food

You're not fancy enough for this Australian restaurant. And they might actually ask you to hide.

Change. Duck. Two words you’ll hear uttered in many a restaurant around the country; just not usually with the word “or” in between.

That’s what happened to Cheyne* last week.

She had $500 to splash on a foodie family member, and decided that a voucher for a particular high-end Sydney restaurant would be the perfect gift. Cheyne phoned to enquire and was told she would have to purchase it in person. Tomorrow night? Sure, no worries. C’mon down.

Off she schlepped the following evening after work, credit card in tow. Yet when she arrived, staff informed her she’d have to come back some other time. We can’t let you in. There’s a private function on, see? Cheyne explained the situation, that she’d come all that way down on instruction from a staff member, so she could purchase a voucher. For $500, no less.

Out came someone more senior in a sharp, navy skirt suit.

“I can organise the voucher for you,” said the suited woman, looking my friend up and down. “But we have a dress code, so if you come through you’ll have to hide behind the counter.”

Hide, she said. Behind the counter. Out of sight. Because God forbid, someone at this fancy-pants function should see you and your outfit.

Cheyne was wearing a Marcs business skirt, a collared white blouse and, yes, a pair of thongs. She’d just finished work and it’s a decent hike from her home to the restaurant, so she… actually, why justify it? She was wearing thongs. She was wearing thongs and she had dollars to spend. Five hundred of them.

The offending footwear. via Glue Store.

This particular restaurant isn't exactly strapped for cash. It's the kind of place where the dishes are more of a mouthful to order than they are to eat and having just three of them will cost you more than your weekly fuel bill. Still, we somehow doubt that this place makes a habit of turning down that kind of money.

Faced with this kind of judgement, the temptation for a credit-card waggling, Pretty Woman-style moment must have been huge. Or perhaps even just a good-old-fashioned flourish of a middle finger. But no, dignified Cheyne simply declined their offer, turned on her thonged-heels and left.

Her brother-in-law will now be enjoying unpronounceable menu items elsewhere, thank you very much.

*Cheyne is not her real name (though her money and her frustration is real). We've opted not to name the thong-hating restaurant, lest we get hungry (and wealthy) some time soon.