Rockingham surfers open Bali bar and prove dreams come true

Kuta cafe owners Blair Jeffery and Matt Smith.
Kuta cafe owners Blair Jeffery and Matt Smith.

WORKING on the Kwinana strip is a far cry from opening a business in a tropical paradise.

Yet two Rockingham friends did just that last year.

This month they celebrate the first anniversary since opening Whoosh Bang Café and Bar in Kuta, Bali.

After frequently travelling to Bali for surfing trips, Blair Jeffery became fully immersed in the Balinese culture.

He established several friendships along the way, including with Made Artika, who became pivotal in helping Mr Jeffery and fellow Rockingham local Matt Smith realise their dream.

“I had always wanted to either live, or open a cafe, in Bali,” Mr Jeffery said.

“It was a natural progression to go in partnership with Made.”

Realising their common dream, they took steps in that direction and when a lease became available for a restaurant in Kuta in 2014, they jumped at the opportunity.

Back in Rockingham, and a seasoned Bali traveller himself, Mr Smith soon became interested.

“Bali is a second home – I love the culture and people,” Mr Smith said.

“Wanting to open a bar myself, I was keen to get involved.”

Mr Smith’s partner Emma Paidra said the venue needed a little TLC.

“It was basically a shell,” Ms Paidra said.

“We added our own touches and fully decked it out with new equipment.”

In June 2014, Whoosh Bang Café and Bar opened.

One of the criteria to work at the venue was to employ local people.

“Made employed a few people that didn’t have work and gave them a chance,” Blair said.

“They have embraced it and really love it.

“To be involved with people like that is pretty inspiring.”

The restaurant, located on Benesari Lane in Kuta, covers a three-unit site that includes a bar, restaurant and kitchen and employs 10 Balinese people.

It serves Balinese, Australian, Mexican and Italian cuisine and fresh local seafood.

Mr Jeffery attributed his success to wanting to build a strong relationship of trust and respect.

“It’s a dream to get it up and running, and to be involved with the Balinese is something good,” he said.

“The past five years I have been learning Bahasa – the universal language in Bali.

“I enjoy learning it and everyone has been supportive, it shows them respect.”

Mr Jeffery said he was currently working on his next dream.

“I can’t quite afford it yet, but the plan is to retire to Bali,” he said.