Bertie Wine Bar bursting on the scene in Bassendean was not the only stellar opening of 2023. Here’s the other four that make Bar & Bites’ Top 5 new venues of the year.
EDWARD & IDA’S
I know, I know. I’ve banged on before about this neighbourhood bar that does nostalgic plates, blasts equally retro music and has a super cool cocktail bar in the basement.
But Edward & Ida’s, the latest venue from Nieuw Ruin and Foxtrot Unicorn mastermind Dimitri Rtshiladze, is simply that good.
The street level bar on William Street is ideal for a cold beer, vibrant wine or bespoke cocktail while you perch on a bar stool, talk some toot and watch the world go by — it’s like the saloon bar in your favourite pub from any year between 1950 and today. Love all the vintage beer paraphernalia.
Blaze Young’s kitchen dishes up the best scotch eggs in town (sorry Bertie!), as well as schnitties, beef and Guinness pies, prawn cocktails and Patagonian toothfish burger (think: Filet-O-Fish).
Throw in a back courtyard for boozy arvos and D&M’s, plus that subterranean bar full of miniature bottles and taxidermy, and you’ve got the perfectly imperfect pub. No wonder it’s often chockers with hospitality folk on their night off.
There was no pressure on Miles Hull and the Dark Horse team. The hospitality honcho was only opening a venue in the big corner space of One Subiaco, the development on the site of the old Pavilion Markets on which the beleaguered suburb had hitched its hopes of revival. No pressure at all.
Subiaco Continental turned out to be not just a terrific addition to the new kids on the block — Shui, Lums Wine Bar, Bar Loiter, La Condesa and the refurbished Subiaco Hotel — but also an all-purpose bistro/tavern for locals and blows-in alike.
If you’re one of the few lucky souls who still has time for a long lunch, then the menu at the new Conti has share plates, starters, pasta, big plates and heaps of seafood options to soak up the martinis.
Need a quick workday lunch? Grab the juicy Continental Cheese Burger (and a sneaky craft beer).
A glass of wine with a few snacks or charcuterie? Or just a coffee? Too easy.
While Subi Continental isn’t the most intimate venue, it’s just what the doctor ordered for this part of town.
If Subiaco needed Subi Continental, then South Perth was howling, begging and pleading for something like The Station.
The latest project from the Nokturnl group responsible for mega-successful drinking and dining precincts The Old Synagogue and The Beaufort is a two-fer. There’s a contemporary pub built around the former police station, a place for beers or white wines in the sun this summer, with a menu of elevated grub, tasty burgers and pizzas plus a few surprises (salmon niçoise salad, prawn roll, ratatouille pizza).
Downstairs there’s Ludo, a 140-seat European-style bistro named in honour of chef de cuisine Ludovic Mulot, who brings experience and dishes from Rockpool and his birthplace of France to the table.
Highlights of the seasonal, share plate-driven menu include the lobster eclairs, beef fillet tartare, sole meuniere and open beef bourguigon pie.
The wine list is similarly mouth-watering with more than 170 bottles spanning European, particularly French, favourites alongside local heroes and some oddballs. Some all-time great champers too.
Locals will flock but expect folks from all over to report to The Station which only officially opened a week or so ago.
Taking over the iconic Roma Cucina in Fremantle’s West End was no small order for hospo power couple Emma Ferguson and Dan Morris, operators of Northbridge’s popular No Mafia and city stayer Balthazar, and parents to two young girls.
After all, Frank and Nella Abrugiato had fed the port city’s vibrant Italian community, plus the likes of Bob Hawke and David Bowie, for 69 years.
After considerable thought, Ferguson and Morris bit the bullet, gave the joint a bright, stylish makeover (just don’t look out the back) and reopened Roma as Vin Populi, or “wine of the people”.
An apt name for an Italian ristorante from an Italian wine-loving couple of Aussies. The pasta and antipasti at Vin Populi ain’t too shabby either, whether you’re sharing a plate of local occy or Wagyu bresaola, or tucking into your own bowl of rigatoni amatriciana or tagliatelle osso buco.
One of B&B’s favourite dishes of the year was the head chef Leonard Crescenzi’s gnocchetti sardine, a salty sweet tribute to Sicily and Freo’s own fresh sardines.
Like all these recent openings, Vin Populi had a real buzz. Diners pounced on tables and staff had a bounce in their step that only comes from the knowledge you’re doing something right.