The setting promises good things are about to happen to you. Our table sits beside a small and pretty stream flowing lazily past, the restaurant is full of seemingly happy Sunday brunch diners and after a week of heavy rain the sun has even shown up. I am happy.
Our friends are already at the table and have ordered a bowl of fries and aioli to nibble on whilst we make our choices. They arrive in a cute wire basket; steaming hot on the inside with just the right amount of crunch. I am very happy now.
The young man whom we first meet is a delight. With a trace of an accent, possibly Irish, he has that wonderful conversational manner and humour that tells you “I love what I do, I enjoy my customers and I am passionate about food and wine”. Waitstaff like this add another dimension to a good meal.
But then our waitress arrives and the real comedy begins. She takes my order and Mr Man’s but stops there. The naked hunger of our friends has alluded her. As all hope of a meal starts to disappear with her turning to leave they cry out in desperation. OK I am exaggerating but her comment; “well I assumed you had ordered as you don’t have a menu” brought a swift retort from our hungry pals as the table for four had only ever been brought one menu.
My friend has been eyeing up the fish special but our young waitress cannot tell her what the risotto is under the fish. “It is risotto and the fish comes served with parmesan on top” After asking a few times my friend changes her order to fish and chips, much simpler.
Still full of bonhomie or could that be the excellent house Chardonnay, we look forward to our meal. Three of us have ordered two entrees each and ask our waitress that they do not all come out together which sadly they do. So now there are 7 large plates on our table and horrors! almost no room for our wine glasses. We of the entrees eat fast so the second dish does not go cold. Mild grumblings of discontent now.
The food had highlights but overall was fairly average. My crumbed mushrooms stuffed with a rich blue cheese were superb. By contrast the char-grilled squid was bland and although quite tender did not deliver the taste I was expecting from the description on the menu; the mango chilli dressing was hardly in evidence. The ribs, whilst generous in their portions and cooked so they were falling apart were paired with an overly sweet barbecue sauce.
OK we thought, not great but we are mainly here to catch up with mates we have not seen for a long time so we will order another bottle of the Chardonnay (it really was that good) and carry on our conversation. So we tried to order, looking around for someone to take our order and then looking some more. Mr Man was beginning to resemble a nosy meercat flagging a cab when our waitress finally caught sight of him and put in an appearance. There were shades of Oliver Twist when we asked for some more of the fine drop we had finished some time ago as our young lady looked at us and exclaimed “you don’t want another bottle?!” And that really summed it all up as we came to the conclusion that what we really were experiencing was a gross lack of training. I don’t blame the waitress, I blame the negligent restaurateur who owns the establishment.
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