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Published October 15th 2016
The address of Cecilia's on Hay is well-known in Kalgoorlie; 181 Hay Street used to be Langtrees, one of Kalgoorlie's oldest brothels. Now a restaurant, Cecilia's is run by husband and wife team Drew and Gail Alcock. Gail is the chef and creates delicious tapas style dishes, while Drew handles the front of house and bar.
Cecilia's on Hay is located in the oldest brothel in Kalgoorlie
We arrived about 6.30pm on a cold Thursday night to a warm welcome by Drew, who showed us into a large dining room with a selection of tables. He seated us next to a large aquarium, which was the best table for a cold night as it was also near the heater.
Drew explained that the table was ours for the duration of the night. Although we weren't intending to stay until they closed at midnight, it was good to know that we could take as much time as we liked over the meal.
Cecilia's is tastefully furnished
The food is reasonably priced; vegetarian dishes cost between $8 and $12 and the most expensive dish on the menu is Moreton Bay bugs with saffron cream ($18). The menu has a metal cover and also serves as a place mat. We were delighted to see there were two columns of vegan and vegetarian dishes and set about sampling them. We managed five before we were too full to fit any more in. These were:
Trio of dips (which came with toasted Italian bread and crackers)
Potato croquettes on mustard and garlic cabbage
Cauliflower and cashew curry
Patatas bravas Cecilia's style
Camembert with garlic and rosemary (also served with toasted Italian bread and crackers).
Trio of dips
My favourite dish was the patatas bravas Cecilia's style, deep fried cubes of potato with tomato, onion, garlic and red wine sauce. This can be made as spicy as you like. There is a huge selection of drinks and these too are reasonably priced. Sangria is $8 a glass or $24 for a carafe. Glasses of wine and beer are available from $8 and cocktails are $18.
Patatas bravas Cecilia's style
Drew took us on a tour of some of the other areas. There is another dining room that seats eight people. This is equipped with a massive TV and is often booked for meetings or private parties; apparently it was a favourite place for Alan Bond to conduct business. A large paved outside area is also used for dining in the summer. On Sunday's Cecilia's is open in the afternoon and they have a guitarist playing on a stage outside. In the evenings, male patrons have to wear a collared shirt, long pants and shoes, but the dress code is relaxed on Sunday afternoons when shorts, t-shirts and thongs are allowed.
The restaurant has only been open for six months and already is getting rave reviews for the great food and service. Cecilia's is especially popular for wedding receptions as there is no charge for the venue and they can cater for 200 people.
Drew and Gail have recently started to provide accommodation as well as food. Rooms are currently priced between $100 to $150 a night and are probably the cheapest place to stay in Kalgoorlie. They are definitely the most luxurious and we wished we had known about them before we booked our hotel. Drew showed us the $150 a night spa suite which comprised a tastefully decorated queen sized bedroom with mirrored wall, a bathroom with spa bath and a private dining area. Apparently, there have been six proposals in this suite so far.
Cecilia's is filled with tasteful furnishings and art. The spa suite had a huge black and white painting of an old-fashioned lady above the bed, and even in the restaurant ladies' toilet there was a large charcoal drawing of a nude. A portrait of a woman in the foyer is notable because it was painted by the late Alan Bond. Bond was associated with Langtrees and did this painting of one of the receptionists in 1999 while he was in jail.
Alan Bond's painting
Cecilia's is definitely worth visiting for dinner or Sunday lunch next time you're in Kalgoorlie … and why not stay there as well?