SOUNDING something like the intro to a well-worn joke, an Aussie, a Frenchman and a Sri Lankan have walked into a restaurant venture, transforming the old Sicilian on Hay Street, Subiaco into a charming French bistro.
Westerm Suburbs Weekly chatted with La Brasserie De Paris co-owners, maître de Gary Ellem, from Canberra, and Normandy-born chef Laurent Jouin – who met while working at a Darwin restaurant in 1990 – about setting up shop and home in an unfamiliar city.
“We talked about opening an eatery several years ago on my first visit to France to catch up with Laurent. We didn’t have any plans as to where, why or how at that stage,” Ellem said.
“Perth seemed like a good location because it has one of the best economies in the world at the moment; it’s the place to be,” Jouin added.
Frog legs, snails and profiteroles seem to be the hip new staples on Perth plates with an influx of Parisian-themed venues sweeping the city, including Shenton Park’s Petite Mort, Highgate’s P’tite Ardoise and Subi’s soon-to-be-opened Bistro des Artistes up the road.
La Brasserie De Paris plates up traditional French fare, but with a point-of-difference “light” edge which, according to Jouin, leaves patrons feeling content, rather than heavy.
As for the third partner of Sri Lankan origin, chef Lashinton Mhutu arrives in Perth shortly, introducing the eatery to authentic French pastries.
“We thought the three of us would make a great team: one in the kitchen, one making pastries and one at the front of house,” Jouin said.
“We have a lot of success with our snails in garlic and parsley butter and scallops with chorizo on a bed of parsnip puree.
“We don’t charge too much compared to some others in the area because we want people to have a dessert (which includes dark chocolate mousse and almond tuiles, and vanilla profiteroles with chocolate sauce).”