I have eaten at Le Rendezvous a number of times over the past few years. My experience there has been varied, but the most recent one means I will never return.
We dined with another couple. Despite it being only about 10 days before Christmas and every other place in Manuka was bursting at the seams, Le Rendezvous was only about two-thirds full. The two waitresses looked about 16 years old and quite clearly one of them in particular was completely inexperienced. She was nervous, hesitant, didn't know the menus, didn't know anything about the food, when serving placed the wrong dishes in front of people and despite passing by our table six times (I counted) after we had very obviously finished our meals, did not take away our plates or offer us dessert menus (we waited a full 20 minutes before finally calling across the room to get her attention).
The food also, disappointingly, was decidedly average. I cook better pasta and pizza at home. All four of us were underwhelmed and surprised as we'd all eaten at Le Rendezvous previously and enjoyed better food.
The real disappointment however was the attitude of the owner/manager. Having finally managed to order dessert, my three companions were almost immediately served the gelato they had ordered. They politely waited, their gelato melting, for my slice of cake to arrive. After about 7 or 8 minutes, my friend went out to tell the manager that I was still waiting for my dessert. He apologised and said it would be out soon. Another 6 or 7 minutes went by before I was eventually served my cake. What was the delay? It's pre-made cake! Also, despite it being described on the menu as being served with a mango coulis, it was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I do not like ice cream, gelato, cream etc - I have a low dairy tolerance. Therefore I quickly gave the scoop to my partner before it had a chance to melt on my plate. It was only when I was halfway through the cake that I realised the mango coulis was missing. I didn't finish the dessert - the cake was ordinary and would have benefited from the mango coulis.
I finished my dessert and we decided to leave immediately. At the counter I told the manager I didn't believe I should be charged for my dessert as I'd waited a full 15 minutes for it to be served and ended up eating it by myself as my three companions had to eat their gelato before it melted. Also, it wasn't as described on the menu - where was the coulis? I was then given a cock-and-bull story about them having decided not to do the mango coulis anymore as in the warmer months 'it goes off'....?! Refrigeration? I asked what he meant - I couldn't understand this reasoning. He asked me then if I knew what a coulis was. I answered that I have made many a coulis myself at home, so yes - I did know. And I never had a problem with it 'going off' if you refrigerated it. When he realised he could not bamboozle me with this story, he then changed his tune and argued that (a) it was not 15 minutes I had waited (I told him I had timed it), and (b) 'We always serve gelato first'. Incredulous, I asked 'So you would ordinarily serve gelato immediately to a table, whilst others who've ordered different desserts have to wait?' He claimed this was the case. When I said that if they have decided not to serve the coulis, they should alter their menu as people ordered a dish on the basis of its description, he scoffed and said they didn't have to.
I should mention I also had an Entertainment Card entitling me to a discount for the meal. This was the main reason we'd decided to eat at Le Rendezvous - to get some benefit from the card. As I handed it across, the owner then told me it was his prerogative whether or not to accept the card (this is NOT true, by the way and the Entertainment Card people are taking this up with the owner). He was clearly annoyed that we'd complained about the dessert issue. I told him that if he didn't accept the card, none of us would dine there again and we would tell all our friends about this experience. We were agog when the owner stated that he didn't really care whether we came back or not, and informed us that 'People think the restaurant business is competitive - it's not. It makes not difference whether you come back or not' !!!!!!!
So there you have it, people - the owner of Le Rendezvous doesn't need your business so don't bother going.
Only a couple of weeks before this experience I had dined at Le Rendezvous with a friend and enjoyed good service from experienced, mature staff and reasonably tasty food. The contrast on this last visit was incredible. I am unwilling to risk suffering another dud evening and therefore will not be returning.... particularly, as noted above, when the owner tells me he doesn't need my business.
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