The 18-year partnership behind some of Hong Kong's most romantic restaurants has evaporated in acrimony and a $1 million-plus court writ. In the mid-1990s barrister David Pilbrow and ace chef Rolf Schneider were major shareholders in most of Stanley's seafront restaurants, including Stanley's French, Stanley's Oriental, Beaches, the Bistro and Lord Stanley. Today, their restaurant company has gone bankrupt and Mr Pilbrow is serving Mr Schneider with a writ for $1 million plus interest, which he says he lent the chef in 1998. The pair put a new spin on the usual Hong Kong boom-bust story, as they and a third partner bought up many of the buildings their restaurants occupied and sold them at the height of the property bubble. 'But then we leased them back,' Mr Schneider told SAR, 'and we were crippled by high rent.' Mr Pilbrow made no comment about the writ yesterday beyond saying the loan had been a personal one. Mr Schneider says it was tied to the restaurant group. What happens next remains to be seen. But it seems unlikely to end in an romantic meal for two.