Interview: Bobèche’s Edward Wolkowinski Talks 10 Years Of Curious Cocktails On The Terrace
Bars and restaurants tend to come and go on the regular around this town, so when one reaches double digits it’s definitely time to reflect and of course, celebrate!
And one of Perth’s most beloved cocktail bars, Bobèche, is celebrating turning the big 1-0 this entire month with a list of 10 epic cocktails you can enjoy all August.
From their iconic Bobèche Iced Tea to 2015’s Breakfast Martini or a Hot Buttered Rum with fresh truffle (a nod to their early buttered popcorn days), it’s the perfect time to escape down into their cosy, old world-style basement bar for a tipple this month.
To mark the occasion we caught up with owner Edward Wolkowinski (who also owns Heritage Wine Bar and Heritage Wine Store), to take a bit of time to reflect on one of the Terrace’s most enduring food and drink spots over the journey:
First up, congratulations on (almost) 10 years on The Terrace, we image it’s been a pretty wild ride (especially over the past couple of years), what have been a few highlights for you business-wise along the journey?
The people are everything!
- The great relationships which have been built between the team past and present.
- The people who have contributed to the success of The Heritage have been involved in personal milestones like my wedding and have seen my little boy grow up.
- Watching people who have at one time called The Heritage or Bobèche home, go on to do great things nationally and internationally.
The hospitality game can be an unforgiving one – what are some of the key lessons you’ve learned over the journey with Heritage Perth that’ve helped you maintain that footprint in what can be a tricky part of town?
We have a great location in Perth, nestled between Brookfield Place and Central Park. We focus on nurturing relationships with regular guests and ensure their invited guests are always well looked after. Impressing guests of guests instills trust, confidence and returning visitors.
The ability to grow and evolve and be able to adapt when required. Adaptation has allowed us to enter the retail side of wine sales with a great online store which is building to be an arm of the business alongside the wine bar and the cocktail bar.
Criticism in our industry comes from all angles. I believe in taking from it what you will, and remaining steadfast in pushing forward. We know what we do well and what needs work.
Along with Bobèche you’ve obviously got the Wine Bar and Store, with the latter coming to life in the past couple of years – it seems like people have responded really well to having a Wine Store like yours in the city?
Whether people are coming to taste, buy a gift, or grab something on the way home, the response has shown us that a wine store like this was missing in the CBD. Add to this the knowledge of our team and guests, and visitors receive a unique interaction and experience.
We also have national shipping up and running, so we’re sending orders to the South West here in WA, South Australia, NSW and Victoria. Our free monthly tastings are always well attended. It’s a nice place to pop in to on Friday after work, and taste through a range or style of wine chosen by our Sommelier.
We’ve also got wonderful relationships with small grower producers and generally work with smaller family-run wholesalers, so we’re able to offer wonderful diversity in comparison to what will be found in larger bottle shops and chains.
After we last spoke to you a couple of years back – is the light starting to get a little brighter at the end of that tunnel, or are the new challenges like staffing and supply issues just as big a problem?
There is absolutely a light given that we are now allowed to trade! There was no light with the uncertainty of the lockdowns. In saying that is created time and space for us to build our retail and online offering, which is growing into a self-sufficient arm of the business.
Finding great people is a challenge for all industries. It has always been difficult. We have a wonderful core team who pull together to ensure our guest experience is a considered and memorable one.
We won’t ask you to grab the crystal ball and predict where you’ll be in another 10 years time, but where would you like to be?
We have plenty of plans for our beautiful building to increase our offering, versatility, and overall appeal to a broader base of the Perth public.
Right now, we’re focused on celebrating the great growers, wine makers and farmers we have worked with over the past decade – and continuing to build a legacy of quality and charm here in the Perth CBD.
And finally back to Bobèche, there’s some delicious-looking cocktails on that 10 year line-up – what’s your pick of the bunch?
I’m a stir down guy, so the Old Fashioned is my pick of the bunch. It is simple but takes some time to craft. There is something very charming and old worldly about it. Super proud to have a team that can serve these drinks consistently.
Head to the Bobeche Website to check out their full Greatest Hits menu and book your next Terrace cocktail session in today.