John Parker, owner of The Royal Hotel, describes the venue’s new wine bar as a “shrine to the vine”. Chase Weber, Parker’s executive chef, says the opening of Willi’s will help establish the hotel as “a precinct” with different experiences to suit different guests. For wine director Daisy Case, the hotel’s newest addition can be summarised in a single word.
“When I was putting together the list, I wanted something playful,” says Case. “I do have a little bit of wine for everyone, so I wouldn’t like to pigeonhole our wine list in any kind of way just yet. We’re still trying to figure out what direction we’re going in.”
For now, that means a selection of 75 wines – roughly one-third white, one-third red, and one-third sparkling, orange, rosé and chilled reds. It sits somewhere between Fleur’s “old world meets new world” selection (as Case describes it), and the “fun turn on pub classics” at the upstairs Royal Hotel public bar. The mark-ups are reasonable, local winemakers are well represented, and the drinkability factor is high across the list.
In addition to the wines, Willi’s has also assembled a line-up of aromatised alcohols, including vermouths and European liqueurs. These can be enjoyed neat, in recommended serves – with blood orange soda, for instance – or as part of a cocktail.
The other major draw at Willi’s is the food – a tight edit of snacky, wine-friendly dishes (think deli meats, olives and oysters), more considered snacks, and larger plates designed to share – overseen by journeyman chef Ricky Lim.
The menu features subtle, rose-tinted references to the Australian corner pub ideal. There’s a steak sandwich made with prime rib, mustard cream and pickled iceberg lettuce; mini pikelets freight kangaroo pastrami; and the help-yourself condiment selection includes a lemon myrtle and Geraldton wax vinegar. Changing roast specials – roast pork belly and lamb shoulder on the day Broadsheet visits – are listed on the day’s blackboard menu.
Willi’s at The Royal
Cnr William & Wellington streets, Perth
(08) 9322 1023
Wed to Sun 11:30am–late