My Restaurant Rules

gareth.jpgIt’s not likely that I’ll ever emulate Gummo Trotsky and base my blogging on cooking recipes. Not that I’m all that bad a cook, mind you. But being in a solo domestic phase, I usually can’t be bothered cooking unless my daughter Rebecca is coming around for dinner. Even then, I mostly take the lazy shortcut and use one of those sauces from a jar or packet, then jazz it up a bit with fresh herbs and spices and a generous dollop of fresh garlic.

The rest of the time I have my large meal of the day at lunchtime at the CDU cafeteria and only graze lightly in the evenings, except once a week or so when Jen and I go out to a restaurant. It used to be more frequent than that in the early days of our romance, but our bank balances and bodily padding both told us it was time to cut back.

Last night was our weekly restaurant treat, and we went to the Bella Amore at Cullen Bay along with my daughter Rebecca. It’s one of three perennial favourites, along with Cafe Uno on Mitchell Street nightclub strip and The Groove at Nightcliff. We’re creatures of habit.

Bella Amore has a relaxing ambience and a great location on the Cullen Bay boardwalk overlooking yachts being manouevred by people with more money than sense. It also has large servings of good food at a respectable price. In fact, the only downside is the service. It’s frequently lousy and always usually slow at best (although it wasn’t too bad last night). The last couple of times we’ve eaten there before last night, we’ve been seated next to pensioner couples whose male member was in the midst of a very entertaining tantrum about the quality of service, while his long-suffering spouse tried to mediate.

The reason for the slack service is mostly that the restaurant’s friendly and obliging proprietors, Leah and Jason, are forced to rely on an ever-changing array of backpacker waiters, with English language proficiency only slightly better than their hospitality skills. They’re not actually rude or deliberately slack (unlike some of the Cafe Uno staff), just dubiously competent.

I used to think Leah’s staff could do with a bit of stern discipline, until I discovered the old newspaper clippings outside the restaurant’s ablution facilities. It turns out Leah and Jason are recent refugees from Tasmania, where they also ran a restaurant and accommodation facility before being forced to diversify and rely on old skills after a rough trot:

Sounds like those Tasmanians need a few lessons in the difference between plain old brothels and the more complex world of bondage and discipline.

AAP reports a Tasmanian dominatrix appears to have overpowered the State’s electricity authority concerning plans to turn a highland chalet into a bondage manor.

Leah Potter, who runs Tarraleah Chalet with her partner, Jason Willemsen, said Hydro Tasmania was not proceeding with threats to their lease on the property.

Potter said Hydro backed down after her lawyer explained that bondage and discipline had nothing to do with sex and did not breach the lease.

Tarraleah is an old Hydro village in spectacular mountains about halfway between Hobart and the west coast.

Potter said she was a professional dominatrix who came to Tarraleah to escape the trade but was forced to go back to domineering after the Hydro automated its operations, emptied the village of people and doubled the rent on the chalet.

She decided on bondage weekends as a tourist promotion and has invited old colleagues to come and help out.

Shortly afterwards in late 2002, Leah and Jason ran into another spot of bother at Fetish Manor with some Goths from Hobart (according to the Hobart Mercury). I suspect that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and whipped them into migratory action, so to speak, because Leah and Jason arrived in Darwin not long afterwards:

A GROUP of “Gothics” who went to Tarraleah in search of bondage and discipline say they came away disappointed — and now claim they were lured there on false pretences.

Tavis Potts, who runs the Hobart Gothic club known as The Coven, said he had been one of 14 people who had gone to Tarraleah at the weekend to an event which had been advertised as a “bondage and discipline sado-masochism extravanganza.”

“There were no bondage mistresses there, no decorations, nothing,” Mr Potts, a 27-year-old University of Tasmania PhD student said.

But the woman who runs Tarraleah’s Fetish Manor, Leah Potter, said bondage had been on offer that weekend — but the Gothic crowd had been so boring the two bondage mistresses had gone to bed.

“We had a clash of personality between the Goth crowd and the locals and I had to throw the locals out because the Goths said they had offended their womenfolk,” Ms Potter, otherwise known as Leah from Tarraleah, said.

Gothics are people who dress almost exclusively in black, wear heavy eye make-up and listen to an alternative style of music.

Mr Potts said he and two other members of The Coven had gone to Tarraleah on Saturday night to act as DJs, and had taken a group of people along for the party.

“We wanted BDSM, we wanted kinky, we wanted swingers but there was nothing,” Mr Potts said. Ms Potter said there were two bondage mistresses at the chalet on Saturday night, but no-one had asked to be disciplined.

Ms Potter also explained why her mobile telephone had been diverting to a bemused milkman in Brisbane.

“I had been away for a few days and there is absolutely no mobile service there and I thought I had diverted the phone to my voice-mail,” she said.

The phone has been undiverted, so milkman Gareth Musk should not receive any further calls for Leah from Tarraleah.

As far as I know, Leah and Jason don’t offer B & D after dessert at the Bella Amore. Mind you, I’ve never asked. Some of those bloody backpacker waiters could do with a good birching, I reckon.

* The photo at the top of this post (from ABC Online) shows Gareth the “bemused” Brisbane milkman, who actually appears rather more pleased than bemused by the attentions of Leah’s clients. Perhaps he was looking forward to Leah whipping his cream by way of compensation.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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2024 years ago

Some of those bloody backpacker waiters could do with a good birching, I reckon

There there old boy no need to get your knickers in a twist. Your pasta will be along presently.

Are you rehearsing Parish or do you just want to please me?….. knowing how much I do love grumpy old men
– and bemused backpackers.

The floors shows really are top notch. They are usually interactive, sometimes patriotic and always a neat cameo. And this is where the story lies you great goon!

Sorry folks but,

Parish has entirely missed the point in this post – he is unnervingly interested in the bondage, discipline, hit me, spank me, make my bum red business – unnerving really.

I shouldn’t be suprised. He *is* a lawyer.

Take that you wicked prick and stop panting right now. Down you dog.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2024 years ago

Parish has entirely missed the point in this post

Yes, I agree. The cameo of the pensioner couple and their interaction with us and the waiters would have been much better. That’s why I kept telling you that you should write it. You’re much better with dialogue than me. I can only write authentic-sounding dialogue when I can still mostly remember an actual conversation. I’ve forgotten the details of the conversations involving the old couple, and it would be impossibly time-consuming and laborious for me to attempt to reconstruct them now. I should have written notes at the time. That’s why I adopted the B & D angle instead – it was easier. Please don’t punish me for getting it wrong by tying me to the bed and beating me on the butt while you’re wearing tight black leather …

David Tiley
2024 years ago




Right. Bums at a pinch.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2024 years ago

Don’t yell David. It’s bad for your nerves. Anyway, the prospect of being disciplined by you isn’t even slightly exciting. Jen is another thing entirely. Mind you, she’s got a really bad flu and a child who’s just as ill, so she’s probably not really in the mood even for light-hearted banter. Poor Jen.

2024 years ago

packet! Oh alright, fresh herbs etc.

2024 years ago

cook that one in batter

Last August, Troppo Ken Parish went to a Darwin restaurant run by a bondage mistress down on her luck with incompetent backpacking staff. The story from his point of view is quite wonderful. Now the proprietress (of both kinds…