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Bhutanese cuisine makes debut at Waterford Plaza with opening of Druk

ARTICLE BY Lease Equity

Originally published in PerthNow, 7 December 2023.

Four years ago, when Tshering Gyeltshen made the 7000km journey from Bhutan to WA to complete a master of human resources degree, he had no idea it would lead to a major career change and a new country to call home.

But after falling in love with Perth and dreaming of opening a restaurant, he left business studies behind to put himself through commercial cookery school.

Now Tshering is about to make his big dream a reality by opening a Bhutanese restaurant at Waterford Plaza in Karawara.

It’s called Druk, which means thunder dragon in Bhutanese mythology, and will serve up a mouth-watering array of traditional dishes from Tshering’s beloved homeland.

“We’re really excited to be bringing the authentic flavours of Bhutan to the people of Perth,” he said.

“There’s a very strong Bhutanese community in the Karawara area and Curtin university is a popular study choice for Bhutanese students, so we feel this is the perfect location.

“But we feel the unique Bhutanese cuisine will surprise and appeal to everyone who loves tasty food with a difference.”

The Druk menu will include some of Bhutan’s most famous dishes, including ema datshi — a combination of chillies and cheese — shakam paa (dried beef cooked with dried chillies) and juma, made with minced meat, rice and light spices.

“We’ll also be cooking my personal favourite, momos, a super tasty traditional Bhutanese dumpling filled with savoury delights. We expect these to be a super popular dish,” Tshering said.

Tshering developed his passion for cooking while growing up in Bhutan, creating dishes at gatherings for family and friends.

The connection to family and the importance of bringing loved ones together over a meal will be part of the Druk ethos with Tshering’s wife, Deki, and teenage daughter Sangay running front of house.

The fit-out of Druk Cafe and Bhutanese Restaurant has started and it is expected to open in early 2024.

Peter Atzemis, CEO of shopping centre owner GPA, said Druk would be a welcome addition.

“Druk will not only add colour and diversity to the new precinct but will provide the community with a unique culinary experience,” he said.

“Our new High Street hub will feature a vibrant mix of cafes, restaurants and outdoor dining, along with landscaped spaces for relaxing and catching up with friends, and interactive art for people of all ages to explore.

“It’s a deliberate move away from the traditional shopping centre to more of a close-knit urban village.”