We first heard about North Street Store opening a location in Shenton Park back in 2021, when it was announced that the Hot Bread crew – helmed by Lachie Bisset and Craig Stewart – would be opening an outpost in the schmick, $65 million Victoria House redevelopment.
In our eyes, it was an interesting move: we couldn’t quite picture the ad-hoc, unpretentious charm of North Street Store (or their now numerous siblings) in a glass-clad, luxury development.
Obviously, we needn’t have worried – Lachie and Craig aren’t just anyone, and this isn’t just any development.
Instead, they’ve moved into what was once the north-west wing of the former hospital – a heritage space built in 1938 that has been thoughtfully tweaked to become Wards Central Dining.
Thoughtfully tweaked means that we can still sense the wards in “Wards Central Dining” – not least when you spot the signs that still point you down the corridor to Ward 3, or the interior glass windows that connect dining spaces to entrance. But it also has a subdued elegance in its high ceilings, Art Deco cornices and stunning timber floorboards.
Fittingly, their latest move leans more formal than any of Hot Bread’s previous offerings – but only just.
Locals can pop in for the classic North Street Store staples – fresh bread, pastries, pantry provisions takeaway coffees, also enjoyed on the sizeable deck and sprawling lawns outside – but you can also settle into one of the eatery’s light-filled corners for a full-service dine-in menu.
“We’re about serving people, having a good time and setting a tone that’s relaxed but formal at the same time, if that makes sense?”
We’re sitting in a corner of the dining room with General Manager Paddy Ryan as he talks us through the vibe.
Officially opening their doors this morning, they’re starting off with breakfast and lunch – but plan to extend into evenings once their liquor license comes through.
“Some of the offerings we have are from North Street Store. But our menu here is tailored to having a point of difference here as well. Very like old school, brunchy – you’ll have your Benedicts, your Florentine, a great omelette made with our homemade chilli sauce. All those little tweaks and twists, which we love doing.”
A menu section titled “HOLLANDAISE DELIGHTS” catches our eye immediately, as does the full Irish fry up; a tribute to Paddy’s “sunny Waterford” origins.
“We always look for feedback from the customer and walk that journey with them rather than defining something, because what we think people want might actually be something different.”
“For here, it’s about the classics and obviously you can see it on the menu and how it’s been laid out – we spent a lot of time looking at old menus and finding some fun things in there as well. So even though it feels more formal here, it’s fun. We have a good time!”
“We just think of something, come up with it, give it a go – and it’s what we love as well: cooking and eating!”
Wards Central Dining is now open, and is located at Victoria House, 4 Thorburn Way, Shenton Park.