De Bonales is Kalgoorlie's favourite restaurant, Western Australia
I asked several locals which one of the many hotels and restaurants in Kalgoorlie-Boulder was the best one to visit. The almost unanimous answer was De Bernales, or De Bonos as the locals call it. In the past the venue has had previous reincarnations. It was once a hotel, then a pub/restaurant and then a nightclub before it was vacant for a while.
Recently celebrating their first birthday I was enchanted to meet the owner Luciano Vecchio. Debonair yet down to earth, a handsome man with European heritage, he has worked in Broome and Perth, but loves regional Western Australia the most and is invested in the local area. Like a lot of people, he had heard that Kalgoorlie was a rough mining town with lots of fighting. He discovered that this may have been its past story but now it is a town of growing families and wonderful people. He likes Kalgoorlie for the people.
Luciano told me a story of how the restaurant got its name. Before he opened he was considering holding a competition amongst locals to name the venue. As he was painting the outside of the building many people told him that they wanted it to be called De Bernales, after Claude De Bernales, the mining investor who increased the prosperity of the area in the goldrush days, and one of the previous reincarnations of this venue. Claude De Bernales helped stave off starvation in the goldfields, and the restaurant now hopes to stave off the hunger in these day. Now they come up to him and say, “thanks for bringing De Bernales back!”
Luciano said it was the Kalgoorlie-Boulder people’s restaurant, not his. He wants it to be the go-to venue for people. His customers have become friends. When I was there a lovely lady brought him in a thank you gift. When I asked if she ran a business in town, she said no, that she comes every Sunday after church with a friend, to eat lunch. She wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. De Bonos has local loyalty.
Kevin Rodden is another local who regularly drinks here. Kevin said he likes this place for four reasons:
1. Great Management
2. Good Service
3. Awesome food
4. Family friendly restaurant
He hit it right on the head. De Bernales is a trendy venue with high standards. Then Kevin added, "Oh, and the cold beer goes down well on hot Kal days."
Luciano also gives back to the local community. On their first birthday he asked people to “pay what you think the meal is worth” with part of the proceeds going to a local women’s refuge. They were able to donate $3,200. At Easter last year he invited the volunteers of Kalgoorlie-Boulder for a free meal, as his way to thank them for what they do for the community.
This restaurant is about putting the customer first. Luciano says that the top service will set them apart. He believes in greeting customers and shaking their hands, then saying goodbye when they leave. He is always front of house and treats the customers as valued friends. I wish all restaurants would treat their customers this way. To feel so welcome and wanted would make me want to keep coming back as well.
In the future Luciano wants to redesign the kitchen to cater for changes including offering offsite catering.
He also want to cater for:
· Diabetic meals
· Gastric surgery sized meals
· Vegans and vegetarians
· Keto, lacto, nut free, gluten free, lactose free
I truly believe that if they don’t have what you would like on the menu, ask the staff, and they will do their utmost to assist you.
Also on the future plans agenda is balcony dining and a beer garden.
The spacious restaurant has lots of natural light with several different types, and areas, of seating.
The big question is… what was the food like? My lunch serving of their special steak sandwich was large and absolutely delicious.
I called in for coffee several times during my visit and it was the best coffee I tasted in Kalgoorlie. They also have a great range of deserts to go with the coffee.
My only regret now was that I wasn’t a local and able to make this my go-to restaurant in town.