Duo Deli Restaurant in Perth
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The Missing Piece!

Lock, Stock and Barrel

The Missing Piece!

Hello!

A very happy weekend to everyone!  I hope you’re all enjoying this crisp, bright February!

The strangest thing happened to me during the week. It was the end of lunch service and a lovely gentleman came in and told me he represented the owner of our building.  So far nothing odd! We behave ourselves, we pay our bills, we were a little loud bringing in the bells at New Year but I was confident I had nothing to worry about!

He explained that the building had a once been a bank…We knew this – more on that later! And that the original locks from the beautiful double wooden doors on South Street had been removed and tucked away safely for a number of years. It was time now, he explained, to replace the temporary locks (temporary for about 15 years you understand!).  He proceeded to hand me the original locks, cleaned and polished and ready to use.

Now, that’s a little odd after all these years but not too far out there.  Here’s the thing… I’m quite a superstitious person and I’ve always felt that the building had a piece of it missing (I know, Herve thinks I’m quite mad at times).   It’s something I can’t explain.   When we started to tell people that we were moving into this site, they said we were crazy.  That nothing had ever worked here and the restaurants that had gone before us were all signs of why we should look elsewhere. But for me, it felt right.  I thought we could breathe life back into this magnificent building and bring back the lines of people that must have once passed through the doors of the old Commercial Bank.

Our building is a fabulous example of the eminent 19th century architect, David Rhind – or so I am told! It was purpose built when he was the architect to the Commercial Bank and after building their head office in George Street he went on to mirror its Florentine Palazzo style and classical Italiante composition in their Perth branch, here on South Street.

(NOTE: Do I sound like I know my architecture? Good!)

Pig'Halle Restaurant from South Street in Perth

Let me tell you about this bank’s safe though…  We have a good friend, Roddy White, who worked in this building when it was taken over by Pierre Victoire’s in the nineties.   Pierre le Vickey had taken back the business from the franchisees and Roddy was sent down from Glasgow as a trouble-shooter to sort things out!  He arrived in Perth and was shown his kitchen. Which was a SAFE! The kitchen in PV had been built into the safe with a hatch put on the door…. There are probably many of you reading this who will remember it exactly! He would go on to tell us that the heat was unbearable; it built up in the tiny, dense walled space all night and the chefs would drink litres and litres of water just to get through the shift! In a space the size of a … well, SAFE… they would turnover hundreds of covers every weekend!

Needless to say we expanded – all restaurants since us have attempted to work in this crazy set up! When the chef is in charge of the purse-strings though, it becomes a priority! Can you imagine my husband! It took us two days to cut through the safe wall which is just short of half a metre thick! We extended the kitchen and moved the bar area forward which is just as well, because I think my 20 years of marriage may have come to an abrupt end if we’d left it as it was!

Fire Place In Pig'Halle

“What is this blog about, Paula?” I can hear you say. Well, it’s this – I fell in love with this building and the fact that it came with some of the bank’s original furniture made it all the more appealing – the desk at which we meet and greet you, the old dresser at the bar.  It felt, for me, that it had history written into its walls. Although we have refurbished (as have others before us) there remains an air of its original elegance and sophistication.   But as I said, a sense of something missing… The original locks went back on last week. These locks that turned, Monday to Friday, at 5 o’clock, protecting the investments of the people of Perth.  It feels now as though we have found our majestic old building’s missing part.  And I am happy in the knowledge that this is going to be our most successful business venture yet.  Lock, stock and barrel!

See you all here, in the old commercial bank!

Paula X

As a little aside, we also inherited with this building an old clock that I’m told is two clocks in one – it doesn’t work.  I’ve explained I’m superstitious, and a stopped clock is not good! Does anyone know a horologist who may be able to help us? 

 

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