Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fantales opens and then sold

I was now in a relationship with Anya Seleki who was an actress in daytime soap called 96 and we had moved in together into an apartment in Ranelagh in Edgecliff. At the same time I was about to open "Fantales" we had to get the publicity machine rolling as this was a totally different ballgame to the Northside and the "Grape" and to some extent we were in uncharted waters.We had no problems in getting a crowd together for opening night as by now we had good network of customers.
 Entertainment was also another card we intended to play at Fantales as we had a baby grand and stage lounge and one large room with no sight barriers, good acoustics.So as much as good food we intended to provide live entertainment on trading nights. Our resident pianist was Frank Mitchell and our week- end entertainment was the Palm Court Orchestra a foursome from the Sydney Conservatorium and we used Chris Carvin to help with promotions and new entertainment.

We had been open about two weeks and were not breaking any world records with takings when Leo Schofieldand his wife Anne and children popped by for a meal.  Leo was the main food critic for the Sydney Morning Herald and that weekend wrote a stunningly positive, glowing critique, on "Fantales", giving it top marks on food and service and on the strength of that write up, we were packed the following night and trading looked rosy.

The uniqueness size and entertainment factor kicked it along and also, free editorials, all very good and authentic with a lot of theatre. Lindsay Kemp was in town with his Mime Troupe and on two Sunday evenings consecutively he and his troupe of ten paraded a rang of Kabuki traditional antique costumes that Elaine Townsend had bought in Japan on her last trip.The article written by Leslie Walford was equally effective in advertising Fantales to a gay following.

We constructed a twenty meter catwalk that led to the stage and in between courses of exotic Asian and Szechuan dishes, the lights would be lowered and the music cranked up some Oriental, Didgeridoo music and these ten gays would waltz doing there thing. 
Another night we hosted the Tibetan Dance and Ballet Company but. they dad not dance just ate.

I  had got to know a Korean man, through " Fantails" called  Kent King Poo Koo who we had used as our agent when I went on the buying trip to Asia and who also became a regular customer.We were having trouble with finances,  as mentioned only two of us had put up funds of $15,000 each, Sid Preston did not have any funds, which was really our downfall as that additional money would have got us out of the shit, which we now found ourselves in.

We did not have a good handle on the Kitchen, supplies were being bought in Chinatown with invoices in Chinese making it difficult for stock takes and book keeping, our chefs had trouble speaking English they were all mainly Chinese whilst the Asians preferred front of house and the floor. Thinks !!! we had made a rod for our backs, the creative side was working, but the management back of house was not a strong point of mine. I think we may have been feeding a lot of staff as I am sure we were being ripped off.

 It looked like a further injection of capital was needed and I was not forthcoming as my enthusiasm was waning. My creative juices were burnt out and right from the start I had not felt right about the whole venture and had put another three grand into the pot - 'Listen to your inner voices Anthony' - Kent King Koo Poo offered to take it off our hands, but  there was no money in his deal. We  would assign the lease over to his company and he would take over the debts and also the furniture and fittings would become his property. I thought about the offer for a  a few days and  decided to cut my losses and split.

 Anya had been talking of going to New York and I liked London so we decide to go to Bali and say goodbye there, which we did.

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