Saturday, February 8th, 2020 - Pinctada Kitchen
How we've gone from production kitchen to four-in-one food service operation in just over a month.
In mid-November of last year we had 18 Christmas dinners, 6 cocktail functions and our New Years Eve buffet booked for Pearl over the approaching six weeks, and no kitchen.
Pearl Oyster Bar is awesome, but if imagine your kitchen at home, you're probably picturing a space bigger than we work in each day. We can't run Pearl without the support of a commercial kitchen, and after being unable to strike the right deal with our former Camille colleague in Dannebrog's old kitchen, we were up the creek.
Curiosity about the sheer size of Providore Place led to the enquiry with then-current lease holders Grant and Liz Hirst- "Do you have a spare kitchen we could rent for the month?" We weren't looking past December at this point; we just wanted to get our events calendar sorted.
The kitchen within what used to be the Tasmanian Chip Co is ridiculous. The kitchen floor is larger in area than the actual cafe space. Fully equipped and purpose-built for catering, it took all of 5 minutes to decide this is where we needed to be prepping our Christmas dinners! All of a sudden we were extremely grateful for the unfortunate set of circumstances that has led us to this point; as the 2010 Grand Final MVP Daisy Thomas quipped last week, when the sun shines soonest is after the rain? (Still raining at Carlton.)
Why Stop There?
Prep days in the open kitchen drew all sorts of peeks and glances from on lookers and browsers-by. There's quite a bit of foot traffic between Fenton Way and the paranaple centre (certainly more than we'd imagined), and the more time we spent cooking in the kitchen the more loved it.
By mid-December we'd decided to explore the possibility of opening the cafe space. The Pinctada kitchen has everything Pearl doesn't, and hence the menu was writing itself. Freshly cooked fish, hot presentations of scallops, mussels, calamari and oysters- the ideas we're limited by at Pearl were an instant reality, and an opportunity too good not to explore. (These have now evolved to our best sellers!)
OK, but why stop at the Cafe?
Another feature of Pinctada's architecture is the market window, El Mercado, as we have coined it. The Mercado window is our food truck alter-ego, allowing us to expand our seafood menu and offer Devonport's best version of takeaway fish n chips, fish tacos, fish bites, fried corn, and the popular (and healthy) poke bowls, with most Mercado dishes less than $11. Not purely focused on seafood, we plan to expand this food-truck-esque selection in the late summer months to include smoked meats, ribs & wings, more Mexican street food, plus a range of sweets for market-goers including fresh jam doughnuts and churros.
With the market window open daily and plenty of seating inside and outside Providore Place, we're building the bones of the Food Court we believe Devonport is so desperate for. It's already happening, and you need to check it out!
Production. Cafe. Food Truck. You said four-in-one?
Whether Uber Eats, Deliveroo or any of their cousins make it up to the North West soon won't matter, because we're getting ready to launch a delivery service to Greater Devonport!
Soon our entire menu- tacos, fish n chips, poke bowls, crumbed scallops, sandwiches & salads- plus everything in between, will be available to order via our own streamlined website for FREE delivery. We've trialed the service within the CBD, and are confident we can launch this March. Healthier, affordable, delicious delivery is coming now. Stay tuned!
2020 and Beyond
Working with PP co-tenants Kitty & Scott (Bombshell Coffee), Grant & Liz (Southern Wild), Luke (CharlotteJack) plus the DCC event/management teams, has been the most enjoyable part of the month.
Everyone's passion and enthusiasm is infectious; we definitely feed off each other and are excited to build something special. We're very grateful to have been welcomed as the new kids on the block, and look forward to extending the same warm welcome to new food tenants as the year progresses. Together we will achieve great things. For the town, community, for our visitors, and for our families.
If you have an inkling that a food business could you in 2020, Providore Place is open for business.