Mat Price, owner and manager of Bliss Restaurant at the riverside end of Clarence Street is living his dream.
> How many years have you been in the restaurant business?
I’ve been in the hospitality industry since I was 18. So, let’s just say, a fair few years. I started out as a barman and worked my way up to Food and Beverage Management roles throughout Australia.
I took some time out to try other career options, but hospitality, the service side of the industry, has always been my passion. It has been one of my dreams to own and operate a restaurant like Bliss, so I’m a thrilled to finally be living that dream.
> What do you love most about your job?
There are a few things I love. Firstly, I love the fast-paced environment. I can’t sit still for two seconds, so it suits me well!
I pride myself on having a high level of customer service. There is nothing better than a customer walking away happy because they have had a great dining experience with me and my team.
I also enjoy meeting new people, which occurs every day. It is fascinating chatting with customers and finding out where they are from and what has brought them to the region, or simply meeting ‘the locals’.
> Who inspires you?
This may sound a little clichéd, but Lance Armstrong. In a nutshell … what an inspiration! Also, Simon Dornan, the previous owner of Bliss. He is by far one of the finest chefs I have ever met and had the honour of working with.
> What will locals love about Bliss?
Since my wife and I took over Bliss, we have only made a few subtle changes that we hope have added to what locals already love about Bliss. We refurbished the dining area, introduced a few new great Australian wines and began Tapas and Live Music on Sunday afternoons.
As for the food, we think it speaks for itself. Asian fusion is the new buzz phrase in world cuisine at the moment, and Bliss has been doing it successfully for over 3 years now. So in saying that, the menu hasn’t altered too much apart from having more of a summer twist.
> What would you recommend from the Bliss menu?
For an entrée, I would definitely recommend the crispy fried Thai green curry tempura king prawns on Japanese sticky rice with an orange saffron marmalade. One word … YUM!
For your main I would suggest our ’Signature’ Ikan Bakar Bumbu Bali, which is a whole baby snapper with Balinese spice rub, wok fried vegetables and rice. BEWARE OF IMITATIONS … isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
And to top it off, for dessert, you can’t go past our Chocolate Sin. This is a chocoholics dream! A warm triple chocolate fudge cake, homemade triple chocolate ice-cream, milk chocolate melting moment cookies, all topped off with a lavishing of hot chocolate ganache.
> What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with my family is definitely number one on the list. The hospitality industry can be pretty unforgiving as far as spare time is concerned, so any time I do get is spent at home.
Also being a spectator of the Ironman last year in Port, I was inspired, so I’ve picked up a new hobby … triathlon training! Wish me luck!
> How long have you been in Port Macquarie?
After several holidays in Port we fell in love with the more casual coastal lifestyle, so decided to move North from Sydney a year ago.
> Tell us about the team at Bliss.
We have an incredible team at Bliss. In the kitchen, our Head Chef Josh Brinkman continues to impress customers with his impeccable food. Josh was trained and qualified under the amazing previous chef/owner of Bliss, Simon Dornan. Of course, Josh has a great team of apprentices behind him: Stan, Theo and Aron, who assist him in delivering consistently great meals.
Out the Front of House, we have me, Matthew (Little Matty), Kristy and our newest members, Krysia and Steph. All of our staff have a wealth of knowledge and are eager to please. If there is something you fancy that isn’t on the menu, they will do their most to make it happen.
I would love to see Focus readers come and try the OLD /NEW Bliss. The same great food with new zest on service. So on behalf of the entire team, we hope to see you soon.
> Thanks for your time. Click here to learn more about Bliss.