Northbridge is an excellent part of the world to be hungry and thirsty in.
Throughout the 6003, locals and clued-in eaters will find a treasury of superb eating and drinking options. Re Store speaks to the area’s Italian history while the Asian supermarkets, butchers, noodle shops and eateries on and around Brisbane Street are a reflection of the suburb’s Chinese, Vietnamese and – increasingly – Thai communities. Speaking of Thai food, Est Home of Turong Market is your go-to for uncompromising Thai cooking – including a boldly bitter beef larb (salad) seasoned with, if you ask, bile. South American-style barbeque grilled and served on the street? That’d be Churras on Saturday mornings. William Street, meanwhile, is Perth’s unofficial ground zero for wine bars with many of the city’s finest grape strongholds dotted along Northbridge’s main artery.
One category that Northbridge doesn’t poll so well in, however, is the intimate corner pub. Or at least that’s the thinking of Dimitri Rtshiladze, owner of Foxtrot Unicorn and Nieuw Ruin. Which explains why for Edward & Ida’s – Rtshiladze’s third venue and his return to Northbridge since his time at Mechanics Institute and Dominion League – the veteran bartender is thinking small but going big.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
“We want it [Edward & Ida’s] to be much more like a small corner pub offering,” says Rtshiladze. “Those small corner pubs like what you’d find in Melbourne and Sydney are one thing that Perth’s never really had. We want to do our version with a focus on good food, good beer and a few cocktails. People don’t always realise the value of locals in Northbridge. A lot of people live in the vicinity and a lot of people hang out in Northridge. Having that corner pub community vibe is going to be really important.”
While Edward & Ida’s doesn’t reside on an actual street corner, its aesthetics remain true to the genre. Like Rtshiladze’s other venues, the venue has big Antiques Roadshow energy: walls are caked with vintage booze advertising and breweriana. Long-forgotten cognacs and brandies line the back bar. Custom-built cabinets display a king’s ransom worth of miniature spirit bottles. If you were last here when it was Hongkies Kitchen, you’ll find the place pretty much unrecognisable. Then again, that’s what happens when you remove three sets of false walls and a couple of fall ceilings to reveal the bones of a historic century-old building – pressed tin roof and all.
The renovations also unearthed a long-forgotten basement. Once upon a time used as a cafe and theatre, the space – following some significant renovating and a decent airing – will be reborn as a “weird cocktail bar” that will offer a more spirited approach to drinks compared to the beer and wine focus of upstairs. That’s not to say that cocktails won’t be served in the main bar, of course. The range upstairs will be built around well-known concoctions such as Scofflaws and Midori Splices, while downstairs will be the place for cocktail geekery. A small beer garden and verandah area will also be available.
Blaze Young of Nieuw Ruin is also aboard the corner pub train and has turned in a menu with a strong alehouse flavour and kitchen polish. There’s a ploughman’s board made with a pig’s head terrine, a chicken schnitzel and Caesar salad mash-up, plus a sausage roll with house-made HP sauce. Inspired by the success of Nieuw Ruin’s cauliflower pie, Edward & Ida’s will feature a strong pie focus with options including a smoked fish pie, a shepherd’s pie made with kangaroo tail and parsnip, plus a venison pasty with redcurrant jelly.
“It’s nothing you won’t recognise but everything you want to eat,” says Young. “I’m kind of taking the food that I’m doing at Nieuw Ruin and then pulling it back further and making it a little more approachable. I really love the idea of having that pub-style offering where you can just come in and eat a meal to yourself or you can come down with 10 friends and hang out for the next three hours and have some really good snacks.”
Late-night, hunger-busting jaffles are also on the agenda: think toasted sandwiches filled with confit duck cassoulet and a 10-cheese toastie with French onion dip. Equally appealing is the line-up of hospo pros that have signed on to the opening team, with many of them having clocked time in Northbridge. Joining Young in the kitchen is sous-chef Cassi Garrett (late of Millbrook but formerly of Leeuwin Estate, Besk and North Bird), while bar manager Ben Louthean (formerly of Dominion League) returns to Perth after clocking time in Scottish cocktail bars. Adam Mitchell – formerly the owner of Daphne Cafe and previously of Fleur and Shadow Wine Bar – will be a familiar face to many, as will operations managers Shirley Yeung, previously of Panama Social. Building a community, after all, starts at home.
Edward & Ida’s (269 William Street, Northbridge) is due to open in July.