A week on from eating in this wretched dive, my blood still boils when I look at my bank statement. For a little off £60 (that's around $80), my wife and I were given some of the most dreadful food and rudest service in existence, and why we didn't just walk straight out the place without giving them a penny is a decision that will always haunt me.
Where do I start? Well, we arrived in Colonia for a day-trip, and, after walking round for a few hours and swiftly establishing there was little to see or do there of much significance, we ended up deciding to get something to eat. So, into this little restaurant we ventured. It was a warm, muggy day, and I was feeling a bit depressed, realising that as our return boat didn't leave until 8pm, we were stuck in this town for quite some time. I don't wish to digress, and I know some people genuinely appear to take to Colonia's charms, but I found some seriously bad vibes running through the place from the moment we arrived. It's a strange place. If any of you have ever seen that dire seventies horror film, 'Island of Death' (filmed in Greece, I believe), Colonia is very similar. Really.
Anyway, the restaurant looked a bit rundown and old-fashioned (or I suppose what some might call 'quaint') but we decided to give it a chance. So in we went. I ordered a cocktail, and the menu had about a dozen to choose from. I'd get drunk and maybe the time would go by quicker. Anyway, the waitress came over. I chose. They don't have that one, I'm told. Ok. Fine. I choose another. Not that one either. Ok. How about this one? Then, she just waves her hand over the whole page and informs me that, in fact, none of them are available. Great. I glance up at the bar, which looks, to be fair, reasonably well-stocked, and notice a woman sat in front of it who looks somewhat like psychic Sally, the famous British ‘clairvoyant’ who claims she can speak to dead people. Every now and then, we'd hear a strange 'ding!' sound from somewhere – unsure what it was for – and during all this frantic activity, a bird kept coming into the restaurant and flapping about, much to the staff members' annoyance. Although, to be fair, these waitresses already looked pretty angry anyway.
I end up ordering a beer. I gave up trying to figure out what costs what because the prices are all in Uruguayan pesos (makes sense given that we were in Uruguy). We ordered some starters and mains and as we waited, we both 'took in' the drab surroundings and miserable atmosphere. The starters were dull; very 'mum's gone to Iceland' (the Brits will know what I'm talking about here). Nevertheless, we ate them whilst observing the faces of the staff. Each one looked like a slapped backside that had been beaten and flogged on a multitude of occasions, and the repetitive music playing in the background became irritating, in part because it was so repetitive. Later on, after leaving this horrible little dwelling, we'd head off to a nearby café where the same damned soundtrack would be pumping out.
Anyway, the food. I decided to take a photo of the main course in case I needed to describe it to a doctor later on. It was served on a brightly coloured plate (a little like a children's birthday party plate), and it was basically a slab of steak with a sauce on top, and, next to it, 30 or so little balls. On initial inspection, I thought these were cheese puffs, but, upon prodding them with my fork, they transpired to be little potato balls, deep fried. I think. I turned and noticed that pretty much everyone in the restaurant had been served these things. I ate as much as I could and then did a strange thing. I felt uneasy. And a bit weird. So I went out to the back of the toilet and puked the lot up. Really.
I still didn't feel much better but hey, we were leaving, so I had something to smile about. It was when the bill came that I wanted to vomit once more. A few beers and a horrid set of starters and main courses, and this place want £60 off me. Oh my God. I did consider jumping over the counter and physically threatening psychic Sally right there and then - I'm sure she was the manager - telling her that the only thing she was getting paid for was for the beers and perhaps the deep-fried squid, but, I don't think any of them spoke English, so we just ended up paying and leaving.
However, on our way out the door, a family were coming inside. I patted the arm of the man who was enthusiastically leading them inside and shook my head vigorously, repeating 'not good, not good.' He nodded, said 'gracias,' and escorted his little clan back out onto the street again.
This made me feel a little better. Avoid this place. It's horrible.
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