Dirty restaurant could have killed customers
A MAGISTRATE has warned a cockroach-infested Sydney restaurant it risked "a manslaughter charge" because its kitchen was so filthy it could have "poisoned or killed" customers.
Dainty Dumpling House in the southern Sydney suburb of Miranda had a "disgusting" kitchen overrun with cockroaches, grease-caked equipment and a dirty floor "for years", Sutherland Local Court heard.
Giving the restaurant director Marco Li a blistering reprimand, Magistrate Glenn Bartley said: "You could be in the Supreme Court on a manslaughter charge.
"It's good luck rather than management customers weren't poisoned or even killed.
"What we have is gross indifference to the health of customers, gross prolonged negligence.
"The company didn't [reveal the] disgusting backroom arrangements.
"They were misleading customers to think they were operating in a hygienic way."
Dainty Dumpling House's kitchen had equipment covered in accumulated grease, cockroaches crawling over the food preparation area, no paper towels for staff to wash their hands, and uncovered food on shelves.
"Gross indifference" to the squalid conditions, going back to 2014, had put customers at the popular Asian eatery at risk of food poisoning, Mr Bartley said.
Mr Li appeared for the restaurant's operating firm, Dainty Hospitality Group Miranda, which faced two charges of failing to comply with the food services code.
He told Mr Bartley that he was only a new director of Dainty Hospitality, which was "struggling financially" and had poured its money into "a longstanding building dispute".
An unimpressed Mr Bartley said a small amount of money could have fixed the restaurant's hygiene issues.
He said the restaurant's owners had "a long history of neglect to the specific measures required by the [Sutherland Shire] council".
"Mr Li is unenviably, having become a director recently, trying to explain gross negligence and irresponsibility for directors who have not come to court," Mr Bartley said.
"[But] what we have is gross indifference to the health of customers.
"Month after month, year after year ... they poured all their money into a legal building dispute.
"An extreme lack of hygiene for years and protracted [and] appalling recalcitrance and indifference".
Mr Bartley fined Dainty Hospitality Group a total of $15,000 with court costs.
The Miranda eatery is described on Westfield Miranda's website as "one of the best dim sim restaurants in Sydney".
The most recent review of Dainty Dumpling House Miranda on zomato.com gave it one star from a diner who wrote: "We won't be back.
"Staff are very inattentive & food varies from different visits ... last visit there was a fly in the wonton sauce.
"Not that the staff cared."
Another reviewer wrote: "Table next to us had a hair their food ... their Shanghai dumplings were awful ... couldn't stomach eating any more."