Ph: (08) 9385 2411
The New Cottesloe Local
Barchetta is a small restaurant, built mainly of glass, perched on the Cottesloe dunes overlooking the beach.
It’s unassuming and friendly. Owners, Steve and Sally Simpson are cultivating a loyal clientele and also welcome newcomers of all sorts, for casual snacks or hearty meals.
It’s not unusual to find half the wooden tables occupied by people in suits while other patrons are in sarongs and board shorts, with sand still clinging to their feet, or in winter rugged up in their beach walking warmies.
The Barchetta kitchen opens early and the early birds start arriving for coffee from 6.30am Monday to Saturday and 7am on Sundays. Summer and winter there is always a range of breakfast options available, for early business meetings and for locals who stop in to read the paper over a brew and a bite to eat.
At about 11.30 the lunch menu kicks in, and like all the Barchetta food it is driven by a focus on fresh local produce. Winter menu highlights include a stunning ‘Duck 2 Way’‚ with a confit leg and a pan-fried breast, served with a ginger and sweet potato mash and star-anise stock, and lamb loin rolled in cumin with minted mascarpone on roasted beetroot.
For more casual visitors there is also gourmet pizza menu available for dine in or take-away. Very reasonably priced (between $11 and $24) they range from a simple Bianca, featuring just rosemary, garlic oil, sea salt and mozzarella to options including Moroccan Lamb, Spanish Chicken and Smoked Salmon. There are also three other vegetarian pizzas featuring delicacies such as dukkah, fetta and truffle oil.
Steve said the pizza menu had become a firm favourite with many Cottesloe locals who appreciated the hand-spun short crust dough and home-cooked sauces. Feedback from the clientele has played a big part in shaping the evolution of the restaurant over recent months.
Steve and Sally bought the business in September 2009 from Kim Gamble, who had revamped the old North Cottesloe Kiosk and established it as an Italian restaurant. Before then Steve and Sally had been running the Outram Café in West Perth, having chalked up 15 years experience in food and hospitality running a busy gastro pub in England.
Steve and Sally are now bringing some of the UK gastro pub wisdom to Barchetta and establishing a cheerful community vibe. He said: “It’s important to us that people feel at home here, like it’s a place they can bring their friends and family and know they they’ll be welcome, the food will be good and they’ll have a good time.”
Their vision includes mellow live music, cosy winter afternoons and a menu that changes often enough that there is always something new for the regulars. He’s also interested in food that’s fun to talk about, and that includes a move away from the typical restaurant wine lists and a range of beers selected to compliment dishes, including tapas-style tasting plates that are good to share.
He said they’d realized that while the stunning view was a drawcard during the day, at night they had to stand alone as a restaurant and that meant the kitchen had to be producing top quality food. To achieve this, he hand-picked his kitchen crew and works with them on ensuring the standard is kept high.
In addition to its breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings Barchetta can also be booked out for functions for up to 110 people, offering a cocktail style menu to suit most budgets or a sit down function for up to 60 with the room decked out in white linen, with sparkling crystal and silver tableware.
Steve suggested that if you have your heart set on a Barchetta meal on weekends it can be worth calling ahead to reserve a table and to check that it isn’t booked out for a function. Otherwise, next time you’re at the beach just stop in. Who knows, it might become your local too.
By Dr Kayt Davies