David Yeo arrived in Australia from his native Korea in 2007 to make a better life for himself. Working in cafes and restaurants across Melbourne and Perth, he moved between front and back-of-house to learn all aspects of the business. In 2015, Yeo opened the original Duotone cafe in East Perth and now adds the 120-seat Open, part of Northbridge’s William Square redevelopment, to his portfolio.
Duotone’s eastern-CBD location means it continues to trade only during the week; the cafe’s truncated menu is a reflection of the limited kitchen space. Yeo hopes Open allows him to serve a different market to his original cafe.
“The questions I get the most are, why don’t you open at weekends or at night,” says Yeo. “My style at Duotone had a limit and I pushed myself to the boundaries. City people want to sit and talk, stay longer, have good food and be connected. Perth is my home city now, and I feel like this is my mission.”
East Perth regulars will be familiar with Duotone’s dedication to quality coffee, and this philosophy is applied at Open. Beans are supplied by Melbourne roaster Zest, and there will be rotating single origins from roasters such as Market Lane used for batch brew.
“It’s expensive compared to other things, but I’m happy to give my customers quality coffee,” says Yeo.
Breakfast and lunch dishes are described as classics “with a little tweak”, such as the two-tone (get it?) Benedict with yellow and black hollandaise that is already proving a hit on Instagram. Dinner is based around snacks and share plates such as mochi buns, Japanese-style curry croquettes and Korean fried chicken ribs.
“We have a different identity, but still a similar soul to Duotone,” says Yeo. “The menu will be Asian inspired because that’s me, my flavours. My head chef is from Korea. We are a kind of hybrid; we understand Australian culture, but we’ve got our culture too.”
Open is also licensed and serves wine, beers and cocktails.
Open By Duotone
45 Francis Street, Northbridge
Mon to Thu 7.30am–3pm, 4.30pm–9pm
Fri 7.30am–3pm, 4.30pm–10pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm, 4.30pm–10pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on July 24, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.