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Australian Chef Arrested for Running Drug Ring in His Kitchen

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Balcony Bar.
Balcony Bar.
Photos: Urban Walkabout, Sydney Morning Herald,

Balcony Bar, a wine bar in Sydney's central business district, was apparently popular for more than just their Australian-influenced small plates menu: executive chef Grant Michael Richardson was using the kitchen to pass bags of ecstasy and speed to a runner as part of a multimillion dollar drug syndicate. Richardson was arrested after the runner, Paul "Robbo" Robinson, sold $20,000 worth of drugs over three months to an undercover police officer wearing a wire. Robinson and two other men, including a former Olympic judo athlete, were also arrested.

Somewhat delightfully (for our purposes, anyhow), Robinson apparently referred to the drugs using food code words. He was recorded complaining that "three people say that they weren't that happy with the food" and that they "didn't taste anything all night."

Balcony Bar was started in late 2009 with a $18,300 (US $18,211) government grant through the Small Bars and Restaurants Bill (which we're sure people are really happy about in light of these arrests). This summer, the bar received a 4.5 out of 5 star review from The Sydney Morning Herald and is apparently frequented by celebrities. Their website says they also do corporate events for the businesses in the area including "a number of team building activities including cocktail making lessons, golf, tennis, amazing race and guest & motivational speakers." And, apparently, by providing them with recreational drugs?

· Drug Deals on the Head Chef's Menu at A-List Balcony Bar in Sydney [Daily Telegraph]
· Review: Balcony Bar [SMH]
· Balcony Bar [Official Site]

Balcony Bar

46 Erskine St Sydney New South Wales 2000, Australia