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“What A Shambles...”

De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe
Ranked #932 of 3,893 Restaurants in Auckland
Price range: $15 - $29
Cuisines: Belgian, Seafood, Bar, Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Scenic view
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Description: De Fontein is located in the heart of Mission Bay, just 8 minutes drive from Auckland's CBD, and is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, especially from the sun drenched balcony overlooking the bay. We proudly serve authentic Belgian cuisine complimented by an extensive selection of fine Belgian beers & some of the best wines from NZ and Australia. We recommend you try our signature steaming mussel pots, or our famous mussel platters.
Reviewed July 12, 2014 via mobile

I've been to lots of restaurants in my time, but I have only ever had cause to walk out of one of them until today.

My wife, in-laws, and I visited De Fontein for lunch, after a great time at Kelly Tarlton's. We arrived at half past two, when the restaurant was busy, if not quite full. We ordered drinks and some mains, and were very excited given how delicious everything sounded. Unfortunately we were in for a nasty shock.

20 minutes later we still hadn't received our drinks. We asked the waiter, who was very apologetic, and went to sort things out. Sadly when he returned with the drinks, he had mixed up a Leffe Brune for a Hoegaarden, which are two very different sounding and looking beverages. But no matter, the mistake was rectified quickly.

45 minutes later there was still no sign of our food. When we asked the waiter he apologised, and said the kitchen were aware of the delay (why hadn't they spoken to us about it before), and promised to have our food with us in '5-10 minutes'. 10 minutes later there was still no food, so, thoroughly fed up, we decided to walk out. On the way we met the manager, who apologised, but said our food would still be another '8 minutes away'. By then it had become clear that we were going to die of old age before we got anything to eat, so we decided that enough was enough.

To be fair the manager allowed us to leave without paying for our drinks, which was a nice touch.

However, the 'service' we experienced can only be described as shambolic. Admittedly I don't have any experience of the restaurant industry, but let me offer this piece of advice to the powers-that-be at De Fontein. If customers are asking where their food is after a ridiculously long wait, you need to rush it out as quickly as possible. Not try to fob them off with 'it will be another 10 minutes' on two consecutive occasions. That's the kind of crap that gets you terrible reviews on Trip Advisor.

Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frenzigroup, General Manager at De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2014

Hi David,
I am so sorry to hear about your negative experience at De Fontein over the weekend. I was actually made aware of what happened by the Duty Manager so am pleased to be able to follow up with you.

Unfortunately we do experience wait times on some orders at specific peak times. We do our best to inform our customers of these situations so I'm disappointed that this was not communicated to you on this occasion.

However I am very sorry that your mains were delayed even more than our standard peak wait times. There was a communication breakdown between your waiter and the kitchen which caused the problem. It was a mistake on our behalf which should not have happened. I am pleased the Manager was able to talk to you before you left and sort the bill for you but obviously we wish this hadn't happened in the first place.

I would appreciate being able to discuss this with you in person too. Could you please email manager@defontein.co.nz with your contact details? I would really like to get in touch with you to try and put this right.

We do appreciate feedback from our customers and really take the comments on board so do thank you for your review. I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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302 - 306 of 389 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2014

On arrival we were struck by the “authentic” Belgium beer house interior – dark wood, worn staircase and tables that made it feel like it was centuries old.

For our lunch we had a warm welcome and selected a table overlooking Mission bay – there are a number of tables with large umbrellas on the upper floor terrace.

Fortunately we arrived before the lunch crowd and selected from the Light Meals menu a Caesar Salad with chicken at $20.50; and Mussel, Chorizo & Sweet corn Fritters. Despite not being busy it took 25 minutes for our orders to arrive and we were rewarded with two excellent dishes that reflected fresh preparation and attention to detail. In addition they were both generous servings – well done.

The De Fontein Belgium Beer Cafe had a huge list of Belgium beers that would satisfy the discretionary of drinkers and it is certainly a great place to enjoy a Sunday afternoon sitting in the sun and enjoying live jazz.

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Thank Winetourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2014

We walked into the downstairs part. There were two guys mucking around out the back. We were looking for lunch. No one behind the bar. One of them came towards us and we asked him if we could look at a lunch menu. He kept on walking past us and said wait wait....We were a bit perplexed. We heard some noise upstairs and had seen people on the upstairs balcony drinking - so we went up some stairs. It was all go up there and it seemed as though we had 'found' the restaurant. The service improved and we had a couple of beers. The females upstairs were great and they were very good. We got a male waiter in the end and ordered the bread selection. We weren't too impressed with the rest of the menu so we thought we would complete our lunch somewhere else. The bread selection arrived and the waiter disappeared. We went to hunt out our own side plates and utensils. Then we left and ended up at Prego in Ponsonby....and that's another story. Belgium Bar....you really need to get your act together. Having said that - a great place for a beer in the sun.....but that's it. Plenty of room for improvement in your service boys....girls you were efficient and friendly. Maybe a better menu in Summer?

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Thank Martin F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frenzigroup, General Manager at De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback regarding your experience at De Fontein. I appreciate the comments you have made, and I will be discussing these in depth with our team.

We always value reviews in order to improve our service and overall experience at De Fontein and I will certainly ensure that the comments you have made, have an impact on our future training at De Fontein.
Thank you for your time,
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2014

Lots of good TA ratings so went for the Belgian beer and Mussels. Didn't seem overly busy but had to stop a waiter to order drinks. Then again to order food. Then again to order another round.
We waited 70 minutes for a steak and a pot of mussels, both with frites, and when we inquired about the wait time, we're told it was very busy. No apology. Steak was well undercooked. Advised waiter who offered to get another which I declined due to the wait. He knocked off 50% off my steak which was alright but since I only ate the outer part! I pretty much paid for what I ate.
Had heard good things, and may go back for drinks as I enjoy Belgian beer, but won't go back to eat.
The bartender downstairs was super friendly when we arrived, but after we were seated upstairs, the rest was downhill.

Thank spit_murphy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frenzigroup, General Manager at De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded June 15, 2014

Thank you for taking the time do write your review. I am very sorry to hear of your experience. I am aware of some issues that occurred last week, which unfortunately impacted on our customer experience. We aim to deliver the best service and great quality food, however on rare occasions somethings happen beyond our control, which sadly was the case on the night you visited. We had a technical issue that night, which put a lot of pressure on our service resulting in delays and not the best attentive service we strive for. In regard to the steak being undercooked, I sincerely apologise that this occured and we weren't able to recook this for you. If you could please drop me a line at office@defontein.co.nz, I would very much like to get in touch with you personally too.
Thank you again for your time
General Manager
De Fontein

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2014

This is definitely the best Cafe Location in Mission Bay. We dined o/s up stairs. The service staff were friendly & professional though definitely under a bit too much pressure. That happens & they coped well. As it was apparently National Hamburger Day we shared The Special Burger made for the Day. It was plenty for two with the wedges. (we are moderate eaters) At approx $22 it was just ok, nice enough but nothing special. I wished I had chosen from the Menu and could better judge their quality and presentation. My first choice for lunch based on trip advisor reviews would have been Black Sugar Grill, however this offered no views and was in a shaded spot. I definitely intend to try Black Sugar at some future date, perhaps for inside evening dinning.

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Thank 412marianneh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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