Under owner/chef David Coomer, quality of the cuisine is paramount in this WA restaurant, but the interior design anchors the room by providing a warm, casual ambience
e took possession of this building 12 years ago when it was just an old Thai restaurant in an average state of fitout. We took out walls, opened up entranceways and got rid of all the arches. As this was our first restaurant, funds were very limited. We finished our first refurbishment by splashing a bit of paint around, tidying up and buying some new chairs.
“Since that time, we have never really had a major renovation. The look of our interior has simply grown over time; we’ve changed things as funds became available. Star Anise is contained in three rooms. There’s a larger room at the street frontage with a big window looking out over the street. Then there’s a smaller room at the side that runs off the courtyard and a room towards the back that is close to the bar and kitchen area. The courtyard is a nice little space that can seat four people.
“We’ve changed the paint colours every couple of years and at the moment, it’s a very neutral palette of dark brown, cream and green. We wanted to keep it clean and simple with fairly dark hues and a subdued ambience. We wanted a slightly Asian feel without being obvious.
“Originally the rooms had timber flooring consisting of old wide boards with a few holes. Unfortunately we had a massive noise problem so we carpeted the front room and the side room while leaving the floorboards in the back room. The carpet is a also very dark green.
There are downlights throughout the restaurant except for one saffron-coloured chandelier that hangs over the bar. We purchased that online from deLighting in Bali (www.de-lighting.com). The front room has a series of three paintings called ‘Passion’, ‘Lust’ and ‘Compassion’. They were painted by our friend, Leisbeth Sheilds. We wanted the restaurant to be comfortable, neutral, have a good vibe—and the paintings reflect that very well.
“All our furniture has been with us for a while though we have updated our chairs. We had them made in Bali where they pinched the design from one of the big hotels over there. They are simple, nice looking chairs that are comfortable and reasonably strong.
“The kitchen is at the back near the toilets. It originally had vinyl flooring and a dry storeroom right in the middle, which we knocked out. We re-equipped the whole kitchen and replaced the flooring with tiles.
“I think people get a bit of a surprise when they first eat here. We have a good reputation and I guess people’s expectations are reasonably high. But really, we are just a humble little restaurant in the ’burbs. We’ve never had a mega-fitout or an interior designer involved in any way. As a cook I serve the best food I possibly can but jumping to a fine-dining category was unexpected and a little unwanted. I just wanted Star Anise to be a really good local restaurant. I want people to eat here and think, ‘What a great little find’.”
225 Onslow Road
Sheraton Park WA
Tel: (08) 9381 9811