We came to this "restaurant" based on a quick perusal of reviews of places in Huay Xai. Sounded great: organic, no MSG, good cause, etc. We arrived early around 6:00pm and were greeted by Lara, the woman who spearheaded the project. We ordered the menu for two: chicken, rice, and Lao salad, plus a beer and a coconut shake. In all honesty, from the beginning, it was mayhem in this place - kids running around, some crying, some unattended, and blank looks from the locals hanging out there. Not the relaxed, laid back atmosphere, and interactive experience we had read about in the reviews and hoped for. We waited for about 20 minutes for the coconut shake (not good by the way). After another 15 minutes later, we motioned a woman to inquire about the beer (they had simply forgotten), which she then brought right away. We thought, oh well, it's Laos, and again, and they are still learning, so we shrugged it off. But then came the real disaster: about a half hour later the barbecued chicken and rice arrived. No salad. The chicken was kind of dry and salty and the rice very bland. We inquired about the salads, which they had forgotten, and they brought it right away. But the salads looked a week old or something with the lettuce quite wilted. By then, we were really uncomfortable as the locals (women mainly) hanging out there were really staring at us. We wanted to talk to Lara as she spoke English and ask her about the salad to find out whether or not it was normal that it was wilted. We asked the staff 3 times if we could talk to Lara and they ignored us and finally gave us a quick "she's busy" reply as they obviously didn't want to deal with anything and were busy playing on their phones. My husband finally got up and walked down the path a short distance and found Lara in a hammock not busy at all and willing to come to our table to talk to us. She explained the wilted salad is normal for Lao style salad. Since then, we've had other Lao style salads not wilted at all, so not sure what recipe they're following there. When the bill finally came, it was off by 5O,000 Kips.
Overall, very disappointing from the staffs' behavior and attitude to the food quality, not to mention the prices. We paid 128,000 Kips for a bad dinner and an uncomfortable atmosphere, now that's a donation! If you want to support the cause, just donate some money and go get yourself a good meal downtown. One final note: on a second look, some of the TripAdvisor reviews look very fishy and market-ish, and we noticed at least one that's from a western volunteer who works there.
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