Since getting to Perth in 2012, John Parker has been a busy man. First he opened The Standard, then came Halford at State Buildings, followed by Saint Larry next door at the new library. For his latest venture, Parker’s turning his attention to the art gallery and opening Arthouse, an edgy yet accessible bistro that’s as suited to weekday lunches as it is to pre-show dinners or post-show drinks.
Taking over the former Caffissimo cafe near the gallery entrance, Arthouse will echo the gallery’s look. Its walls are painted the same shade of white and will be festooned with prints of current exhibition pieces. A giant 120-kilogram mirror ball hangs from the ceiling. The look will be no less arresting outside, with a vegetable and herb garden planned for the gallery’s derelict statue garden.
“How many art galleries in the middle of a city can boast their own vegie patch?” says Parker. “For me, this is the heart of Perth. For a long while, I think it’s been neglected.”
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Parker describes the Arthouse food as contemporary bistro cooking that’s “fancier than a cafe, but more relaxed than a restaurant”. Chase Weber, chef at The Standard, is overseeing the menu, while Jared Hargreaves is in charge of the kitchen’s day-to-day. Melbourne’s Locale Espresso will supply the coffee with small-batch local roasters in the rotation.
For those chasing something a little stiffer than a flat white, a tightly edited wine list will offer a dozen reds and a dozen whites, predominantly of the local, small-scale ilk (think Dormilona and Express Winemakers). The cocktail offering will be light and breezy and will include some favourites from The Standard and Halford.
Arthouse opens on Sunday June 19 and will serve brunch and lunch. A dinner service will be introduced at the end of July.