Phil's Place soon to reopen, says potential new chef

By Annemarie Quill

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Phil's Place, the restaurant at Tauranga Bridge Marina owned by AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, is soon to reopen.

Tauranga chef Ken Greenhill has been approached to be chef and manage the restaurant and is expected to sign his contract next week, with a view to opening the restaurant mid-December, he told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.

His contract is currently with his lawyer.

"I expect we will sign this up this week. I have met with Phil Rudd in the restaurant ... the reopening will be a change of direction."

He said the menu would be different and the prices lower.

"The emphasis will be on seafood. The aim is to appeal to a wide range of people, not to be elite. We want to attract families for brunch or lunch, so there will be children's meals on the menu and we will also be doing platters.

"The wide wine menu and cocktails will remain but there will also be affordable good wines by the glass."

The restaurant has been closed since July this year. At the time of closure, Mr Rudd's spokesperson Karen Gravatt, then a consultant at Tauranga law firm Cooney Lees Morgan, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that the restaurant had "simply closed for a quiet period".

However, a former staff member, who did not wish to be named, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that was not their understanding of the events.

After the closure, some of Mr Rudd's former restaurant staff have been represented by Danny Gelb, Auckland Employment Advocate.

Mr Gelb confirmed he had recently represented some of Mr Rudd's staff over an employment issue, but that "I cannot comment on the nature of this issue and currently I have no instructions from any of them".

The restaurant's proposed new chef Mr Greenhill, 53, is a well known Tauranga chef. He told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend that he has been involved in the food industry for 35 years, 20 of those in Tauranga.

He owns his own catering business, Fig Jam Ltd, and is currently contracted to do catering for Club Mount Maunganui. He has also been a hospitality tutor at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. He started the original Mills Reef restaurant and also owned the popular Deckchair Cafe on Marine Parade, which he sold in 2010.

He moved to Tauranga 20 years ago after the sale of the famous Dunedin restaurant, 95 Filleul, which Mr Greenhill said under his management was known as one of New Zealand's best restaurants.

In his new role, he will gather a team of staff that he has worked with before.

Mr Rudd was not available for comment.

Karen Gravatt is no longer at Cooney Lees Morgan and is now a consultant with Sharp Tudhope Lawyers.

A spokesperson for her said she did not wish to comment.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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