As the right-hand-man of hospitality veteran Nic Trimboli, Daniel Goodsell has been involved with some of Perth’s best-loved eating and drinking establishments. Among the names on his CV: Balthazar, Duende, Il Lido and Bread in Common. With the opening of Billie H, the hospitality veteran is striking out on his own.
“When I bought the place, my fiancé told me, just go for it, you’ve got to take chances, you’ve got to have fun,” says Goodsell. It’s safe to say our man has taken his beloved’s advice on-board.
Taking over the former Asado site, the black and concrete Billie H cuts a sleek figure that is at once contemporary and classic. It’s an inviting, good-looking space, but it’s the venue’s fun, whimsical touches you’ll remember most about your visit.
The pour mark on the glasses, for instance, is a visual representation of the signature vocal “slur” of jazz singer Billie Holiday, the bar’s namesake. One of the desserts is served in psychedelic fondue pots. A turntable is armed and ready to jolt into action at a moment’s notice, but only when Godsell believes “the time is right”. A paint-by-numbers venue this ain’t, especially if you’re in the market for a drink (and you should be). Thoughtful staff are on-hand to gently guide drinkers through the predominantly European wine list.
Chef Alia Glorie, a former sous chef at El Publico, draws similar inspiration from Europe for her satisfying, big-flavour cooking. An Italian one-two of shaved Parmesan and anchovies punch up confit leeks while octopus gets helped along by smoked paprika and a glug of good olive oil. I ask her the inevitable “how-would-you-describe-your-food?” question and she grimaces, then answers, not with a style of cooking, but rather an approach to eating.
“When we sat down and talked about the menu, we were really excited because it was all stuff that all of us wanted to eat and see on our plate,” says Glorie. Just as this is Goodsell’s first tilt at the title of venue owner, Billie H is also Glorie’s first head chef role. “It wasn’t, ‘how could we make it more refined?’ or ‘how could we make it more of a restaurant dish?’ There wasn’t any of that.”
Goodsell is equally hesitant to reach for a pigeonhole and is happy to let customers make up their own minds.
“It’s food for wine and wine for food,” he says. “I don’t want to complicate things by calling Billie H a restaurant or a wine bar. People can use it how they wish.”
Although Billie H is hanging its shingle on the supper club handle, takeaway Mano a Mano coffee is available from 7am.
34 St Quentin Ave, Claremont
(08) 9384 0808