Let’s face it, few West Australians consider eating Indian when they’re having breakfast out.

Elance Fernando agrees.

“Most people think ‘Indian breakfast — curry and rice?’ That’s what’s on their mind, ” he said.

But there’s more to Indian food than those staples and Mr Fernando is working to change perceptions at the Copper Chimney Restaurant in Fremantle. Now open for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, Mr Fernando says he’s gathering a steady trade.

Besides the “curry and rice” barrier, another hurdle he had to overcome was the fear that a decent coffee would be unavailable. In fact, Copper Chimney offers an Indian coffee, grown in the hill country featuring a high chicory content and specially imported, as well as regular coffee.

Mr Fernando hails from Tuticorin from southern India, while his business partner and fellow chef Kaushal Verma comes from the north of the country.

“South Indian food is spicy and there are more snack items that can be eaten throughout the day, ” he said. “Northern Indian food is more creamy and rich.”

Copper Chimney’s menu covers examples from both regions. In fact, it reflects the remarkable diversity of the whole country, he says, as he lists the various influences on the menu’s dishes.

The two partners met in 2005 at the restaurant that sponsored them from India — Nine Mary’s in Perth’s CBD. They became colleagues, housemates and then friends and also worked together at Crown Perth before they decided to set up their own restaurant.

Why in Fremantle?

Primarily, out of respect for their sponsor, Mr Fernando replied. They didn’t want to compete against him.

Secondly, because many Fremantle people had travelled to India and experienced the food. And also because there were not many top-class Indian restaurants with excellent service as competition in the Fremantle area.

Copper Chimney's Elance Fernando ...

"When I was growing up I loved to eat . . . When I went to the market with my dad, the elegantly decorated local outlet and rush of the city always used to fascinate me. But the major source of attraction was the rich and spiced classical Indian food. The aroma of freshly fried vegetable fritters and fermented dosa was no less than a magnet to iron.

My day isn’t complete without . . .

"Homemade Indian masala tea (chai) which is infused with 10 different Indian spices and finished with a hint of ginger. The aroma of the tea refreshes me and the spices provide the kickstart to my day."

I’ve just discovered . . .

"The way to make 100 kinds of dosa, using fresh produce, various ingredients and Indian spices."

WA makes the best . . .

"Local truffles. I al ways use local produce to support the small businesses and carve the new dishes to keep myself up to date with the rising awareness towards the locally produced foods. Dishes made with WA truffles are on top of the list for my upcoming menu."

I hate to admit it but I really like . . .

"Italian dessert and cakes. Creme brulee and Belgian chocolate cake are my favourites."

If I won Lotto I’d . . .

"Donate half of the money to help the needy and the rest would go towards my dream of operating a chain of restaurants around Australia."

© The West Australian

More dining news: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/

Photo: Elance Fernando, left, with Kaushal Verma.