The dbx SC32 and SC64 digital matrix processors are wizard driven via the HiQnet System Architect software, putting huge amounts of DSP power, routing and processing tools into the hands of the layperson. The units sport a total I/O of 32 and 64 channels respectively, with a collection of analogue input and output cards to choose from to suit your needs. Some of the processing tools are feedback suppression, ambient noise compensation, EQ, delay, and dynamics. There is also a range of control options, whether it’s HiQnet custom control panels, Ethernet, serial or other similar control devices.
L1 Compact The L1 portable line array loudspeakers are a class of powered loudspeakers that combine PA speakers and monitors into a single, portable solution. All L1 systems provide exceptional tone quality, wide, uniform coverage and easy setup. The new L1 Compact system is the smallest, easiest-to-set up L1 system. It features a 14-inch line array, two channels of ToneMatch signal processing circuitry (one for microphones and one for acoustic guitars), and integrated bass. It can be carried in one trip, set up in one minute, and the one speaker fills most room with sound. It’s great for musicians, DJs or as a general purpose portable PA.
» Jands: (02) 9582 0909 or email@example.com
» Bose: 1800 173 371 or www.bose.com.au
24/7 Support Australia Wide Australian Owned and Operated 100% Legal Music and Video Audio and Music Video System to suit any venue, we have 8 systems of choice. New Music Update twice a month. Custom Music Packages to suit your venue and Clientele. Complete your package with Plasmaâ€™s, LCDâ€™s, Projectors and Audio. We can supply and install it all.
pulse music video systems
08 9444 0094 | www.pulsemusicvideo.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org
VIP Surround Sounds Surround Sounds has been in the Western Australian AV install business for quite some time. With a strong foothold in home theatre and Hi Fi as well as being a Clipsal approved installer, the company has branched out into custom fit outs and created a division dedicated to it, Surround Custom. To show off their skills, the team of custom designers have put together a showroom that lathers on the VIP AV experience. The sound system comprises a Genelec 7.1 active speaker system (a brand synonymous with studio quality) and a Crestron 7.1 surround and control processor. A Sim2 C3X 3-chip DLP projector and Schneider-Isco lens project images onto the film grade Stewart 158-inch anamorphic Cine V microperforated screen, both products having won Academy Awards for technical excellence. The AV racks are neatly tucked away behind cavity sliding doors, and a motorised ‘Star Trek’-style door activated by a Clipsal C-bus DLT switch provides a suitable opening statement. 180m of RGB LED strip is at the mercy of a Crestron touchscreen controller, and 20 RGB LED pin spotlights highlight the wallpaper and acoustic diffusers. After an extensive tour through the formidable collection of input devices, visitors can finally relax on custom sofas or the reclining Spanish leather seats provided by Butler Interiors, and catch a flick. » Surround Custom: (08) 9389 7755 or www.surroundsounds.com.au
Slim Bezel 52 Inch Mitsubishi Mitsubishi has released the 52-inch MDT521S full HD commercial LCD display with a slim bezel width of 19.5mm. Geared towards digital signage, the screen uses Mitsubishi’s inbuilt CAT-5 transmitter/receiver pair to allow full HD multiple display operation over 200m. CAT-5 can also transmit control signals alongside the video signal without the need for another cable, making the linkup of large video walls (up to 25 displays) much easier, and the slim bezel minimises gaps in the image. Using Mitsubishi’s optional Colour Match software with an external analyser automatically calibrates the colour of a display wall, and the display can be installed in landscape, portrait or in a face-up position. » Mitsubishi Electric: (02) 9684 7777 or www.mitsubishielectric.com.au
db Jumps In The Arena db Technologies’ Arena series of passive two-way loudspeakers and subwoofers comes in sizes ranging from 8 to 15-inch speakers, and subs with up to 18-inch woofers. All boxes have threaded rigging points or pole mounts for a variety of mounting options, along with rotatable high frequency horns to get the right dispersion. The Arena Pro series steps it up a bit, with more power handling and higher quality RCF components. The speakers can be used as full-range boxes, mid-highs or monitors, making them a flexible choice. » CMI: (03) 9315 2244 or www.cmi.com.au
Geelong’s Got The Edge Geelong football star, Cameron Ling, is getting in on the footballer-turned-bistro-owner act while he can. But instead of a pokie-laden footy club featuring the same tribute band every Wednesday night, Ling and partners got onside with Geyer to put together a venue that’s as well coordinated as Geelong’s midfield. The Edge opens out onto the Geelong foreshore, making the most of the seaside locale with an extensive al fresco dining area. Geyer made the most of the space, foregoing a drop ceiling in favour of increasing the height of the space and exposing the services in a New York loft fashion. An abundance of natural light maintains the beachside appeal, taking the edge off the industrial aesthetic. The obvious challenge for any venue in the southern part of Victoria flaunting adjectives like ‘beachside’ and ‘al fresco’ is keeping patrons warm. To keep everyone snug, Geyer installed a bar around the interior perimeter that allowed the creation of smaller lounge spaces that surround an internal fireplace. The bar also services the al fresco area and is a visual centrepiece to attract passers-by.
» The Edge: 1/6 – 8 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong, VIC (03) 5222 2666 or www.edgegeelong.com.au » Geyer: (03) 9654 3644 or www.geyer.com.au » Café Culture: (02) 9699 8577 or www.cafeculture.com.au » James Richardson: (02) 9310 7155 or www.jamesrichardson.com.au » Hub Furniture: (02) 9217 0700 or www.hubfurniture.com.au » Music Workshop (AV): (03) 5221 5844 or www.musicworkshop.com.au
A Platinum Look Platinum Nightclub has undergone a facelift to fit its crown as Queensland’s Number One club spot as voted by Sony Inthemix for 2008/2009. It’s party central at Platinum, and patrons can’t miss the fresh cracked glass bar tops with their inbuilt glow effect nor the fibre optic chandelier gently lighting it from above, the elegant lighting complementing the classic yet chic new colour scheme. Lining the club’s walls are stylish, comfy booths enhanced by architectural lighting with fully customisable settings. The lowered dance floor creates a unique and free atmosphere to encourage an intimate connection between crowd and performer. The DJ stage is fronted by a complete setup of four ‘top of the line’ Pioneer CDJ1000 Mark 3s, a DJM800 pioneer mixer and two classic Technics 1200 turntables. The sound spills out from the AT speakers that surround the dance floor which is lit by Robe 250 and 575 scans programmed by E-Cue for creative control of the party experience. Pure Ultra Lounge, often described as the ‘real’ party within the party, is the exclusive room that sits inside the heart of Platinum. Pure is a comfortable alternative to the Platinum Main Room with its intimate setting, combining laid-back with luxury. Accompanied by its own bar and DJ Booth, with CDJ1000 Mark 3s, DJM800 pioneer mixer, The Pure atmosphere stands alone with its unique blend of tunes, underground house and minimal tech and is the perfect place to relax and mingle with ease. It’s no wonder that Platinum Nightclub hosts a loyal fan base of not only party goers but the world’s most talented DJs, such as Paul Van Dyk, Fedde Le Grand, Sneaky Sound System & Cut Copy just to name a few. Owner, Joey Lamattina, says stay tuned for stage two of the renovations. » Platinum Nightclub: 19 Victoria Rd, Broadbeach, QLD www.platinumnightclub.com.au
The Fragrant Gospel St Ali in South Melbourne is the first taste Melbournians will have of owner Salvatore Malatesta’s coffee, but he’s got plenty more options brewing. St Ali is evangelical about every step of the coffee process, from selection, to roasting, to stamping, to the barista working the machine at the end of the line. “You have to look at the process in its entirety,” preaches Malatesta. Malatesta, a high-end coffee specialist, is not partial to the word café when describing St Ali, preferring ‘sensory lab’ or something similarly evocative. St Ali is all about fresh roasted, single estate, direct trade coffee, and if it isn’t used within 10 days it gets turfed. Malatesta has worked hard at the ‘Brooklyn dumspter chic theme’, loosely translating as enviously cool vintage pieces worked into an industrial setting. He plans to open three similar stores this year, all with a bespoke coffee experience that guides customers through a variety of different machines, ranging from a Japanese siphon bar, a pour over bar, clover, French press, filter to espresso brewing methods that suit each individual palette. St Ali has also secured an exclusive Slayer Espresso machine, one of only ten in the world. It features unique geometric pressure altering technology for individual group heads that can be tweaked to suit individual origins, ensuring the full taste profiles for each region. The third store planned is a Federation Square project called ‘The Plantation’, and will incorporate an actual hot house where coffee trees will grow coffee cherries as part of the fitout. Malatesta’s hope is that by seeing how hard it is to make one kilo of beans that Melbournians will grow a new respect for coffee growers. » St Ali: 12 - 18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, VIC (03) 9686 2990 or www.stali.com.au » Photo: Diana Snape
Woodman Estate Woodman Estate, nestled in fifty acres on the Mornington Peninsula, is just over an hour from Melbourne, but it could be mistaken for a slice of English countryside. A sense of timelessness surrounds the Manor House (built in the 1980s but easily mistaken for the real thing), the wild gardens (once English and now a drought-tolerant mix of natives and hardy perennials), the tranquil lake and the pastoral surrounds, complete with a herd of cows. Run by Rick and Stephanie Woodman for the last 10 years, Woodman Estate caters for a variety of leisure and relaxation needs, including a day spa/lodge that has been providing the full range of spa treatments since 2003. Most importantly, Woodman strikes that rare balance between luxury and the intimacy of a small guesthouse or boutique hotel. As Rick puts it, “Our aim is to be luxurious and elegant and reflect the style of the place, but not so clinical that I’d be greeting guests in a bow tie or something… it’s a tailored approach; we’re going to fit in around our guests’ needs.” As we sat on the paved deck overlooking the lake, with the afternoon sun glinting off the water, Rick talked about the history of the property. “The property was formerly an apple and pear orchard but the children of the family who owned it didn’t want to go on with it, so, in the mid-80s, they sold the fifty acres. An English couple, who had just moved out here with their teenage kids, bought it and proceeded to build this home, because everybody would build a 75sqm Manor House and lake! Fast-forward to the late 90s and their kids had grown up — and my wife and I, we’d been working in the corporate world for years, decided to take it on … We really just jumped off the cliff so to speak.” With a 3-month old baby, Rick and Stephanie moved in to the Manor House, and over the last ten years and two more children they have worked steadily to turn an English fantasy of Manor House life into the relaxed, peaceful and multi-faceted destination that it is today. They initially added the Lakeside Chalets, which offer luxurious and discrete accommodation for couples, with private decks that stretch over the lake, a gas log fire, four-poster beds
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and a marble ensuite with a spa. In 2003 they added the spa retreat and lodge, where I was lucky enough to receive a massage tailored to my relaxation needs (which, given my car died on the way to Woodman, were fairly extreme…). There is now a range of dining areas — formal dining room, al fresco on the terrace, or the à la carte brasserie — with the menu headed up by master chef David Sarfaty, growing the Manor House’s reputation as a dining destination. The wine list is similarly impressive, featuring excellent local wines and knowledgeable staff; the kind of service that Rick focuses on as the key to providing a quality experience within a boutique environment. When I asked him about his future plans for the Estate he said, “Where to now? It’s about attracting quality people; we need people who can do everything, who can multi-task across the various things we offer here…” There is something quite organic about Woodman Estate, in the sense that it seems to have sprung from its surrounds rather than having been imposed upon them. This reflects Rick and Stephanie’s aim to cater for guests wanting an escape from the ordinary, without the often-overwhelming grandeur of resort-style accommodation. Rick Woodman: We don’t call ourselves a resort because it has that connotation of a big golf course and the like. So what are we? In our overseas marketing we call ourselves a ‘luxury country hotel’, because Americans in particular have a concept of that. But on a domestic level we’re calling ourselves a ‘country guesthouse’, which reflects the fact that we are small, and we provide that tailored guesthouse experience. venue: Do you have any plans for expansion? RW: Well, we live in interesting times at the moment. We’ll just keep plugging away at increasing our occupancy and just doing things genuinely well. Sometimes it pays to have a neutral gear! » Woodman Estate: 136 Graydons Road, Moorooduc, VIC (03) 5978 8455 or www.woodmanestate.com
UNIQUE LIGHTING FEATURES
www.diemme.com.au ph. 61 2 9550 0811
Iceworks Business heats up in the middle of a financial meltdown. Text: Mark Davie Photos: Christopher Frederick Jones
he owners of the recently launched Iceworks precinct had been supplying ice to local Brisbane operators for over 50 years and thought it was high time they got in on the act. The site used to be the original iceworks – they’ve owned it since 1926 – but for the last 12 years the prime piece of real estate, just across the road from Sun Corp Stadium, has sat dormant after they moved the business across town. That’s a lot of rugby fans (read: potential clientele), floating by on a weekly basis. Which is why they went the whole hog and turned Iceworks into a ‘precinct’. Designed by Base Architecture it comprises the main Iceworks Restaurant Bar & Lounge, Peak Fine Dining Restaurant and the basement Dowse Bar; and to follow will be 260sqm of office space, a fresh fruit, vegetable and deli market, a full-sized function venue, and some units. See, David McKillop, General Manager and spearhead of the development, has done his homework, and he reckons they’re not the only ones to twig to the steady stream of traffic into the area. A unit development has started up across
the road, one of many he envisages popping up over the next few years as more people cotton on. “People will buy it up,” he says. “There’s too much money in it for people not to.” That’s why he built the carpark for 80 spaces; he’s setting Iceworks up to be the community hub. It’s a 30year plan, and although McKillop concedes the next four or five years might be tough, he feels sure Iceworks will be around for decades.
so much as Sydney is at the moment but you know where it’s all going to end up. So it’s turned about that it’s all become about food. With that in mind, I said to the owners, “Are you here for five years and then going to flick it, or are you here for the next 30 years. If you’re here for the next 30, what you will need is food and a venue for longevity. You need a good established restaurant.”
Plans On Ice
venue: Why the multi-facetted super venue as opposed to just one big bar/bistro?
David McKillop: The owners freeze water for a living and have sold ice to many different operators for the last 50 years. They’ve always had this inclination that they should have one of the venues themselves. They’ve got the perfect location for events being just across the road from Sun Corp Stadium, and because they are the building owners they control their own destiny. I helped them design it from scratch. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for over thirty years and it has always been a liquor-driven scenario, but the industry just keeps getting hit with regulation after regulation, probably not
DM: Because that was the long-term vision of what will work. Plus there are four or five pubs that have big bars/bistros within the vicinity. I recommended we do this because now we have a general license venue without having the same license as a hotel. So if we really wanted we could put pokies in, bottle shops, we can do anything like that. Even though we won’t. But that’s the reality; our general license gives us the flexibility. But if 20 years down the track no-one’s eating out anymore, then that’s what we would do, you’ve got to give yourself the option. We could do one big bar with
reasonably priced food, but then we’d only be reaching one demographic. We also wanted to go to a fringe city, there’s nothing nice on this side of town; on the Storey Bridge side, there’s the Storey Bridge Hotel; in Newfarm there’s some nice places. But on this side of town the only nice places are a couple of good little restaurants that don’t cater for big numbers, and don’t cater for people willing to spend 150-200 dollars per head when they come to dinner. I can see the long-term profitability of the venue coming from having fewer customers spending more money. It’s a fine line because you may not get those few people. So it’s a higher break-even point, but as you get past that point your profitability skyrockets. The Peak Of Dining If all goes according to plan that cash cow could be Peak, Iceworks’ fine dining restaurant. Peak is set behind the main Iceworks Restaurant Bar and Lounge; trading the relaxed open-air Queenslander feel for a more intimate dining experience.
When McKillop recommended the owners incorporate food into Iceworks, he wasnâ€™t kidding around. Count two fully functioning restaurants and tapas downstairs.
DM: The fine dining restaurant is a tough call in this current economic market. You won’t get a fine dining restaurant to work straight away unless you’re a recognisable chef/owner/operator, and even then it doesn’t always work. So it’s going to be a struggle but we’re committed to the next two to three years to keep this fine dining restaurant. venue: Is it hard to alert people to the fact you have fine dining when so much of the precinct is dedicated to that relaxed Queenslander atmosphere of the main Iceworks Bar and Lounge? DM: The way we market it is we put on events to try to get bums on seats; things like rugby lunches, wine dinners and ladies lunch. We also book functions into here. We set aside the whole restaurant for a ladies’ 50th birthday, there were 30 people of the right crowd that will likely come back. It’s a totally different marketing strategy to The Valley nightclubs. A person who’s coming to fine dining doesn’t read your local rag, they’re not going to listen to radio; it’s all about the food. And that’s when you get the word of mouth out. The more people you get to come, the more that talk filters out. venue: Do you hinge a lot of promotion on the chef? Iceworks Restaurant Bar & Lounge
Peak Fine Dining
DM: Sure we do. We’ve had a lot of write-ups from critics who come in. On the website you’ll see we feature the chef but he’s not the only part of the establishment, in six months time he may not be here. So it’s not James Williams’ food, it’s James Williams the chef; the food comes from Iceworks or Peak. venue: Is there a high turnover rate for chefs in Brisbane? DM: I’ve found over my time that they usually last a couple of years generally. They move on if they get bored or don’t have progressive management above them that wants to change and evolve. Good chefs like to evolve; otherwise we may as well call them cooks if all they’re doing is cooking the same food day in, day out. We’re just about to change to our fourth menu and we’ve only been open five months. You don’t want them to feel stagnant, because then they get lazy and the food quality drops. It’s a creativity thing that they get excited about. Some owner/operator restaurants change their menu every week. They might say, “I’ve just bought the best steak for the best price and I want to serve it like this”, so they simply re-write the menu and print it in house, and that’s what we do here. venue: Is fine dining more about an experimental experience and something new, or do people want to come back and get a meal they’ve tried before? DM: I think 70 to 80 percent of people want to experience new food, so we do a seven-course degustation menu matching the food with wine. If they have the seven courses they’ve just about eaten the whole menu, so if they’re going to come back two months later you can’t give them the same menu again. But it’s a catch-22, sometimes they love one of those items and want to come back and have a main-sized serving of it.
Dowse Under Ice Heading down a lift to the basement bar Dowse, one expects to arrive directly at the door of a VIP entrance. Instead, the lift opens up into the carpark, a small walk from the door to Dowse. McKillop plans to use this layout anomaly to his advantage, pitching the idea of game day parties, where the carpark will be utilised as Dowse’s undercover outdoor space. DM: Dowse is more of a small function room, but down the track it’s going to be an event day area for 700 people where you can takeover the carpark. That’s once the density of the population in Brisbane’s Paddington expands like Sydney’s Paddington; it’s just too close to the city not to. And that’s when Dowse will be like a good corner bar that the locals frequent. It’s built as a little niche Paddington bar with a different crowd to what we’d get upstairs. Managing Against Meltdown Part of McKillop’s thirty years in Brisbane’s hospitality industry was spent running one of Brisbane’s most successful nightclubs, the City Rowers, so he knows his way around a large venue. McKillop walks venue through some of the steps he took along the way to get the Iceworks precinct off the ground. DM: I had some senior management employed from three months prior, and I let them off to work somewhere else. I had a full team of staff for two weeks before we opened. As a test one night we did 80 covers, 40 in Peak, and 40 in the Iceworks dining room. Friends of friends came in, we paid for the lot and they gave us feedback. We made sure we were ready to go before we opened, and that we weren’t testing our skills and our food on actual paying customers. At times we’ve done 10 for lunch, and other times we’ve done 100. It’s really hard to staff for that early on without knowing how many people you might get. So you’ve got to staff for at least 60, and if you get 100 it means you work a lot harder. venue: Did the feedback show up any one area that needed the most improvement? DM: Staff knowledge. It showed us what staff had actually listened to in training. We employed 25 percent more staff than we required, so we were in the position of being able to let some people go after those two nights. There was also some feedback on the food. We actually changed three items on the menu from that night, and changed the way we cooked a few things. You’re better off listening to customers, as they’re the one’s who come back the following week and pay. And it’s also down to your point-of-sale system. You don’t want that to fail on your first night. The only time you realise how important it is, is when it doesn’t work. We opened our doors on the Friday night, having just got our liquor license at four o’clock Thursday afternoon. The staff were ready so we opened the next day and had 480 people walk through. The only advertising we did was put a banner up out the front that said ‘We’re open’. venue: Was Iceworks completely ready before opening, or was it just a matter of getting the ball rolling and some money through the door? DM: We were ready a week before. Our opening
Not big enough? Well it’s got an alfresco area, just mind the cars.
was delayed more from not getting some approvals. We were in front of ourselves a bit, I’d written every business plan, every procedure, the menus were written over and over, we’d gone through the orders and re-did things so many times to make sure there was nothing we’d missed.
We opened our doors on the Friday night, having just got our liquor license at four o’clock Thursday afternoon.
I had my program sorted a year before we opened to get everything on deadline including when to order plates, cutlery and glassware, down to those tedious little things you need in fine dining restaurants. The cutlery in Peak is from France and is the only set of this cutlery in this style in Australia. The chairs came from Italy, and that lead-time is what holds you up. We ordered four or five months in advance. All our glassware is Riedel; the water glass, the wine glass, every glass we have is top of the range. All those sorts of things take time.
— David McKillop
» Iceworks: cnr Given Tce & Dowse St, Paddington, QLD (07) 3367 9800 or www.iceworks.com.au
» Base Architecture: (07) 3352 5899 or www.basearchitecture.com.au » Janie Collins Interiors (Furniture): (07) 3856 3697 or firstname.lastname@example.org » Stylecraft (Café Chair): (07) 3244 3000 or www.stylecraft.com.au » Caribou Group (Lighting): (07) 3390 6411 or www.caribou.com.au » Blok Furniture: (07) 3876 4422 or email@example.com
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Buffalo Club & Sky Room Owners of The Bowery reveal their split personalities. Text: Mark Davie
Photo: Corey E Sleap
he Bowery is a bar as committed to classic cocktails as an old New York, pre-prohibition speakeasy. Manhattans on the menu and Miles Davis drifting as lazily as a haze of Lucky Strike exhalations in the background make it the sensible choice for Fortitude Valley’s drinking elite. This timeless cocktail of, well, cocktails and jazz, has earned the bar a mantlepiece of accolades, but owners Cameron Birt and Stephanie Canfell aren’t resting on their laurels. Recently, the pair leased an entire three-storey building with an original plan to open a fine dining restaurant on the first floor, Buffalo Club, while keeping the power to screen for suitable tenants. Food is a new arena for the drinks maestros, but if anything, fine dining seems to complement The Bowery blueprint: classic and refined. But any modicum of control was gazumped by the chance to open a bar that went against everything the Bowery stood for, and the second floor Sky Room was born – the spoilt stepchild of the brand lounging about on lime-upholstered Danish furniture guzzling fruity drinks from hollowed out pineapples. It’s kitsch and surprising for anyone even close to a background involving The Bowery but it’s not out of place in Fortitude Valley, fine dining however is.
for the sake of our creativity, we wanted to take a step away from classics and start doing this fun stuff — Cameron Birt
venue: Fine dining is a fair departure from bars, how have you been finding the pursuit of food? Cameron Birt: It’s new to me. My background has been in bars so it’s been different. But I love it; I’m a big foodie. It’s a challenge because I’ve never had a restaurant before. We did have food at The Bowery for a while but it became obvious that it was too successful as a bar to justify keeping that space as a kitchen. After about 18 months, we ripped out the kitchen and turned it into a lounge area. Restaurants are a totally different ball game to bars. It poses a whole new range of challenges. venue: What areas are you finding most challenging? CB: Food requires heavier staffing and I’m used to doing things a certain way.
venue: Was it hard not to turn Buffalo Club into a bar-cum-restaurant? CB: It started off that way but, in the same way the clients dictated the kitchen be ripped out at the Bowery, they’ve been treating Buffalo Club more as a restaurant. There’s still a focus on the drinks; there’s some mixed drink matching going on and the quality of the bartenders is still up there, but the bulk of the menu is primarily matched with wines. venue: What was the reasoning behind opening two separate venues on top of each other? CB: We wanted control of the building so we could determine who went in on the ground level. To some extent it didn’t work out as best we planned it anyway on the ground floor, but we had some say, which is better than having a Hungry Jacks below.
Birt didn’t have to ‘hunt’ long to find inspiration for the Buffalo Club name. He’s into using the whole animal.
Sky High While Buffalo Club has a familiar feel to The Bowery, Sky Room is a whole other story. The name dates to the 1950s, pilfered from a bar that once lurked in the Honolulu Airport, the kind of tourist trap you could imagine decked out with the same teak panelling and collection of original midcentury lime green and orange Danish sofas. Birt and Canfell pulled together most of the design, with help from architect David Cohen to tie the space together. Birt is dedicated to his vision, and Sky Room’s staggering devotion to ‘retro’ has the perfect accompaniment of ‘60s titty-bar music, as Birt describes it, “Las Vegas Grind they call it. It’s a genre Tarantino uses a lot. Surfy guitar sounds, like that ’70s film, Vampiros Lesbos, that upbeat Hammond organ, pre-’70s funk”. Right. venue: The Buffalo Club has a fairly warm palette, similar to The Bowery, but the upstairs Sky Room jumps right out at you, did you get a little bored? CB: Design-wise it’s mid-century; John Lautner-inspired with lots of concrete, timber, and Danish furniture. I guess we wanted to step back a little bit from our classic background. We were always very focussed on classic drinks at The Bowery, and we wanted to have a bit more fun up here and take the piss out of ourselves.
Seasonality is the big key for both up and downstairs, the menu changes daily for the Buffalo Club restaurant and up here is very much a seasonal list. The Bowery sticks with citrus-based drinks because that was very much what was going on with classics, but at the Sky Room if something goes out of season then the menu changes. venue: Are punters welcoming Sky Room’s radical drinks menu? CB: Yeah. Although it’s hard to get the word out there, because by the time everyone expects a certain drink it’s no longer on the list. But it keeps it interesting and it keeps it fresh. The ability to get good produce in Queensland is amazing. We get great fruit so easily and if it’s in season it’s going to have the best flavour, which translates into the drinks as well. So there’s lots of fresh pineapple, and plenty of silly things going on with hollowed-out pineapples and pots — just taking the piss basically. The Bowery is five and a half years old now and Brisbane’s changed a lot since then. I guess it was right for Brisbane then and still is, and it’s doing really well. But for the sake of our creativity, we wanted to take a step away from classics and start doing this fun stuff. venue: How has Brisbane changed?
CB: I guess it’s not just Brisbane, but nationally cocktails are experiencing a renaissance and there’s certainly a lot more cocktail bars that are doing great things, aided largely by the availability of back bar products nowadays. When we opened The Bowery, the list of products you could get was only a quarter of what’s available now — that’s been a big change. The quality of bartenders has also gone up with a lot of ideas bouncing around between different venues and bartenders up here, so it’s a good little community for drinks. venue: So has The Bowery changed as well? CB: No, is the short answer. It keeps trucking along. It’s become a lot busier in the last five years. It’s an old mate in Brisbane. Even staff turnover is very low, so it’s been relatively consistent since we opened. venue: What do you think has given The Bowery concept its longevity? CB: I think it’s the result of just doing it consistently for so long, and when The Bowery opened Brisbane was very different. There were lots of stick drinks and muddle drinks, not many people were looking to the classics and that’s the sort of the bar we wanted. There was a lot of dance music playing in bars, and the idea of a jazz-focussed cocktail bar where you could hold a conversation was a new concept at the time.
And all the bartenders that we’ve ever had have been career bartenders, so it’s not necessarily a job to get you through uni, it’s people really dedicated to what they do. In that respect it was pretty easy to maintain that level of quality without losing anything along the way. Keeping It Quiet venue: Is it hard to maintain a loyal clientele in Fortitude Valley, a place that seems to be dominated by scores of young people and überclubs? CB: Well, the Bickle’s (owners of Cloudland, Empire, Press Club and Family) venues combined is a monolith that probably serves 25,000 people, whereas The Bowery is a 100-seater venue, so our demographic is a little older. And offering classics, well, maybe the drinks aren’t quite as accessible; there’s not a great deal of sweet, fruity drinks. I think at the Sky Room it’s slightly different again. It’s not necessarily more sophisticated but it’s a different experience to drinking in a 1000-person venue. We’ve got the luxury of being able to focus, and quality control is a lot easier in a small venue. venue: And was the decision to offer fine dining at Buffalo Club partly made to align yourself with that demographic?
CB: The restaurant’s demographic is probably a little older still. I mean, with Ryan’s (Squire, chef) food and the quality of the products used, it’s not a cheap dining experience. It’s not necessarily expensive for what you get, but it won’t be a drop-in eatery for students. Whereas they can come up to the Sky Room and have a drink, and we’ve got some amazing rums and whiskeys that other clubs probably won’t have.
Room mid-week where there’s a bit more space. We never wanted to poach Bowery customers per se, that’s why Sky Room looks so different and the drinks are so different. We’ve got a much bigger wine range and champagne list and the beer list is much smaller and more boutique. We wanted to create a space for someone who liked what we did but wanted to change it up a bit.
venue: Are you getting much cross-over between your venues?
» Buffalo Club & Sky Room: Level 1 and 2, Cnr Wickham & Brunswick St,
CB: Yeah there is. There’s always going to be that curiosity — people coming to see what we’re doing outside of The Bowery. And The Bowery gets incredibly busy on Fridays and Saturdays, so people that would normally steer clear of it on those nights are coming down to the Sky
Fortitude Valley QLD (07) 3216 1323 or firstname.lastname@example.org » Great Dane Furniture (Imported Original Furniture): (07) 3254 0527 or www.greatdanefurniture.com
www.stonini.com.au ph.61 2 9550 0811
Birds of a feather flock to a new Melbourne rooftop. Text: Mark Davie
erched on the top of the freshly hatched Emerald Peacock, and sister venue Red Hummingbird, are rooftops. Despite Melbourne’s unpredictable weather, rooftops have become the most bankable outdoor spaces in the last decade, and owner Sharon Sagoo and her partners, Kevin Singh, Thomas Kiltrop and Samuel Astbury, know it. So intent were they on a rooftop ‘topping’ their next venue’s wish list, they channeled good vibes Wayne’s World-style onto the rooftops of Melbourne. Emerald Peacock is more than double the capacity of their first venture, Red Hummingbird [see Issue 17], with room for over 350 across the rooftop, and the dining area, lounge and bar on the first floor. It’s part of their longterm plan, to take on bigger risks with more potential for growth… and rooftops of course. Shaking Your Tail Feather venue: What was the rationale behind opening another venue? SS: The Red Hummingbird has been tremendously successful, and my other partners wanted to find another challenge. There’s not a lot of potential for growth at the Red Hummingbird, we’ve maximised sales. The only thing we can do is keep reinventing ourselves because we’ve got a small space that allows that. Any one of these rooftops has potential to be a lucrative investment. If you do it properly you can create a fantastic ambience and environment, and really leave your mark on the city. We were actively looking and found this site two years ago. Kevin and I stumbled across the building while walking up Lonsdale Street. These three buildings had been Greek shops since I’d migrated from the UK in
the ’80s, and suddenly they weren’t there anymore and there was a big ‘To Let’ sign. I said to Kevin, “We should give them a buzz and find out about it, because there could potentially be a rooftop up there”. venue: Sounds fortuitous. Were you looking anywhere else at the time? SS: We’d had a look at a few other rooftops and we’d put cash flow aside thinking we could make someone an offer, but then we found this. We drove the people working on the building mental. We introduced ourselves and were really hungry from day one. Every single day without fail for a year and a half, we stood across the road in the third floor of Harvey Norman looking down like Wayne’s World saying, “This will be mine!” We really wanted it, so we were sending all these positive vibes. There was a lot of controversy with this building. There was an injunction on it because it was in the Greek precinct. No one was allowed to take over the tenancy for a certain period because it was given to the Greek community and the first preference was to go to them. But everyday we’d be up at Harvey Norman saying, “It will be mine!” We were given the opportunity back in July to put in a pitch, but we were ready because we’d already been collating mood boards for two years prior of how we wanted the venue to look. venue: Can you explain the mood board process? SS: A mood board is something you do in fashion, and interior
The rooftop’s the drawcard, but with sumptuous indoor areas like this, you may not even make it up there.
Any one of these rooftops has potential to be a lucrative investment.
designers do it as well. You start getting tears from mags and ideas of how you want the venue to look, or colours you like, swatches of fabrics, like a scrapbook, and then you put it together on a board. At Red Hummingbird, it started off being Moroccan downstairs, then we got the rooftop and everyone started saying it had a Balinese feel. The rooftop totally changed the place from what we had originally wanted it to be and how people interpreted the space. With Emerald Peacock, we really wanted to start off with a singular vision. We put our pitch through in July and everything was confirmed and dusted by September and we moved in here from October, then from October till the first week of March we were working hell for leather. From 7000 Above venue: Red Hummingbird’s deck is in full view of thousands of corporate offices, and is an appealing after work alternative. Are you finding a similar corporate appeal here? SS: That’s a great space, it popped up and we snapped it up and really, to be honest, not that much thought went into it. At the time of conception, the appeal was having something a little bit hidden. You’re going to be successful no matter what, Honky-tonks laid that framework for everybody else, that idea of being a little bit of a hidden secret. Corporates come into the Hummingbird on a Friday, but they come in earlier on in the day or night, and by eight o’clock they’re ready to see a show and have dinner or see their partners; that’s when the groovers come in. Here you’d be crazy not to acknowledge the corporate crowd, because they can look at you from across the road and think, “I know where I want to be on a Friday when I finish work, that’s where the action’s at”. A lot more strategic planning was put into place here; that comes with experience and location. Out of everywhere in Melbourne I think this is fantastic in terms of the free marketing you’ve got — there are 7000 employees looking down on our rooftop, and they love coming here. But we’re far more reliant on the corporate dollar here than at the Red Hummingbird: bigger investment, bigger venue, means a bigger risk. venue: What are some key tips for managing a rooftop? SS: There’s no point having people up here if it’s not comfortable; if you can’t monitor your crowd; and if you can’t ensure there’s responsible service of alcohol. So the comfort level is number one — you’ve got to limit the amount of people up on the roof. But because of what we’ve created downstairs and because we’ve got the kitchen, people quite often reserve tables and booths to sit and eat. That said, even if hardly anyone’s downstairs you’re still going to make your money. You’d rather run a profitable and sustainable business than have a business where people aren’t spending.
The Wallpaper Wrap Sharon Sagoo: For the first-floor area, we looked at cutting edge overseas venues to see how they worked spaces with a number of different zones. We found you can try and make it all work with one identity or create a standalone identity for each zone. We opted for the latter, so we’ve got retro dining downstairs, which is a more formal constructed dining area with vintage 1974 Cinzano wallpaper from Mayfair in the UK. That room started from the wallpaper. The design of both of our venues started from wallpaper and then we worked our way up from there. When this place was in the conceptual stage and we’d been asked to put forward our pitch and brief, I just came up with the name, “why don’t we call it the Emerald Peacock? It’s got a lovely ring to it, and green’s a lucky colour”. The name Red Hummingbird has been our strength, so why not build brands around it? It makes your business a lot more marketable if you want to sell because you’re thinking long term. So we called it the Emerald Peacock and the next challenge was to hunt down wallpaper. We went to our wallpaper stores and said we need to find wallpaper featuring peacocks and ended up getting a Shand Kydd, which is the company Princess Diana’s mother partly inherited; they’ve been around since the 18th century. We wanted a booth area and ottomans because it’s the easiest furniture to move around based on the functions that we have. It’s comfortable, it’s not expensive to replace, and also, we didn’t want to make it gender-specific. We wanted to make a venue that appeals to both males and females and is cosmopolitan — because Melbourne is very cosmopolitan. We were going for a sophisticated, but quirky and eclectic look on the first floor, and by virtue of the space and different zones it’s quite appealing to the eye. There’s a peacock mural painted by Bonsai, and the fireplace and candelabras greet you as you make your way from the ground floor entry. On the stair well wall our carpenter Andy Falconer put together our own version of that Italian tile feel, but it’s a bit earthier with all the different stained woods. You could do an Italian tile wall but you’re looking at over a $100,000, so that was not an option. When you come upstairs you’ve got the cocktail lounge to the right with wallpaper from 1973, again from Mayfair. It’s a gold foil wallpaper with beautiful French Parisian handwriting and guys on tricycles — really cute. To the left of that is what we call retro dining. That’s where we’ve got the Cinzano wallpaper, and then we’ve got the Cavaleri. Cavaleri is a San Francisco-based artist that takes vintage images and creates vintage posters of San Francisco, Italy, and France. We drove the wallpaperer nuts because we laid all the Cavaleri papers over the floor and said, “I want a little bit of this, cut a little snippet of that, that little bit needs to go here!” It looks like it’s all been thrown together but a lot of care has gone into throwing it together. Then you’ve got the Peacock Lounge, which is a bit more decadent, a little more opulent but not too over the top. I think there are lots of venues in Melbourne that can be over the top, which limits how you can market yourself. Being in Melbourne is about being cosmopolitan and a city should be there for everybody to enjoy. If you make the environment too elitist, you’re going to shut people off from the experience.
Emerald Peacock is run with more of a business head. I’m not saying the Hummingbird’s not, but it’s a smaller venue, smaller risk, and the business basically runs itself. This is a bigger investment, and there’s more risk. Between both businesses now we have a staff of 40 — that’s a lot of people to manage, so you really do have to have strong business acumen. You’ve got to realise that the decisions you make — the decor, the service you provide — if it’s not profit-driven then forget about it. You can have a venue that looks amazing — the world’s best venue — but if it isn’t making money, there’s no point is there? It’s not just about looking pretty, if you can look pretty and make money that’s fantastic. venue: You talked about ensuring the marketability of your venue, do you have plans to sell? SS: It depends on the offer. Anyone can get excited if someone throws cash your way. If you haven’t done long-term projections, you might get excited by that and say, “You know what, I’m going to take that deal”. But you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Money now, may not fully compensate you for all your potential earnings. Money doesn’t motivate all of our decisions. Yes every decision we make is profitdriven and constant cash flow is important to keep our heads above water, but we didn’t start this because of profit, we started it because we wanted another challenge.
» Emerald Peacock: 233 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC (03) 9654 8680 or www.theemeraldpeacock.com
» Eastern T Power (Lighting): 0417 308 274 » RTR Productions (Audio): (03) 9381 0530 or www.rtrproductions.com.au
» Vogue Upholstery (Furniture Upholstery): (03) 9410 4545 » JMH Consolidated (Furniture Construction): (03) 9416 4412 or www.hospitalityfurniture.com.au
Limes pops up out of suburbia like a fantastic portal to another world...with better design
amian Griffiths is an entrepreneur who sees the bigger picture in even the smallest opportunity. When he suggested that a normal residential block would be the perfect possie for a 21-room boutique hotel, he was almost laughed out of Fortitude Valley by Brisbane’s big boy developers and architects. But Griffiths stuck to his guns and fired a few over-opinionated architects in the process. By pure coincidence he happened across the perfect — and refreshingly open-minded — designer, Alexander Lotersztain, whilst reading a Melbourne newspaper article. And as luck would have it, Lotersztain was based in Brisbane. A few years later, and Griffiths finally has his boutique hotel, Limes, and his decision to work with an up-and-coming designer proved the right move as Limes is the only Australian member of select international hotel group, Design Hotels. Damian Griffiths: When we built Limes it was in the middle of nowhere. Even [the neighbouring] industrial complex wasn’t here; it was just old sheds that constituted a former Council Works depot. People thought it was an obscure location to build a boutique hotel, but it’s still very close to the action. Most boutique hotels in Sydney aren’t actually in the strip, but in the back streets. That was part of the inspiration for building Limes in this backstreet location. venue: How did you get involved with designer Alexander Lotersztain? DG: I’d become very disillusioned with Brisbane architects and actually terminated services of three of them because they couldn’t understand what I was doing. Most were too busy trying to give me business advice like, “Mate you’re mad trying to build that bar”. I was reading The Melbourne Age, which I rarely buy living in Brisbane, and there was a profile in their weekend supplement o n
the top five up and coming young designers in Australia. One of them was Alex and it said he was based in West End, Brisbane. I thought, “That’s got to be the guy.” I couldn’t find him in the phone book, so I went to his website and found an email address. He returned my email 10 minutes later and said he was happy to have a look at the project. And it worked out really well. He’s from Argentina, lived in Europe, worked in Barcelona and Japan, and has had his products exhibited in Paris. He understood straight away what I was trying to do and even took it to the next level. He did everything, including the branding. venue: Had he had much architectural experience before Limes? DG: Well he’s a designer not an architect so we retained an architect to fulfil the necessary building requirements. But Alex took on the role of a fully-fledged designer/project manager. He went above and beyond the call of duty of a designer. Putting The Boot In Boutique venue: What kind of travellers does Limes cater to? DG: From Monday to Friday it’s Sydney and Melbourne-based business travellers. It’s not a traditional hotel experience. In some ways we’ve almost returned to the old-fashioned private hotel where the owner-operator is there, but done in a trendy way. We’re not going to appeal to every business traveller, but more and more we’re appealing to people who’ve had their budgets cut back. They’re downgrading, but they’re looking at options that are not as drastic as going from the Sofitel or Hilton to a Flag Inn. On weekends our market is made up of party people going out in The Valley, because The Valley is such a destination, more people want to stay close to where the action is. It’s a hotel that has a really good mix of your corporates during the week, which are the backbone of any business hotel, and then on the weekend we’re not like many hotels that are just dead quiet. venue: What can you cut and what must you keep to satisfy corporate travellers in a boutique hotel? DG: The failings of a lot of boutique hotels can be attributed to trying to offer too much. We could never provide the dining experience of an award-winning restaurant, so we have a tapas kitchen that opens when the bar is operating and provides room service. We bring in our room service breakfast from a nearby cafe, Cirque, as it’s more economical not to have chefs and kitchen hands working around the clock for 21 rooms.
They’re the things — good bed, free internet, a good bar, and that personal old-fashioned approach to business. It’s almost like staying at someone’s house — Damian Griffiths
We then looked into what travellers really want. Businesses travellers want internet so we made it free. Everyone knows what internet costs these days; nothing — it’s like fresh air. They also want a really good bed, so we put king-sized beds in the rooms, not doubles. A lot of hotels go on and on about the thread-count of their sheets, but at the end of the day it’s the pillows and the mattresses you’re sleeping on. So we invested in feather beds that came in from Singapore, the same ones used by the Taj Hotel Groups. Female travellers like bathrobes and a hairdryer, so we made sure we had really good quality hairdryers. Guests also need somewhere to work, so we made a desk as well. We also thought that guests want personalised treatment, so I like to be around to talk with the guests and deal with problems.
Guests don’t want to be stuck in a room, there’s got to be some kind of interaction where people can meet. So rather than create a tiny hotel lobby bar, I decided to do a rooftop bar. Because the space on the site was so limited the only place to do it was up on the roof. And I also wanted something that brought the locals of Brisbane to the hotel. They’re the things — good bed, free internet, a good bar, and that personal old-fashioned approach to business. It’s almost like staying at someone’s house. You can Member only do that in a small hotel, By Design I couldn’t meet a lot of venue: How does guests in a 200-room being a member of place. the Design Hotels group benefit you? DG: Design Hotels was started by a guy in Germany who saw the need for boutique hotels to get together and market themselves collectively to drive corporate and leisure business. You apply for membership and get assessed on design focus and features; they’re not about luxury. Obviously certain elements must exist in the hotel, but it’s really about cool properties that have some point of difference. It’s a select collection of about 150 properties around the world. As a small hotel being a part of a group is important for branding purposes because you don’t have the resources to have a big PR company behind you. I went
» Limes Hotel: 142 Constance St, Fortitude Valley, QLD (07) 3852 9000 or www.limeshotel.com.au
» Alexander Lotersztain: www.derlot.com
to Barcelona and they understood the business of small boutique hotels very well; they looked at the plans and ran with it. venue: After the early setbacks do you now feel vindicated? DG: I do. A lot of people said to me that it was too small a site. I went to three architects in Brisbane who couldn’t get their head around what I was doing. They said it was too small and not viable. They were so used to developers coming to them and building massproduced, boring, serviced apartment complexes and calling it a hotel. This one guy in Brisbane who is probably the largest developer said to me, “What the hell are you doing mate?” When it was finished, he came back to me and couldn’t apologise enough for having rubbished the project. And that’s what makes it viable. I bought a cheap, tiny 235sqm piece of land with a run down house on it and built a boutique 21-room hotel with a bar and got it all council-approved. People couldn’t quite understand that it could be done. People just assumed that a hotel needs 2000sqm of land and a multi-storey carpark. They don’t understand that a business doesn’t need onsite parking and that most people travel to a hotel by cab.
Tomi Cavic hopes his new venue will have locals’ tongues wagging to the groove. Text: Ella Smith
anberra residents enjoy the highest number of eateries per capita so drawing a loyal local crowd is paramount. The way to do that — be a one-stop shop. Not satisfied that the trifecta of bar, restaurant and lounge at Tomi Cavic’s latest venue, Tongue & Groove, would satisfy everyone; Cavic is also having a stab at the coffee day trade. “Tongue and Groove is designed for customers wanting options,” designer Paul Kelly explains. “We want people to feel they are a part of something Canberra hasn’t seen before — an everyday place that people can make their own. The trick is designing a venue where the same person can go to the same space on a different day, or a different night of the week with a different friend, every day of the week.” Accessibility is key to the success of Tongue and Groove’s multiple offerings. Cavic has located the kitchen area in a central position for fast service, allowing chef Kurt Neumann to plate up plenty of tapas and wood-fired pizzas while focussing on slower-cooking French mains that attract more sophisticated diners. The bar is accessible from three sides and two-storey LED backlit, glass cabinetry showcase top shelf bottles behind the bar. “The back of bar display is a good marketing tool. We can sell the space and get competitive deals from suppliers,” explains Cavic. Tongues Out Tongue and Groove started life as a concrete shell with two distinctive ‘Y’ frames. A healthy dose of uplighting has converted the bare, supporting devices into sculptures in their own right, becoming a central feature of the main dining and lounge space. Hanging between the two frames is a custom sculpture containing 2,000 interchangeable A4 sheets in stainless steel frames, held up by bulldog clips. On the rear wall is a hand painted mural by Canberra artist Tiffanie Brown that’s impossible to miss. Another talking point is a pendant lighting truss above the bar area which sits high during the daytime, giving the venue a light, airy and open feel. At night, it lowers from two metres to introduce a more intimate mood. “Tongue and Groove is built on three or four ‘wow’ factors – our custom mural, the pendant lighting truss, the Y frames and the bar tower that lights up at night,” Cavic explains. “Each of these elements helps create a buzz.” Humanising the six metre high retail space was critical to Tongue and Groove’s success according to Kelly. Burnished polished concrete with distributed basalt stone to the central walkways creates a ‘worn-in’ feel. Leather chesterfield lounges and wingback chairs are the lounging options, with Bentwood chairs and Corian tabletops for the diners. Soft
Tongues Wagging — AV Nova Multimedia supplied a Quest Audio music system and amplifiers that distribute background music throughout the venue via speakers housed in eaves, with ceiling speakers taking care of the outdoor dining zone. The venue’s main live sound system is comprised of RCF mid/high speakers and subwoofers fed by a Pioneer portable DJ system that houses two CDJ1000 CD players, two Technics SL1200 turntables and a DJM800 mixer. The bar area features an HD commercial 58-inch Panasonic plasma screen. Nova Multimedia worked closely with Design Quintessence to install the moving pendant lighting rig with 42 custom pendants on a staging truss that raises and lowers the lights from a suspended height of 5m during the day to 3m at night. » Nova Multimedia: (02) 6239 2722 or www.novamultimedia.com.au » Group Technologies (Quest, RCF): www.grouptechnologies.com.au
leather ottomans sit adjacent to tall American walnut benches, and a black, six-metre high wall and acoustic shield soak up unwanted noise. Kelly’s inspiration for this functional feature originating from the huge treaded ‘sandcrawler’ fortresses of Tatooine in Star Wars. And windows on the side adjacent to the lounge area give customers a connection to the outdoors where they can gaze off into a galaxy far, far away. “It’s about giving people something to look at rather than at each other. Because there is so much happening it doesn’t depend on people to create atmosphere. We’ve created what is essentially an entertainment complex with everything from DJs to bands, fine dining, cocktails, lighting levels – it’s full-stage drama,” says Kelly. “It’s a balancing act of what looks good, works well, scares people and attracts people: getting all sides of the see-saw perfect.” There’s plenty happening behind the scenes to cement Tongue and Groove’s place on locals’ entertainment calendar. Cavic hosts a special ‘Industry Night’ on Sundays to generate word of mouth from the hospitality set. “We’ve still got plenty to do. Our dining crowd is strong but we’re still building our lunch crowd.”
» Tongue & Groove: Cnr Genge & Bunda St, Canberra City, ACT (02) 6230 4455 or www.tandg.com.au
» Paul Kelly Design: (02) 9660 8299 or www.paulkellydesign.com.au
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