Restaurant reopens after waste pipe spillage

Brendan Rees

Popular Southbank restaurant Pure South is back open after being forced to close for nine weeks when a waste pipe burst from a neighbouring hotel, leaving a $300,000 clean-up bill.

Owner Philip Kennedy said work crews had been carrying out maintenance work at The Langham Hotel when disaster struck on Boxing Day.

He said contractors had tried to unblock a grease pipe but instead “smashed the pipes”, causing black sludge to leak into the ceiling of their venue.

“It filled wall cavities and because it was sludge, it wasn’t like water pouring out – it oozed out everywhere and moved slowly,” Mr Kennedy said.

“It found penetrations down to the next level,” he said of their two-storey restaurant and “started pouring into the ceiling there and doing the same thing.”

Mr Kennedy said the damage to the building was substantial with three bathrooms, storerooms, and a staffroom needing to be “completely pulled out and replaced” as well as some appliances in the kitchen preparation areas.

Fortunately, he said the main kitchen and dining rooms avoided the brunt of the incident, but it meant they still had to close during the busiest time of the year.

“It was like lockdown seven came along just for us. It was a bit of a blow and I think it probably was devastating for a very short period of time and then we just sort of got on with it.”

 

You can’t really sit there and suck your thumb anymore because for two years we’ve been avoiding that, trying to stay positive. So, it was just like having to do that again unexpectedly.

 

Mr Kennedy said he was going through his insurance company, so it all got “handled appropriately”, adding “it was nothing to do with our plumbing – we were just collateral damage.”

He said it had been “devastating” for his 60 employees despite having been stood down with pay, saying “it was an interruption to their lives again that nobody enjoyed.”

But since Pure South’s relaunch on February 24, he said the response from customers had been “really positive” – with warm autumn evenings being a welcome addition.

Mr Kennedy thanked the community for its support which had “come straight back in and who have been good to our staff.”

“The team really love it and enjoy it that people have turned up straight away and smiled at them and recognised them,” he said.

“The first day that we opened the big windows up again and the chefs are in white and fresh produce coming back into the kitchen was really uplifting.”

“It was like the clouds had cleared and the sun came out all at once, so we are really positive and I’m really grateful.” •

 

Picture: Philip Kennedy, owner of Pure South, is excited to be back open.

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