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February 20, 2024

A new restaurant by the Good Gilbert crew is on its way

Set to open in May, a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean inspired restaurant called Asha is the next venture from the Good Gilbert team.

  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera
  • From L—R: Scott Fox and Wilson Shawyer

As CityMag pulls up at 135B Goodwood Road out the front of neighbourhood bar Good Gilbert, we find owner Wilson Shawyer hosing down the black-painted walls of his prized possession.


135 Goodwood Road, Goodwood 5034
Slated to open May 2024


We interrupt his midday clean and he tells us to follow him to the back of the bar and shows us the rear entrance of his new restaurant.

Asha, co-owned by Wilson, Stephen Tzanakis, Scott Fox and Mel Holmes, is two shops down from Good Gilbert and will be a casual fine-dining restaurant, set to open in May.

While the team comes from separate food and hospo lives, Asha will remain owner-operated and become an important factor in how the Good Gilbert brand progresses as a business.

“You’ve seen the big groups that aren’t owner-operated really struggle to get through because when they’re not owner-operated, it’s a lot harder to cut and lean back and carry that extra weight,” Wilson says, having just washed down his own restaurant.

“So I think that for us as a business moving forward, being able to have working partners in the business that can help carry that weight, I think it just feels more us, it feels more genuine and it feels right.”

Wilson says the new venture is the one he has been most excited about.

“This is a reset for us to what high-end casual dining is,” Wilson says as we sit on high wooden stools among the construction site of Asha.

“It’s touching back to that beautiful dining experiences that you would get in Europe and other states, around the country where you have beautiful neighbourhood restaurants that are high-end casual dining.

“But the price isn’t so reflective, the service isn’t so reflective like it’s fun, it’s intuitive, it’s engaging, but it’s not fine dining service.”

Steven adds the vibe will be “non-offensive” in the way that “you don’t have to wear a button-up shirt if you don’t really feel like it”.

Scott says, as head chef of Asha, the venue is “more about dining than eating” as they want people to “hang around a little bit and enjoy the whole process”.

With plans to have different levels of set menu options to avoid “alienating people who want to come in and not spend a fortune”, the menu will follow Middle Eastern and Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

“So it’s not going to be a Middle Eastern restaurant, but that’s definitely our inspiration among the foods of the Levant and western Mediterranean,” Scott elaborates.

“I kind of get very interested in the story behind the certain dishes. [Some] are wedding dishes in Iran, and things like that… we want to try and get a bit of that message across as well so people are getting a bit more than just, you know, a piece of lamb.

“That’s the headspace from the kitchen. It’s about putting some different flavours on in front of people that they might not have experienced before.”

We ask what specific dishes we can expect, and the trio laugh because they are in the early stages of planning how the menu will look and taste.

“I’ve got like 1000 ideas, but we’re running them in at the moment,” Scott says.

“There’s going to be the usual flavours that we’re used to, so lots of chickpeas, sumac, lamb, chicken.

“[We’re] trying to build relationships not only with customers but our suppliers as well – I wouldn’t mind getting into smaller producers and telling their stories as well through the plate.”

Steven interjects with his own view.

“If you could excuse my French, it’s fucking yum. I don’t think people realise how much they actually love it,” he says.


Although the wine list won’t be as long as at their sibling two doors down, it will still feature beverages designed to “enhance the entire experience” Wilson says, as they are a dining venue before a bar.

Wilson says the best way to describe the interior plans is if “Parwana and Leigh Street Wine Room had a love child together” – Steven cackles in the distance at the idea.

“[There will be] beautiful hardwood floors… beautiful wraparound banquette seating, a bay window to help feel like you’re still part of Goodwood, but ultimately, due to the design of the event, you’re going to feel like you’re not between a pizza shop and a Korean barbecue place,” Wilson says.

“So beautiful, paint-based rendering on all the walls, we’re going to box in all the ceiling joists and have beautiful intimate artwork hidden everywhere. The corridor from the front entrance to the rear toilet is always going to be on display so you’ll constantly get this feel of height and length.

“It’s that beautiful, sand wood, texture palette, and then you’ve got these beautiful pops of blue and textures like linen and yeah, it’s going to be the best-looking venue.”

Asha is located at 135 Goodwood Road, Goodwood 5034 and is slated to open in May.

Connect with the business on Instagram for more.

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