Dog fight on the Peak
Tom Hilditch and Shirley Lau
War is brewing on the Peak again as 'for sale' rumours and dog-haters stoke one of Hong Kong's most bitter rivalries.
'I am livid,' said Grant Baird, operations manager of the Epicurean Group, which runs the Peak Lookout. 'If he wants a fight, let's put on the gloves and do it right here.'
It doesn't take a genius to realise that he is talking about business rivals and close neighbours Graeme Reading or Martin Allies, who together run International Restaurant Development (IRD), the company that operates another restaurant on the Peak, Cafe Deco.
Animosity began last year when, in a government tender, Epicurean wrested from IRD one of Hong Kong's best-loved restaurants, the Peak Cafe, which became the Peak Lookout (above). 'Since then certain people have done everything they can to try to sabotage our operation,' said Baird.
Allies and Reading were yesterday unavailable for comment.
Meanwhile, to make matters worse for Baird, a successful initiative by the Peak Lookout to create an outdoor section for diners and their dogs (including special doggie meals and doggie waiter service) had to be closed down because the government received an anonymous complaint from a 'close neighbour'.
And this week, Baird has had to deal with a rash of rumours alleging the Epicurean Group wants to sell Peak Lookout because of disappointing earnings. 'This is crazy,' he said. 'We have no intention of selling. The restaurant isn't the goldmine it once was; we aren't making enough to buy a house on the Riviera but we are making a good net profit and we have no thoughts or discussions about selling.'