“Its artisan Indian cuisine made with love that you can enjoy makes it the world’s premier late-night dining hub,” the page reads. “While most famous for its #5 garlic cheese naan kebab with an aloo cutlet, it’s more than just a restaurant, it’s a community.”
Liberal MP Dave Sharma and independent challenger Allegra Spender quickly jumped on board.
“This is a tragedy. I will fight to restore IHD hours,” Sharma commented on Wednesday evening.
Shortly after, Spender chimed in, “Business has been hit pretty hard by COVID and even though I haven’t been to The Unicorn in a while, even I know Indian Home Diner is a national treasure. Save him.
Indeed, the Herald was inside the restaurant on Wednesday evening when a Spender staff member phoned to ask how the campaign could help.
Sharma even conducted a poll on his Instagram page which as of Thursday morning had 93% of respondents voting to restore the restaurant’s late trading hours.
Chowdury said signs on the restaurant’s windows proclaiming a “shortage of staff” as the reason for the store closing at midnight were untrue. He said he put up the sign because he didn’t want people disturbing the council about the night closing.
He declined to comment further but pleaded for community support.
Woollahra Council confirmed that in March 2020 the restaurant was allowed to extend its opening hours to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays for a 12-month trial, and was to put in place crowd management and trash patrols.
A spokesperson said the council was informed in April 2021 that the restaurant was continuing to trade until 3 a.m. He also confirmed that the restaurant’s request to permanently extend its opening hours had been denied “due to a failure to demonstrate satisfactory crowd management”.
“We understand the owner is considering appealing this decision, which would be reviewed through the DA process,” he said.
Liberal Councilor Sean Carmichael said he would take the Bondi Lines petition to council. “I’ve seen this place open late for years. It still seems well run and highly regarded,” he said. “I am reluctant to see another Oxford Street institution die an avoidable death.”
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