Donnacha Reidy and Matthew Barge came up in the Sydney hospitality scene and have owned pubs and restaurants throughout the city. After selling their venues, each moved west for a break and decided to join forces after meeting in Perth. Their first venture together sees Nedlands’ Byrneleigh Hotel rebooted as The Resident, a bar owned by Reidy and managed by Barge.
“Perth is really interesting at the moment, it’s a good time to be here,” says Barge. “There’s a lot of small operators doing interesting things. No one’s got a stranglehold on the city yet, there’s no Merivales [a Sydney-based group] or large hospitality companies.”
The Byrneleigh has undergone a substantial renovation since closing its doors 12 months ago and now has a striking new look.
“We’ve gone for a white-on-white theme, it’s like a canvas,” says Barge. “The old hotel had dark brown tones and orange through it. We’ve stripped it back, knocked down a few walls and opened it up.”
Barge oversees the rotating wine list, which focuses on certified organic labels and features six whites and six reds. The beer offering also rotates with a boutique flavour. The short cocktail menu – just four to start with – will expand.
Leading the charge in the kitchen is chef Grant Greyling, formerly of Jamie’s Italian. Barge says the Resident’s vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu reflects customer demand.
“We call it the ‘anti-pub menu’. We’re going for lighter, healthier options,” he says. “We’re steering clear of the pub grub, no chicken parmigianas or heavier dishes like that. You’ve got to be on the ball, giving people what they want but also something different and unique.”
Served by a separate entrance to the right of the venue is The Little Resident, a cafe offering sandwiches and cakes daily. Brunch is served until 11.30am. Coffee is from Bibra Lake roaster Backyard Coffee, with a custom blend for the cafe currently in development.