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