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GRAB A BITE By Brodie Cowburn

J

im and Nicole Johnston are a peninsula pair aiming to provide a fresh new dining experience to the people of Blairgowrie through their new restaurant, Panda. Co-owner Jim, an experienced hospitality professional, said that the husband and wife duo moved away from similar ventures in other parts of Victoria in favour of creating something new for people on the peninsula. “I grew up in Melbourne and had a couple of bars and restaurants in the St Kilda and Brighton areas. I married my wife Nicole, she’s a Rye girl and wanted to come back closer to her family down here, so we sold our places there and came home. We’ve been waiting four years for the right venue, but finally we found the right fit. In June this year we opened Panda, naming the restaurant after one of our dogs,” he said. In opening a new restaurant in Blairgowrie, Jim hopes to create a personalised experience for local residents to enjoy. To do so, Jim

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September 2018

said he aimed to source food and beverages from local areas as well as draw inspiration from the local region for some of the dishes on the menu. The home grown inspiration is especially noticeable in the beverage list at Panda, with a number of drinks available sourced from some the peninsula's most prominent wineries and breweries. “We want to really focus on the locals at Panda Blairgowrie. We really want to get to know them and look after them when the busy months come. We want to provide a focus on service and high quality that we think Blairgowrie is ready and really looking for. We hope we can get a bit of a food precinct going in the area and create something the locals will love,” Jim said. “Our menu is shaped around the idea of sharing, and consists of modern Australian style cuisine. Our mains and burger section is packed full of awesome foods you wouldn’t cook at home. We used peninsula inspired organic and free range foods wherever possible when putting together our menu. Our beverage menu

Profile for Peninsula Essence

Peninsula Essence September 2018  

Peninsula Essence September 2018

Peninsula Essence September 2018  

Peninsula Essence September 2018

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