We went to Charcoal for my daughter's birthday. Despite being Canberra natives, we had never been, so we were all eagerly anticipating a lovely dinner at this famous Canberra restaurant.
Whilst the steaks were perfect, we were very disappointed with almost every other aspect of our dining experience. The restaurant is very homely, which, granted, is part of its charm, but the use of placemats and uncomfortable, battered chairs are not befitting of a restaurant that charges the kind of prices that Charcoal does.
Even though we told our waiter that it was our first time eating at the restaurant, we weren't told that the meals came with a baked potato and vegetables. I'm sure they do this on purpose, to ensure that customers order up on plenty of sides, which we did, believing the meals to come with steaks only.
As I said before, our steaks arrived perfectly cooked and utterly delicious. The disappointment was then that we had cooked vegetables on the table, baked potatoes on our plates, and a myriad of other sides that we'd ordered such as chips and garden salads, that sat largely untouched, and which we would not have ordered had we been properly informed to begin with.
Then we went to pay for our meal, and the girl told us she required a few minutes to get the bill ready. We were waiting to head home to have birthday cake, as Charcoal forbids BYO of any kind, including birthday cakes, but a few minutes transpired into ten minutes, all just to get a bill ready!
We won't be going back to this restaurant, not even for the great steaks. Restaurants are much more than the food they serve - they are about the atmosphere they create and the enjoyment of their guests, neither of which we experienced at Charcoal.
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