Spit roast cooks up trouble

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 08:30 02/12/2013
Harlequin Public House
DEAN KOZANIC

JUICY SMELL: Harlequin Public House on a jazzy Sunday afternoon – someone has been making noise complaints about the restaurant’s music and food smells.

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Harlequin Public House has pulled the Sunday roast off the menu to keep the peace with a vegetarian neighbour who complained about the "charcoal smell".

Jonny Schwass' Salisbury St restaurant was served a notice by the Christchurch City Council about 4.20pm during its Sunday Players set on November 24.

As well as the noise complaint, a neighbour - known to be a vegetarian - had complained about the "delicious charcoal smell" from the spit roast, Schwass said.

After discussions with the council last week, he decided not to offer the whole lamb spit roast as a "sign of good faith" to reduce what could be complained about.

Instead, the restaurant had Soul Food Sunday with buttermilk fried chicken, honey butter biscuits and collared greens.

However, the restaurant's live music session, held weekly from 2pm until 6pm, went ahead as planned with council officials present to monitor noise levels at various spots inside, outside and around the business.

Schwass said because it was a licensed venue the council was obligated to investigate any complaints.

"All the sites they monitored, which included where the complaint had come from and on the deck . . . were well within the legal limits," he said.

Schwass said the business was allowed to have live music and cook spit roasts, and hoped the complaints would stop as it was creating unnecessary work for the council.

"The neighbours have a big problem with us and I don't know why they don't want us there," he said.

"All we are doing is trying to have some fun and put some life back into the city. We don't think we are being obnoxious."

While removing this week's spit roast, Schwass said it may be back on this Sunday.

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