Bistro takes full advantage of delay to alfresco dining ban
If you've passed through the Grand Millennium Plaza this past week, you might have noticed the Italian bistro Gaia is still serving diners alfresco. Before you call the cops on them, you should know that imposition of the ban on alfresco dining proposed by the Central and Western District Council has been delayed for three months. As a result, the restaurant can, for now, legally operate its outdoor terrace despite its original licence expiring in the middle of this month.
Since the fracas about outdoor dining began, the Gaia Group has also received significant moral support from the I Love Soho group, which started an online petition to have the ban overturned. Meanwhile, Gaia owner Pino Piano was quick to remind customers that the restaurant's patio remained open. Last Thursday - the day the ban was to go into effect - his marketing team sent out a mass e-mail promoting its offering on the outdoor piazza, which included a summer truffle menu and a children's play area. It also suggested the alfresco venue would be 'a breath of fresh air'. Well, that we're not so sure about.
Anyway, the next meeting of the Central and Western district food, environment, hygiene and works committee is tomorrow afternoon, and you can be sure the alfresco advocates will be arguing hard for the ban to be reversed permanently. We should all wish them good luck.