WA Business News, July 2007


By Julie-Anne Sprague

FRESH MENU AT RED CABBAGE

The restaurant within the apartment building on top at the junction of Labouchere Road and the freeway on-ramp has had a difficult history. The South Perth restaurant was operating as Reflections in 2002, then had a brief and troubled stint as Parlapiano. A new set of owners took over and reverted it to the original name. The venue’s food focus had headed south – half price steak nights on Monday and Tuesday give the best indication of the surf n turf menu that was most recently on offer.

But new owners Scott O’Sullivan and partner Hazel Feather, think they can turn the business around. They know they have a big job ahead to change expectations and create a restaurant renowned for very good food matched with excellence in service. It’s a challenge Mr O’Sullivan has faced and conquered before, albeit with someone else’s cash. Mr O’Sullivan had worked at Friend’s Restaurant and Stephanie’s Restaurant, before John Hooper recruited him to establish a strong kitchen team and design a menu that would reposition Halo’s as a restaurant rather than a cafe.

Then the owner of Halo’s, Mr Hooper had bought the site of the old Moorings Cafe, which served up Australian-themed food aimed at the tourism market. “It was my first head chef job and I didn’t have a clue that the place was going to take off like it did,” Mr O’Sullivan says.
Mr O’Sullivan is applying a few Halo lessons to the Reflections Business. The first is a name change. The restaurant is called Red Cabbage, a name inspired from Mr O’Sullivan’s time at Halo. “At Halo we had red cabbage as a garnish; it was little strands of pickled red cabbage and it looked really good,” Mr O’Sullivan says. “I wanted a simple name but I couldn’t really call it O’Sullivans. Imagine the pancakes and maple syrup.” Also gone is the half-price steak night.

The menu is modern but with obvious hints of top-notch British cooking, not surprising considering Mr O’Sullivan emigrated from England in 2000, while his second in charge, British chef Adam Sayles, took a job with Mr O’Sullivan at Halo three years ago. “I came to Perth for two weeks (on a backpacking holiday) and I’ve been here three years,” Mr Sayles says. Mr Sayles who spent time working at Gordon Ramsay’s The Connaught in London, says he’s stayed in Perth because he’s having a “good time.” “It’s more laid back than what I’m used to and it’s just really good fun,” he says.

The chefs plan to change Red Cabbage’s menu about every four weeks, which they say is a refreshing change from Halo where the menu would only change every three months. “It felt a bit like groundhog day,” Mr O’Sullivan says. Currently on the menu is what Mr O’Sullivan describes as his signature dish, a suet Wagyu beef cheeks pudding with sweet onion, slow braised red cabbage and honey roasted vegetables. Suet is a type of pastry, rich in flavour. Also on the menu are organic beef fillet, rabbit and shitake pie, beetroot linguine with bacon and fennel plus scallops, quail, veal and lobster. Main meals are priced at about $30.

Something that sets the new menu apart is its dedicated cheese offering. “I’m addicted to cheese, I just love it,” Mr O’Sullivan says. Mr O’Sullivan and Ms Feather say they have a selection of the best cheeses from around the world, including a St Agur blue cheese. “It’s the creamiest blue cheese from France,” Mr O’Sullivan says.

The couple plans to convert the balcony alfresco area into a champagne courtyard with a lounge-bar feel. Red Cabbage is open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday and for lunch on Wednesday to Friday and Sunday.

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