A Sydney family's Sunday lunchtime in the pub has provoked a major rumpus after the hostelry allegedly served them with faeces-laced ice cream, Oz's Daily Telegraph reports.
Stephen and Jessica Whyte, their three kids and chums Patrick and Tina Elliott were in the Coogee Bay Hotel's brasserie on 3 October to watch a rugby match in the "family-friendly" environment. Builder Stephen reportedly got involved in a "trivial altercation" with the management after he complained about "not being able to properly watch the grand final as advertised - because the television screen was in another room".
The powers that be apparently served up a bowl of ice cream as an apology, although the "compacted chocolate" concealed beneath the gelato turned out to be less than appetising. Mrs Whyte said: "The minute I put the spoon to my lips the stench went through my nostrils. I retched and spat it into the napkin. My friend thought I was over-reacting, but when she smelt it, she started screaming 'Oh my god, they've served us s***'."
The Whytes promptly submitted the offending dessert for independent testing, which revealed that it did indeed have "an offensive odour and physical properties similar to human excreta" and contained "fragments of a variety of plant matter typical of excreta".
The pub's general manager Tony Williams offered the family AU$5,000 (£2,000) without admitting liability, but the Whytes rejected the offer, preferring to instead demand AU$1,000,000 (£400,000) in compensation. The pub responded by accusing the family of attempting to extort "hush money", and described the claim as "suspicious".
Williams said: "We categorically stand behind the high quality of our food and hygiene standards in the new brasserie and kitchen. Consequently, if indeed this allegation is proved to have occurred, we believe it must have been some form of sabotage."
Indeed, news sources suggested that the Whytes had "links to rivals of the Coogee Bay Hotel". Specifically, it was revealed that Mr Whyte's brother-in-law works for Keystone Hospitality, which owns two rival pubs. Stephen Whyte thundered: "I don't even know who Keystone is. All I know is my wife's brother works in the industry - a thousand people would in Sydney."
The family's lawyer, Steven Lewis, ridiculed: "What is this, the Kevin Bacon ... six degrees of separation [defence]? My question is: 'Did Kevin Bacon put the faeces in the ice-cream?'"
Patrick and Tina Elliott have weighed into the fracas, backing their friends' claim that they were indeed served human excrement. Mrs Elliott confirmed: "They've served us poo - there's nothing else it can be. It absolutely stunk."
To add spice to the mix, the Elliot's lawyers have dispatched a letter to the Coogee Bay Hotel "demanding an apology for allegedly defamatory comments against the family by Mr Williams".
New South Wales Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald confirmed the state government was probing the matter, and explained: "This is an issue of public importance and it is essential we speak to as many parties involved in the alleged incident to get all the facts. We are approaching this investigation with an open mind and it's essential we don't pre-empt the important work that is now under way."
Whatever the eventual outcome of this unholy catfight, the incident has had a "lasting effect" on Jessica Whyte, who said she "now struggled when wiping her youngest son's bottom and was anxious about eating out". ®