How Chapas is shaking things up in Perth
Quisine’s Spotlight Series takes an inside look at the food and beverage industry by speaking with the folks who know it best – restaurant owners, chefs and managers. Join us regularly as we get the inside scoop on the best restaurants in your neck of the woods. From food trend predictions to death-row dinners, we tackle it all.
When you think of tapas, the thing that springs to mind for most is Spain. But Perth restaurant Chapas has been changing this concept one delicious – and healthy – dish at a time. Specialising in Chinese tapas, Chapas is a unique blend of Chinese cuisine served tapas-style. Essentially, imagine small plates of your favourite Chinese dishes designed to be shared. Set within a well-designed and elegant space on Beaufort Street.
A perfect blend of old & new
The importance of sharing food is high on the agenda at Chapas. Owner and head chef Hugo Chung is passionate about using high quality, locally-sourced ingredients and produce to create gluten-free and MSG-free dishes. Healthy food is of the utmost importance at Chapas but so is taste. There is a reason why they’ve won so many restaurant awards. You can expect to find gluten-free dim sum; locally-sourced mussels; slow-cooked Dong Po-style beef ribs (gf) and plenty more besides.
We spoke with Hugo Chung about where he sees the future of dining, what Chapas brings to the Perth restaurant scene and what his final meal would be.
Our chat with Hugo Chung from Chapas
1. Tell us about one of the funniest experiences you had in your restaurant.
A customer had finished their dinner and I asked them how everything went. They responded by saying everything was amazing and that we are “such are nice Japanese fusion restaurant”.
2. What made you choose this line of work? What inspires you?
I grew up in a family who loved food and cooking. We also owned a restaurant. Being exposed to this grew my passion for food and developed my deep sense of appreciation for cooking. This inspired me to open a one-of-a-kind restaurant catering to a wide range of people, especially to those with intolerances of certain foods.
3. What do you feel your restaurant adds to the Perth dining scene?
We felt the market in Perth was lacking in good quality dim sum that catered to everyone. Especially those with intolerances, such as gluten. We offer gluten-free, healthy alternatives with no MSG that still tastes great. We pride ourselves on having high quality food and also, being the first dim sum restaurant in the world to offer gluten-free options.
4. What has been the biggest business challenge for your restaurant?
People telling us our food is too new and modern. We found this a challenge as our contemporary modern dishes may not agree with people who prefer the traditional Chinese cooking in which a lot of MSG is used.
5. Where do you see the future of dining out or the restaurant scene in general?
Food will be more tapas orientated with smaller sharing plates.
6. Is there a dish on your menu that you’re most proud of and is there a story behind it?
Our gluten-free dumplings. We found that many people could not handle or did not like dim sum due to the high level of MSG, especially if they are gluten intolerant. As such, we developed and researched ways to make dim sum healthy, tasty and gluten-friendly.
7. What are your food trend predictions for the coming years?
People to lean towards healthier options. More gluten-free, nut-free, organic and local ingredients used, and dishes that are more tapas orientated with smaller sharing plates.
8. You’re on death row and your time has nearly come. What’s your last meal going to be and why?
Sashimi from Japan – because its fresh and melts in your mouth.
Dinner: Tues – Sun: 5:30pm – late