Page 15 - Foodservice magazine may 2019
P. 15

Alberto’s has all the Swillhouse trademarks – the random location and ambiance in spades – but this distinction between ‘fully-’ and ‘semi-’ themed (and the mere fact this place has windows and natural light) separates it from the others in the group’s oeuvre; it’s inherently more personal.
seasonal produce, like Living Earth Farm figs with prosciutto, hojiblanca olive oil and single-herd buffalo mozzarella from northern NSW. “A tray of figs would last 30 minutes at a big restaurant. Here, we can run it for a few nights.”
On Anton and Stefan’s side, they never planned to have so
many venues. The attention to detail that characterises Swillhouse operations makes that surprising, as it’s hard to imagine there wasn’t a grand plan in place. “Staff would always ask what’s coming next, so in some way, we grew our business to create opportunities for them,” says Stefan. “A huge chunk has been with us from the beginning and we always make sure to move people around to build them up, gain new perspectives and keep them interested in the job.”
The restaurateur describes their management style as a mutual understanding: have fun with work, but don’t take the piss. And while the business has grown organically, they set strong foundations early. “We established very strict systems for how we did things at Shady Pines, from the selection of drinks and the presentation of food to the way we managed the floor, and that has been carried through all our venues,” says Stefan.
Alberto’s feeds Sydney’s current appetite for mid-range dining, but the group doesn’t see the industry necessarily moving in that direction. “There is a time and place for all types of dining,” says Stefan. And Swillhouse, with perfect panache, caters to them all.

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