There’s highly anticipated. And then there’s Subiaco Continental.
Described by owners of Dark Horse Hospitality Group as a “high-end tavern”, the new venue on the corner of Rokeby and Roberts Roads in Subiaco is already a hot spot — and it’s not due to open until the end of this week.
That’s partly due to the prime location but also because Subiaco Continental has taken four years to build since being given the green light as part of Blackburne Property’s One Subiaco redevelopment.
Perth foodies and barflies will be most interested in the ground floor, home to the 400-capacity restaurant and bar, which will be open seven days a week from July 7.
Venue manager Katie Chan, who has previously worked at the State Buildings and the Leederville Hotel, says locals are already clamouring to get in.
“Every day we probably get 30-40 people popping their heads in,” she laughs. “I’ve opened venues before and I’ve never had that kind of response from a community.”
She said the biggest challenge with a space as large as Subiaco Continental was getting enough staff.
“Borders are open, people are coming in. (We’re getting) lots of applicants now, but not a lot of people have been in Australia for more than six to eight months, so language barriers are a lot more prevalent.
“But there’s people who have a lot of experience overseas, so we’re working out how we can utilise those skills without having those language barriers when it comes to service.”
Chan said Subiaco Continental aims to be an inclusive venue.
“We want everyone to feel welcome. We don’t want it to be too high-end or pretentious,” she says.
“You can sit at the bar and have a bowl of chippies and a beer, or you can come and have a really beautiful dining experience.”
While the alfresco seating that wraps around the corner will be popular on sunny days, inside the venue has a clean, airy and relaxed feel thanks to neutral tones and liberal use of sage green.
The high, angled tables at the Rokeby Road side of the tavern will be in high demand, while staff beaver away behind a long bar built out of local limestone.
Dark Horse managing director Miles Hull described Subiaco Continental as a European-inspired bistro and tavern with a New York Village attitude.
The Swiss hospitality school-trained bar whisperer, responsible for opening Little Creatures, the Alex Hotel and the State Buildings (among other venues), took a punt four years ago that Subiaco would bounce back.
Hull said with a dense inner-city population of residents and office workers, a great high street in Rokeby Road and a nearby train station, Subi wouldn’t wallow in the doldrums for long.
After opening Dark Horse’s Fremantle venue Jetty Bar and Eats two years ago, Marcello Segalina will be head chef at Subi’s new star attraction.
His menu will put a modern spin on bistro offerings with raw seafood section, seafood platters, lobster mac and cheese, a “classic cheeseburger” and a 600g aged rib eye steak with cafe de Paris butter and red wine jus for those wanting to really settle in.
The kitchen will be open all day with a supper menu for theatregoers wanting to dine after their show.
“I think the location is great,” Segalina says. “I’m really excited to be part of one of the venues that is bringing Subiaco back to what it was years ago.
“When I first saw this venue, I just fell in love with it,” he continues. “It’s going to be a really good environment for me to shine a little bit and play around with the food. We’re going to focus on classics from Europe.”
Highlights will include confit duck with a cannellini bean cassoulet, a “really, really good” steak tartare and his own spin on oysters Kilpatrick.
“We’re going to try to source everything locally and have zero wastage,” Segalina says.
Meanwhile the concise wine list will feature local WA and smaller Australian producers, there will be 10 approachable beers on tap and an equally unfussy cocktail list, including a “porn star bellini” and sbagliato.
Dark Horse’s stable of venues also include the Quarter Acre Hotel in Applecross, Ruinbar and Pretty Good Pizza in Northbridge, as well as the recently opened Southcamp precinct in Dunsborough.
The WA hospitality group are also overseeing the $40 million transformation of the Rottnest Lodge into The Lodge Wadjemup.