High-school sweethearts Mark and Kylee-Anne Cecchi weren’t even 20 years old when they opened the restaurant that took their name in 2012. With Mark in the kitchen and Kylee-Anne running front of house, the husband-and-wife team earned a reputation for quality, affordable Italian cuisine.

After adding brunch services last year – remember those brioche croissants filled with salted-caramel ice-cream? – the Cecchis have opened a small bar next door to the mothership. The expansion is part of their plan to improve the restaurant and shake the “fine dining” label they feel limits their approachability.

“At the start, people stayed until the end of the night with nowhere else to go – now they can move next door,” says Mark, who counts fine diner Red Cabbage among his previous convictions. “Customers can have a drink and then come over for dinner, or maybe go to the bar for an Espresso Martini after dessert. Or they can sit at the bar all day and then come to the restaurant for homemade pasta.”

The bar menu consists of small plates and salads with prices starting at $3. Among the choices: panzanelle (fried pizza dough), pulled beef sliders, pork-belly “lollipops” and various bruschetta. For the indecisive, the kitchen will plate a selection of cold cuts, cheese and vegetables for $15 a head. The drinks menu is still a work in progress.

“Once we get a clear picture of what people want, we’ll aim in that direction,” says Cecchi. “At the moment, it seems to be craft beer and boutique wines. We put some lagers in there to see how people would respond, but everyone wants Perth-brewed beers.”

Despite having already achieved so much by the age of 24, the couple says the bar is just the latest development in its grand plan.

“I don’t want to stop, I want this to be the rest of my life,” says Mark. “There will always be another venture.”

Cecchi’s
965 Beaufort Street, Inglewood
(08) 9271 6366
cecchis.com.au

Hours:

Restaurant
Brunch:
Wed to Sun 8am–2pm
Dinner:
Wed to Sat 6pm–9.30pm

Bar
Wed & Thu 4pm–late
Fri to Sun 2pm–late