When French hotel group Accor opened its first Handwritten Collection hotel in Australia in February, it named it Wonil Hotel Perth – Wonil means “peppermint tree” in the local Noongar language, and the name is a nod to the medicinal peppermint trees that grow along the Swan River. Now, with the November launch of its West Kitchen & Bar, the four-star hotel can be considered complete.
The new open-plan restaurant and bar, in the Forrest Hall Precinct of the University of Western Australia’s Crawley campus, is on a picturesque section of the Swan River, and has an outdoor terrace overlooking Matilda Bay.
Executive chef Jason Floyd (Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm, Market Grounds, Peach Pit and Galway Hooker) says West Kitchen & Bar aims to provide hotel guests and local diners with a taste of Western Australia. He sources sustainable seafood from supplier Fins, veggies from Morley Growers, and meat from family-owned operator Mondo.
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Guests can wake up to breakfast dishes such as waffles with Barbados cream, and smashed avo and eggs with goat’s cheese, crushed pistachios and curry butter. West Kitchen & Bar’s dinner menu includes mains like Southampton Homestead chicken with chimichurri and fermented chilli, and a 300-gram Harvey Beef Reserve steak with smoked potato. Smaller share dishes include Cone Bay barramundi wings in ras el hanout, Leeuwin Coast akoya oysters, Harvey Beef oxtail croquettes, and marinated zucchini with La Delizia Latticini stracciatella.
The Scandinavian-style furnishings, natural light, earthy tones, warm wood panelling and mid-century modern influences found in the hotel’s lobby and lounge area are continued into the dining room.
If you don’t fancy the 10-minute drive back into town, the hotel’s 66 rooms have premium linen fitted to king-size beds, Iiuvo bath products and Purezza water; some rooms offer panoramic water views.
Guests can also take comfort in the fact that the hotel’s net revenue is reinvested into the Forrest Research Foundation (FRF). Part of Andrew Forrest’s philanthropic Minderoo Foundation, sitting beside Wonil Hotel Perth, FRF provides medical and scientific research funding to scholars at all five Perth universities.
Another benefit of staying on campus? As well as the use of UWA’s pool and gym facilities, Lotterywest’s summer film season recently started, meaning guests can skip across the road to the university’s Sommerville Auditorium for award-winning international flicks under the stars.