Jason M Jones may be the first restaurateur to open a cafe for a community that doesn't live there yet.
The man behind Entrecôte, Second Home and The Stables of Como, along with his business partners Ramez Abdulnour and Raju Ghimire, saw an opportunity to get in on the ground floor in Woodlea, a new residential development at Rockbank in Melbourne’s west.
Thirty-five minutes from the city along the Western Freeway, the nascent suburb is currently a single strip with a rash of scaffolding and half-poured foundations. But within the next seven years, thousands of home owners will make the field their home. And, as they do, Jones’s new cafe, Go West, will be there to serve them Rosso Coffee, Ottolenghi-style salads and homemade sausage rolls.
Property group Mirvac – a part owner of the new Woodlea estate with Victoria Investments and Properties (VIP) – approached Jones to be a part of their display village. It is an innovative arrangement between a hospitality operator and a residential developer.
“It’s hard to convince someone it’s going to be a good idea when you’re standing in a paddock with red dirt everywhere and nothing else at all,” Jones says. “I have a good imagination, but it wasn’t so good when I was standing here a year ago. But now I’ve seen their vision, I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity. It’s untested waters.”
Woodlea marketing manager Lora Djurdjevic says Mirvac and VIP wanted to raise the bar on how new residential communities are planned and delivered, and make sure essential facilities are delivered up-front. Woodlea is something of a test case, and if the approach is a success, it might be replicated for other developments.
Designed by Jones’s partner, Brahman Perera, Go West has a Scandinavian feel, with a combination of rosewoods and light woods, handmade pendant light fittings, snow-white marble and leather banquettes with denim cushions.
Chef Ghimire’s menu features hearty breakfast fare, such as porridge with autumn quince and the “Obligatory Smashed Avocado”, as it is literally named. Lunch includes a cheeseburger with a grilled O’Connors Beef patty and Bloody Mary aioli. Everything can be ordered – and delivered to residents’ doors – via an in-house app.
The name, of course, is a nod to the cafe’s location, and to the Village People’s utopian 1979 anthem: “Go West; life is peaceful there”.
27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank
Mon to Sun 8am–4pm