No Mafia co-owner Emma Ferguson digs her ’60s Spanish surf rock, in particular the music of the band Los Bravos.
“I love that kind of music and I’ve always wanted to do something with a real surf-rock kind of vibe,” she says.
Her wish, it seems, is about to come true. Due to open at the end of September, Los Bravos will be a love letter to Spanish food, wine and culture written by Ferguson and her husband and co-owner Dan Morris. The letter, though, will be told in their words.
“We’re not trying to be super traditional,” says Ferguson of the venue named after the skivvy-clad rockers that penned the single Black is Black. “None of us are Spanish, we just really love Spain and wanted to bring our favourite parts of it to Perth in a really great setting.”
Taking over the former Comet Pizza site on William Street, the 100-seat venue blurs the lines between bar, tapas joint and restaurant. Surf-rock LPs will provide the soundtrack while the menu reflects the owners’ travels throughout the Iberian Peninsula and will touch on areas such as San Sebastian, Barcelona, Andalucia, Cadiz and the surfing coast of Portugal. Like No Mafia, user-friendliness and good times will be two of Los Bravos’s key tenets.
“We just want it to be a super fun place where anyone is welcome at any time of day or night,” says Ferguson. “Spaniards and Southern Italians sure know how to party. They know how to live really well and they know how to live out of the ocean.”
Seafood, unsurprisingly, will feature prominently by way of various house-preserved items: think pickled local whiting, sardines and octopus and cured Spanish mackerel, all available for dine-in and takeaway. Los Bravos will also cycle through a list of three cooked-to-order paellas, including a vegetarian version.
Following No Mafia’s lead, the wine list will offer Spanish standards – big-name rioja, say – as well as local wines made in the Spanish style (hola house tinto, an unfiltered, tempranillo from Margaret River). Cocktails will feature a similar Spanish accent with Ferguson currently fine-tuning drinks such as a Manhattan aged in a sherry cask. On the topic of Spain’s famous – and at-times misunderstood – fortified wine, Ferguson also wants to introduce more drinkers to the pleasures of drinking dry sherry.
“The key with [styles like] fino and manzanilla is that it needs to be [drunk] with food,” she says. “Something like cured fish, olives or almonds. They need salt and oil to complement them or the flavour gets lost. They’re drinks made for food lovers. The whole place is about that symmetry.”
Los Bravos (252 William Street, Northbridge) opens at the end of September.