Skol. Stone Jetty. Last month’s opening of St Brigid. These are just three of the key openings on (and around) Scarborough Beach Road over the past nine months that have brought new vim to the coastal neighbourhood. Come spring, locals will have another reason to cheer when brothers Tom and Sam Hart welcome guests to their first venue, The Corner Dairy, an easy-going space dabbling in good food, good drink and all the other things that make a neighbourhood spot great.
“There are so many families out here that just want somewhere to be able to go and just chill out, get a good beer, get a good feed and not have to trek it,” says Sam, who lives within walking distance of the venue. (Tom is also a short stroll away). “Two years ago, there wasn’t anything like this, so we thought, ‘Stuff it, let’s do it ourselves.’”
Although the brothers come from a hospitality family – their publican parents were one-time owners of The Court Hotel in Northbridge – for their first venue they’ve recruited some like-minded fellows, starting with bar manager Zack Noddle, currently of North Perth watering hole par excellence, The Rosemount. Under Noddle’s watch, craft beer (on tap and packaged) and natural-leaning wines will be offered, with the wines of southern France a particular area of interest. There will also be a small selection of classic cocktails.
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In the kitchen will be chef James Cole Bowen, the former sous chef at Le Rebelle who also counts fine diners such as Restaurant Amuse, Ku De Ta and Melbourne’s Lume among his previous gigs. Despite Bowen’s fine-dining pedigree, he wants to keep things neighbourhood-approachable for his first head chef role, so that might be burgers and oysters out on the bar’s deck, or charcoal-grilled flank steak or butterflied whole fish for groups to share. A set menu will be available for those not in the mood to make decisions. Produce will underpin the menu.
“I want to start with a producer and then work backwards,” says Bowen. “Find good ingredients and then build dishes around them instead of building a menu in my head and then going: where can I get this? Where can I get that?”
Among the suppliers he’s speaking to for his opening menu: urban farmers The Mushroom Guys, fishmongers Fins and – intriguingly – a hobby baker in the neighbourhood that bakes outstanding sourdough bread.
Although the former office block is still about a month away from being ready – the bar’s name, incidentally, comes from its address on the corner of Woodside Street and Scarborough Beach Road and the area’s history as grazing land for cattle and dairy farmers – it’s already looking good. Ohlo Studio has designed a retro-leaning aesthetic with plenty of timber and chocolate tiling. The venue’s 120 seats will be split 60/60 between indoors and out. Speaking of the outdoors, the safari windows will open up in the morning so locals can order takeaway coffees.
The Corner Dairy will open at 260 Woodside Street, Doubleview in August.