“We want it to be a feel-like-you’re-at home kind of place,” corporate project manager and soon-to-be restaurant owner Angela Slattery says, stepping into the beach-facing sun-room of the house.
“We used to have a lounge here and we’d sit outside with our coffees or our glass of wine and just look out to the ocean.
“That’s exactly the feeling that we want to share with people.”
Angela and her husband Mike Slattery bought their Henley Beach Esplanade property almost three years ago. After living in the house for two years, the couple are now in the process of converting it into a new fusion restaurant and wine bar called Little Shoo.
The house is nestled next to Henley Square and offers sweeping views over Henley Beach and the jetty, which the Slatterys believe will be the main drawcard for people looking to enjoy a relaxed beachside dining experience.
“As much as it [the view] is fantastic here in summer, in winter it’s just as spectacular when you get the storms and the waves splashing,” Mike says.
“We want it to be cosy in winter as well as a great place for summer.”
Having both grown up in Adelaide’s western suburbs, Mike and Angela had a dream of opening their own restaurant in the area.
“We had the dream but we weren’t pursuing it,” Angela says.
“It was only when I went for a run one day around Henley and saw it [the house] for sale and I thought, it’s got everything we want.”
Despite its original bluestone features and age, the house isn’t heritage-listed and was advertised for sale as an opportunity for new development.
“The sign out the front when we bought the place had mock-up drawings of a two-storey building with a Sumo Salad and a Bakers Delight down the bottom,” Mike says.
“We just said it would be terrible, criminal to knock down the house and we really went into this wanting to retain the house and enhance Henley.”
The couple plan on creating a “warm, contemporary and inviting place”.
It [the design] will pay homage to the beachfront spirit
With the help of Claridge Construction and interior design company Georgie Shepherd Designs, they will reinstate the fireplaces that the previous owners boxed in and will retain original heritage feature such as cornices and archway details.
The original pink and green terrazzo in the sunroom (formerly the verandah) will become a main feature of the restaurant, setting the colour scheme for the interior design.
“It [the design] will pay homage to the beachfront spirit, drawing inspiration from the colours, textures and materials that are inherent to Henley Beach,” Angela says.
The restaurant will be separated into a main dining area and private dining room, with an outdoor deck space planned for the front of the building.
It will serve mainly share-plate-style offerings such as pork and veal meatballs, Asian-inspired tuna ceviche, and salt and pepper squid.
Mike, who currently owns gourmet food company The Passionate Foodie and will take on the position as Little Shoo head chef, plans to source as much produce as possible from South Australian companies.
“We’re looking at using Hahndorf Gourmet for small goods and meats; there’s also Boulangerie 113 [which is] a fantastic bakery with many award-winning breads… Paris Creek milk will also be used,” Mike says.
“There’s just so much good stuff in South Australia, there’s no need to go externally unless you have to.
Later down the track, the couple plan on planting their own veggie and herb patch in the backyard, which they will use to source ingredients. The garden’s olive trees will also become a staple food source.
We really want that whole concept to reflect our restaurant, that experience of wanting savour every last crumb of your meal
South Australian wineries will feature heavily on the drinks menu alongside traditional base spirits, cocktails “with a twist” and local craft beers.
As for the name Little Shoo, Mike says he and Angela were inspired by a recent trip to Italy.
“It’s from the Italian word ‘scarpetta’, which literally translates to ‘little shoe’ in English,” he says.
“You have the phrase ‘fare la scarpetta’, which is basically when you get the bread and you hold it between your fingers and your thumb and use it to mop the sauce off your plate…when held this way, the bread looks like a little shoe.
“We really want that whole concept to reflect our restaurant, that experience of wanting savour every last crumb of your meal.”
Little Shoo is expected to open sometime in May/June this year.
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