The heat’s on as restau­rants bat­tle bu­reau­crats’ red tape

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

FOODDe­tec­tive ’ s an­tenna is abuzz with talk that a pop­u­lar Syd­ney restau­rant is at log­ger­heads with Syd­ney City Coun­cil over al­leged breaches of trad­ing hours. The neigh­bour­hood favourite has been vis­ited sev­eral times by coun­cil rangers fol­low­ing two com­plaints from a lo­cal res­i­dent and fines have been is­sued, De­tec­tive is told.

It’s not the first Syd­ney venue to feel some ex­tra heat in the kitchen due to coun­cil red tape.

Restau­ra­teur Chris­tine Man­field blames bu­reau­cracy of the kind that dogged the open­ing of her restau­rant Uni­ver­sal in Syd­ney’s Dar­linghurst for los­ing Syd­ney its man­tle as the coun­try’s most vi­brant food and wine scene.

‘‘ We are so far be­hind the ball game in Syd­ney when you com­pare us (with) any­where else in the world,’’ says Man­field, who was forced to pe­ti­tion coun­cil to ex­tend her trad­ing hours, de­spite hav­ing the sup­port of the lo­cal com­mu­nity from the start. ‘‘ There could be so many fab­u­lous busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties here with some lat­eral think­ing. Imag­ine the po­ten­tial if we weren’t so bogged down in red tape and bu­reau­cracy. It’s al­most like Pro­hi­bi­tion.’’

Serge Dansereau, of Syd­ney’s The Bathers’ Pavil­ion, also fought to get his Bal­moral restau­rant through plan­ning stages. ‘‘ It took nine years of ne­go­ti­a­tion. There were a lot of dif­fer­ent is­sues that crept up, from res­i­dent op­po­si­tion to out­door seat­ing. It just went on and on,’’ says Dansereau, who even­tu­ally got his beach­side venue up and run­ning without ap­proval for out­door seat­ing.

‘‘ I don’t want to bag the coun­cil but it re­ally is very in­flex­i­ble. They need to ad­just them­selves to the re­al­ity of the mar­ket. I think where (lo­cal gov­ern­ment) fails com­pletely is on the is­sue of small venues. Big venues

TO South Aus­tralia, and an em­bar­rass­ing mix-up in the Restau­rant & Ca­ter­ing SA awards for ex­cel­lence re­sulted in the in­dus­try body hav­ing to ask for one of its gongs back. A pa­per­work glitch saw Ade­laide’s The Wine Un­der­ground’s fine-din­ing restau­rant ac­cept­ing the best bistro ac­co­lade at the awards do last month, when it should have been judged in the best new restau­rant cat­e­gory.

RCSA chief ex­ec­u­tive Sally Neville tells De­tec­tive there was, in­deed, a mis­take made and that The Wine Un­der­ground has been stripped of its best bistro ti­tle.

‘‘( The Wine Un­der­ground) nom­i­nated in two cat­e­gories and the wrong en­try was judged in the wrong cat­e­gory,’’ Neville says. ‘‘ Trea­sury on King William was re­named best bistro win­ner and a pub­lic apol­ogy was made. Th­ese were un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances, but it’s all been rec­ti­fied now.’’

The pro­pri­etor of Trea­sury on King William, Rob Par­sons, is not en­tirely sat­is­fied. ‘‘ I think they could have done a bit more pub­licly to let ev­ery­body know that we were the right­ful win­ners,’’ he says. ‘‘ I don’t such as pubs and ho­tels seem to have the ear of the gov­ern­ment, but I don’t think it’s a fair and eq­ui­table play­ing field when it comes to restau­rants.’’

What does the fu­ture hold for this lat­est restau­rant un­der coun­cil scru­tiny? De­tec­tive will keep you posted on fur­ther de­vel­op­ments. want to be seen as a whinge­ing win­ner, but I don’t think the whole mat­ter has been han­dled very well.’’

DE­TEC­TIVE feared chefs from Mel­bourne’s Rumi restau­rant were for­ag­ing for in­gre­di­ents in the bot­tom of her fridge when she saw Tenth Cen­tury Carrot listed on its menu. Hap­pily, the newly in­tro­duced dish at the Ly­gon Street, East Brunswick, diner — whole car­rots cooked with onion, gar­lic, saf­fron, honey, vine­gar and oil and fresh co­rian­der, then served at room tem­per­a­ture — is so named due to its 10th-cen­tury Per­sian-Ara­bic ori­gins. De­tec­tive ’ s peni­cillin re­search con­tin­ues un­abated.

WE’RE all for a bit of op­por­tunism on theT &I desk, and heaven knows the forth­com­ing Aus­tralia movie should do more for the chances of po­ten­tial Aussie en­trepreneurs than the re­cently eu­thanised Where the Bloody Hell are You? cam­paign, but we’re slightly wor­ried to hear of the ar­rival of the, ahem, Baz Lurhmann Baguette on a Queens­land restau­rant menu. Merle Jochheim, who runs Jochheim’s Pies in the beach­side town of Bowen, where scenes from the film were shot, in­tro­duced the del­i­cacy af­ter she bumped into the di­rec­tor and his wife, Cather­ine Martin, out­side her shop. Not pre­pared to play favourites, how­ever, Jochheim has also cre­ated a Hunky Hugh Jack­man Pie and a Nicole Kid­man Mango Cheese­cake. Be­fore the big top rolled into town, Bowen was best known for its Big Mango.

SYD­NEY’S Ob­ser­va­tory Ho­tel has con­firmed a Joel Robu­chon-trained, Miche­lin-starred chef from Ja­pan will re­place head chef Haru Inukai, who re­cently left the ho­tel’s Galileo restau­rant to open French-Ja­panese bistro Blan­charu in El­iz­a­beth Bay. The new chef is due to ar­rive mid-Oc­to­ber, says food and bev­er­age di­rec­tor Ed­die Teh, who’s keep­ing mum on the iden­tity of the new re­cruit un­til im­mi­gra­tion is­sues are sorted. ‘‘ It’s very ex­cit­ing for us,’’ Teh tells De­tec­tive , be­tween mak­ing ar­range­ments for the fourth an­nual Iron Chef event, to be held at Galileo on De­cem­ber 2, 3 and 4, when for­mer head chef Haru teams up with the Robu­chon pro­tege against Iron Chef French and Iron Chef Chi­nese. Food com­men­ta­tor Joanna Sav­ill will host the event with TV per­son­al­ity John Man­gos, and tick­ets go on sale from Oc­to­ber 1.

GET up close and per­sonal with the man who made molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy cool. Fer­ran Adria of Spain’s El Bulli restau­rant will be in Mel­bourne and Syd­ney in Oc­to­ber to launch his lat­est book, ADay­atElBulli , and will con­duct two lec­tures on the ideas and meth­ods be­hind his food. The talks ($40 talk only or $75 with a copy of the book) will be held at Syd­ney’s State The­atre at 7pm on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 17, and Mel­bourne’s Hamer Hall at 4pm on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 19. Tick­ets are on sale now through www.tick­et­mas­ter.com.au; or 1300 136 166 (Mel­bourne) and 136 100 (Syd­ney, from Septem­ber 1).

IT’S restau­rant awards sea­son and, as is the tra­di­tion with th­ese things, there has been much wail­ing and gnash­ing of teeth around the na­tion. Gourmet

Chris­tine Man­field

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