The West Good Food Guide 2014
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+ By West Australian Newspapers
The restaurant sector became more enlivened throughout 2013 with many new openings and more than a few closings. The landscape is shifting. As we forecast at the beginning of the WA restaurant sector’s “great leap forward” in 2009, the new, savvy breed of restaurateurs – whether they be small, committed partnerships or larger corporate investors – have ushered in change at a record pace.
And while these professionals bring with them higher standards, more passion and greater enjoyment for their customers, they also, unwittingly, are swinging a wrecking ball as they assert their influence on the dining industry. They are demolishing the old, the tired and the entitled restaurant businesses that’ve been hoovering money out of our wallets for years and giving nothing back. In short, the new breed has lifted standards so high, so fast, that the old-style restaurateurs have had to re-think their businesses or go broke. Many have been subject to the latter.
And while no-one would wish financial ruin on anyone, the demise of the “old guard” is part of the cycle of improvement. And let's face it; in Perth we had a lot of catching up to do.
Some of the most welcome changes in 2013 have come in small packages as our small bar and restaurant drinking laws continue to evolve. It’s been interesting to see the amount of small bars that have opened with a strong emphasis on food. From a mere trickle in the first few years, a flood of new bars has opened, with 2013 being a watershed year in both the volume and quality of start-ups.
We seem to be saying it every year: “We’ll never see another year like it”. 2013 proved us wrong again. Despite a downturn in the resources industry, the hospitality sector has kept growing and, it’s fair to say, the growth has been built on more interesting restaurant and bar projects than ever before: whether it be a quirky underground whiskey bar with a stuffed beaver as a mascot and slow-cooked ribs to die for or a coffee-centric business in an old West Perth motor garage that feeds and waters hundreds of customers a day in delightful surroundings, the transformation of the industry is at full pace.
We won’t make any predictions for 2014, but then we don’t have to; we’ll be too busy enjoying all the new bars and restaurants of WA.
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