Lo­cal travel

For many, the Kailis fam­ily name is as­so­ci­ated with pearls, but one mem­ber of the WA dy­nasty is driv­ing a dif­fer­ent path. As Perth’s ‘burbs and coast de­fifine the west’s ex­cit­ing din­ing scene, lo­cal restau­ra­teur Ge­orge Kailis is lead­ing the way.

delicious - - CONTENTS - WORDS RICHARD KLUNE

Your guide to Perth’s top spots.

As a teenager, Ge­orge Kailis would ride Perth’s win­ter swell with one eye firmly locked on the fusty cafe an­chored to Trigg Point. He’d dream of what it could be, of the pos­si­bil­ity it of­fered as a beach­side venue, boast­ing inim­itable views over the In­dian Ocean and along the sand to nearby Scar­bor­ough. To­day, not only is the prop­erty his, but Kailis him­self is mak­ing waves as a restau­ra­teur help­ing to ad­vance what Perth din­ing is all about.

Is­land Mar­ket opened at Trigg Point in Septem­ber 2017 – all airy and light, with white and pink in­te­ri­ors and a breezy, beachy vibe. Best of all, the menu is di­rected by David Coomer (Star Anise, Fuyu, Pata Ne­gra) – wood and fire used to per­fectly lick share­able seafood and meat, with a heady stamp of el­e­vated veg­eta­bles and a nod to the Med via the Mid­dle East. Also, a deep wine list and tinned beer (think Bal­ter not VB).

It is, ul­ti­mately, an acute rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the culi­nary re­think hap­pen­ing out west, where – de­spite some re­cent clo­sures and naysay­ers who’ll al­ways say nay – the food scene is prov­ing it­self against those (as the ‘sand­grop­ers’ would say) ‘over east’.

“I def­i­nitely think it’s an ex­cit­ing time,” says Kailis. “We’re a gate­way to Europe and Asia, we’ve got a strong foodie cul­ture grow­ing among 20- to 30-year-olds. Peo­ple are try­ing new things and we’re do­ing some re­ally good things.”

It’s along the coast that Kailis’ ‘good things’ sit. A 20-minute drive south of Trigg is The Shore­house. Over­look­ing Swan­bourne Beach, it’s an­other airy af­fair with an ob­vi­ous nod to the Hamp­tons. Once more, it’s about a wa­ter view – though again, it’s food that’s the fo­cus.

“I THINK ONLY A FEW PLACES ON THE COAST HAVE A CULI­NARY AGENDA LIKE US.”

“That’s what it has to be about. It was also a big mo­ti­va­tor for us, to do things dif­fer­ently and go against what most peo­ple in Perth typ­i­cally do when they have a seascape or a land­scape… trade off the view and for­get about the ba­sics of bril­liant food and ser­vice. I think only a few places on the coast have a culi­nary agenda like us.”

Kailis’ time on the wa­ter as a young surfer and his dream of open­ing his own venues is built on firm an­ces­tral ties to food. In Western Aus­tralia, the Kailis name is syn­ony­mous with seafood (okay, pearls, too). Ge­orge’s grand­fa­ther be­gan his busi­ness af­ter land­ing from the Greek Is­land of Kastel­lorizo. He started out sell­ing fish door-to- door from a wheel­bar­row, be­fore mov­ing on to a mo­tor­bike and side­car, and the es­tab­lish­ment of G.P. Kailis & Sons in 1928. Var­i­ous whole­sale and re­tail seafood op­er­a­tions flour­ished, ex­pand­ing across the city (and coun­try), and Ge­orge fol­lowed his fa­ther, Vic­tor, into the fam­ily busi­ness.

“All through school I was sweep­ing out fish guts (at Fremantle’s Kailis’ Fish Mar­ket Café), but then I went off and trav­elled,” says Kailis.

He’s hum­ble, es­pe­cially given his trav­els came from be­ing a state cham­pion surfer who’d of­ten com­pete against surf leg­end Taj Bur­row. Bur­row would go on to twice be­come run­ner-up on the in­ter­na­tional pro tour, while Kailis landed in New York as an in-de­mand male model.

“I was 19 or 20. It was a great op­por­tu­nity to see the world, but [mod­el­ling] was never some­thing I thor­oughly en­joyed – stand­ing around pos­ing in my jocks wasn’t re­ally for me.”

So it was back to Perth and back to the fam­ily busi­ness. How­ever, Ge­orge saw more than just seafood. A pizza slice joint in the CBD fol­lowed – “Perth had no idea about real pizza back then” – so too the

launch of the Kailis Hos­pi­tal­ity Group, which also over­sees other prop­er­ties – Can­teen Trigg and Fremantle’s Fish

Mar­ket Café. “Seafood is al­ways go­ing to be a part of me, but there’s more.”

Just as there’s more to Perth. Chef Robert Marchetti, ex Ice­bergs and North Bondi Ital­ian, landed from Syd­ney in the city in July to helm the new QT ho­tel, while David Thomp­son has al­ready notched three years with Long Chim

Perth. Else­where, Jed Ger­rard has steered Wild­flower to na­tional ac­claim, matched by venues in­clud­ing Lalla

Rookh, Lib­erté and The Shore­house, among oth­ers. Perth’s small-bar scene is also pro­gress­ing, eas­ily mir­ror­ing Mel­bourne’s in terms of its li­ba­tions, and is de­serv­ing of just as much at­ten­tion.

“There’s no rea­son we can’t be­come a well-known culi­nary des­ti­na­tion,” says Kailis. “And there are a lot of peo­ple do­ing good things but [who] fly un­der the radar.” He points to the sub­urbs and places go­ing

well be­yond what used to score a pass. Cer­tainly, when de­li­cious. vis­ited the re­mote and sandy cap­i­tal re­cently, the back­blocks of ar­eas such as Scar­bor­ough Beach were no­tice­ably step­ping things up, as demon­strated by the Korean in­flu­ences for­mer Wild­flower chef James Park has brought to the eas­ily over­looked Doric St Café + Kitchen.

“Peo­ple are def­i­nitely push­ing out of the city and try­ing new things,” says Kailis. “We’re see­ing a real re­turn to neigh­bour­hood din­ing, and good neigh­bour­hood din­ing. It’s what we wanted with Is­land Mar­ket. We were con­scious of the price point; we want to be a lo­cal place peo­ple could come and eat at twice a week. And eat re­ally well.”

Kailis is cur­rently eye­ing off a re­turn to Fremantle with a park­side burger joint that sounds like it’ll take some cues from New York’s famed Shake Shack. Be­yond this, he’s keen for fur­ther work with his ‘ge­nius’ mate Coomer.

“DC is, for some­one his age, so pro­gres­sive – and he’ll love that I’ve said that about his age! He’s never stuck in a time zone or a time warp; he’s al­ways about pro­gress­ing things and he’s def­i­nitely a mas­sive part of things for us. There are a few op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing up, and his ex­pe­ri­ence with Pan Asian is some­thing I re­ally want to tap into.”

@kail­ishos­pi­tal­i­ty­group

FROM TOP: Is­land Mar­ket is light­ing the way; its roasted pineap­ple dessert; Kailis’ Fish Mar­ket Café in Fremantle; pas­tel hues at Is­land Mar­ket. Is­land Mar­ket sits on prime ocean­front; (left) The Shore­house en­joys an en­vi­able spot at Swan­bourne Beach.

FROM TOP: seafood char­cu­terie at The Stan­dard; in­doors or out, the North­bridge bar is colour­fully chic. LEFT AND BE­LOW: take a seat amid the luxe sur­rounds of Tiny’s Bar. de­li­cious.com.au/travel For more Aus­tralian hotspots to add to your must-visit list.

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