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‘Tougher than Covid’: Restaurants’ shock closure

Written by on May 15, 2024

Sydney’s ailing restaurant scene has been dealt another blow with two notable eateries announcing they will be shutting their doors for good.

The announcement comes just days after once of Sydney’s most iconic fine dining establishments, Japanese restaurant Tetsuya’s, confirmed it will close after 35 years in the CBD.

On Tuesday, the hatted Redbird restaurant in the bustling city fringe suburb of Redfern announced its closure. Its sister restaurant, Tequila Daisy, in the harbourside Barangaroo district, will also close.

Redbird, which opened only in late 2022, is a modern take on Chinese dining featuring pork and lobster wantons, pipis in XO sauce and oysters with chilli and ginger.

Tequila Daisy, named after a Mexican cocktail and opened in 2021, has a relaxed terraced seating over the water with roast carrots and chimichurri tacos, grilled octopus with chorizo and pork belly with charred jalapeño salsa on the menu.

Owners Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines said the double closure was due to the now familiar roll call of woes: high rents, staff shortages and customers staying at home.

‘Tougher than Covid’

“We started our first business during the global financial crisis and successfully navigated Covid,” the pair said in a statement, acccording to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“However, the current trading conditions are the toughest we have seen.

“With another quieter year approaching, we have decided it is best to call time on our venues,” they said.

The restaurant trade in Sydney has been in the doldrums buffeted by the pandemic and then cost of living pressures.

Iconic eatery to close

It comes after celebrated chef Tetsuya Wakuda said plans to relocate the restaurant to a new site had fallen through, leading to the ultimate decision to close permanently.

Wakuda had been exploring potential new locations for the restaurant since the Kent Street site in the CBD was earmarked for development after its sale in 2018.

“Our plans to relocate Tetsuya’s to a new site after it closes at the end of July have unfortunately not worked out and I have made the very difficult decision to permanently close the restaurant,” Wakuda said in a statement.

“We have spent the last 18 months planning the move and the new restaurant so this was not an easy decision, but sometimes things just don’t go to plan.”

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Originally arriving in Australia in 1982 with limited culinary experience, Wakuda quickly rose in the culinary world, opening Tetsuya’s in 1989 in Rozelle, which became famous for its fusion of Japanese and French cuisines.

The restaurant gained critical acclaim and multiple awards, making both the restaurant and Wakuda famous internationally.

Tetsuya’s signature dish, confit ocean trout, became iconic in the culinary scene and had attracted some big names over its three-decade span.

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