A Review of Sorts – The Durham Castle Arms

Ingeegoodbee 10 June 2008 62

Durham Castle Arms

Green Square, Kingston

62951769

Being a rather cold and wet rainy Canberra day I thought I’d treat myself to a hot lunch. The inclement weather meant that the outdoor tables at all the regular café haunts of Green Square were all empty and the meager seating indoors full – well all except for the Durham Castle Arms that is – and that, unfortunately should have been a warning. There were a number of others who had ventured inside the Durham’s contrived faux olde English tavern interior. I went into the restaurant and chose a table near the window and perused the menu – basic pub fare: burgers, schnitzels, steaks, fried seafood and bangers and mash ranging in price between about $12 and $26.  I decided on the chicken schnitzel which I looked forward to washing down with a pint of Zierholz. Unfortunately I never got that far.  After waiting half an hour for anyone to come to take my order I gave up and left.

As I enjoyed my grilled chicken BLT at Kingston Grind I couldn’t help being perplexed at why the Durham’s employees felt they were entitled to the privilege of driving the business into the ground.  So I rang them:

Durham Castle Arms: Good afternoon Durham Castle Arms how can I help you?

Ingeegoodbee: Hi, look I was wondering, are you guys open for lunch today?

Durham Castle Arms: Yes, yes we are, we’re open for lunch until 2.00pm

Ingeegoodbee: Is that the restaurant or the bar?

Durham Castle Arms: Both.

Ingeegoodbee: Is there table service in the restaurant or do you have to order at the bar?

Durham Castle Arms: It’s table service, sir.

Ingeegoodbee: Well then why the fcuk was I left sitting at a table for half an hour waiting for someone to take my order?

Durham Castle Arms: Sorry!

Ingeegoodbee: I said, why the fcuk was I left sitting at a table for half an hour waiting for someone to take my order?

Durham Castle Arms: Sorry!

At this point the whole thing started to feel strangely like that scene from Pulp Fiction when the petrified college kid in the chair can’t stop exclaiming “what!?!” while Samuel Jackson stands over him … I left them to keep chatting about whatever it was the they were doing.

So what, if any, is the etiquette for this? Apart from posting on RA to have a bitch.  Should the customer of an establishment be forced to meekly approach the bar and interrupt in order to get service? Am I being too hard on the staff who were obviously simply catching up on their long weekend exploits?  Is half an hour not long enough?


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62 Responses to A Review of Sorts – The Durham Castle Arms
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ant ant 9:34 pm 17 Aug 08

We went to this place today! And I was thinking of this review as we decided to go there (they had Chicken Scnitzel AND we were both from Queanbeyan, but we didn’t have it). We ordered at the bar, the young waiter bloke was nice and friendly and helpful (had a shocking cold, too). We both went for the pizzas, and I also went for Little Creatures on tap. Yum. The pizzas were proper ones, with pressed-out pastry, although it was a tad flat, seemed to lack yeast that had done its yeasty thing. Mine was a garlic one and very tasty. Friend had the fish one and was kept quite busy getting the mussel-things off it, and scallops and unwrapped prawns. She reckoned it was brilliant though.

It was very pleasant, we sat outside as today was gorgeous. We’d walked from the National Library along the lake shores, checked out the bus depot markets (which were hammered, even interstate bus tours were there!), and then gone in search of food at Kingston.

I wouldn’t say it was a 5 star dining experience, but it was certainly very satisfactory.

FredJ FredJ 1:56 pm 16 Jun 08

You were in a PUB for f’s sake – normal people stroll up to the counter in pubs if service is a little slow…

Meconium Meconium 12:04 am 16 Jun 08

or a GTFO pill…

sirocco sirocco 6:59 pm 15 Jun 08

Ingeegoodbee said :

Many have suggested here that raising the problem with management would be the way to go. Quite plainly, the pretty pathetic response posted here by Adrian shows that the Durham management is more about arse-covering than addressing the concerns of its patrons. Confected excuses and distortions prevail rather than any explanation of why three staff could while away half an hour chatting at the end of the bar whilst customers were left to wonder whether or not anyone would bother taking an order.

It would seem that my view is in the minority. That’s fine with me.

At least Adrian had the guts to introduce himself and explain his position without needing to insult anyone or sling barbs. But if that is the only language you speak then it’s not about others getting a HTFU pill but more that you should look for a GrowTFU pill next time you’re at a chemist.

canyoucount canyoucount 2:14 pm 15 Jun 08

Durham is a hole.

Danman Danman 12:15 pm 13 Jun 08

Kris209 – Wasn’t me.
Dunno who it was , but kudos to them, its always good to get managements side, regardless..

Kris209 Kris209 11:22 am 13 Jun 08

Danman, sirocco, vg – great comments. Obviously close to the mark too.
Ingeegoodbee told me from up high that i wasnt to post to his almighty high intellect (LOL obviously), so i have to just agree and talk to you lot instead…at least i can get my bit in then which makes me feel big again…like swearing at a FEMALE over the phone cos i couldnt get off my ass after being left alone to finish playing important nerd boy at a table.

Danman – good on you for bringing Adrian in to present their side of it!
Durham is a great, friendly place run with good customer service in my experience…well, at least for those who treat others with the same respect they want themselves.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 11:12 am 13 Jun 08

go to a restaraunt and play on your computer – and you wonder why people ignore you?

You’ve not heard of wireless? The appropriateness or otherwise of Ingegoodbees views/actions aside, I’d say there’s a bunch of people in Canberra who combine lunch and some online work/recreation.

Danman Danman 11:03 am 13 Jun 08

LOL Good take on a bad situation ant – I like your style.

I should suggest that to my team leader

ant ant 10:56 am 13 Jun 08

Well, I reckon if I ever want to sit in a warm place and do business on my laptop, I’ll head to the Durham! Sounds like you can tap away in there for hours and not get disturbed by the staff demanding that you buy something. Good tip.

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 9:26 am 13 Jun 08

I guess I just have some unrealistic expectations about what constitutes service in a restaurant. Sure in the bar, you’d have no problem with fronting the bar, but in the restaurant – in an establishment that by their own admission boasts table service you might expect that if you sat at a table for half an hour – someone might bother wandering over to see if you were interested in placing an order. If you staff are simply too damn lazy to bother with the basic aspects of their job, and as a manager you’re happy with that then put a sign up that says “please order at bar”.

Many have suggested here that raising the problem with management would be the way to go. Quite plainly, the pretty pathetic response posted here by Adrian shows that the Durham management is more about arse-covering than addressing the concerns of its patrons. Confected excuses and distortions prevail rather than any explanation of why three staff could while away half an hour chatting at the end of the bar whilst customers were left to wonder whether or not anyone would bother taking an order.

It would seem that my view is in the minority. That’s fine with me.

Thumper Thumper 8:17 am 13 Jun 08

Ramsey is a fckuwit and I hope some poor downtrodden and abused staff member kills him very cruelly with a chopstick and a colander.

circusmind circusmind 11:43 pm 12 Jun 08

of course you could have gotten up and just ordered at the bar. it is a pub, after all. jesus.

Danman Danman 9:25 pm 12 Jun 08

Gordon Ramsay is a marketing machine, marketing himself. Basically he is a paid actor. Sure chefs (including me at times) are arrogant w@nkers but do you think anyone would watch some brit chef if he was a boring old ugly dullard ?

Ramsay is a marketing genious, and the product he pushes is the public image of Gordon Ramsay.

vg vg 9:00 pm 12 Jun 08

Also speaks volumes that someone doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to raise the issue face-to-face but it more than happy to annonymously sling the barbs over the phone or the net.

sirocco sirocco 8:39 pm 12 Jun 08

Ingeegoodbee – just cos someone works at a pub doesn’t instantly give you permission to swear at them on the phone and then expect a serious response. Why should effective methods of communication change just because the workplace is different? Regardless of whether you think fcuk is a profanity it isn’t the language most people would use when negotiating within the public service so why should it be any different in a the hospitality industry. I suppose you think that just cos someone works at a nightclub they should expect a drunk patron to assault them at some point or grab their bum. If it is unacceptable during 9-5 in an office then why should hospitality service people suffer people like you, Belinda Neal or John della Bosca?

And before anyone brings up Gordon Ramsay, that is all about context and closeness between staff – it is clearly not verbal abuse. If a patron becomes verbally abusive within an establishment they should expect to be asked to leave.

vg vg 8:18 pm 12 Jun 08

or maybe, when no-one served you for a little while, you could have gotten off your fat blurter, walked up to the counter and said these secret words that I’d ask you not to let too many people know about:

“Excuse me mate/love/sir/madam, would I be able to order something to eat?”

Call me crazy but it might have seen a different outcome.

Thanks for confirming, with this story and the subsequent ass smack you got back from the Durham, what some of us have thought all along

Danman Danman 8:09 pm 12 Jun 08

Fcuk the quality stories that I used to like about Ra – this is why I come back…. Keep it coming…

ingee – dont like the service – set your own fcuking restaraunt up – its obvious that the Durham has done fine and will do fine for years without white collar t_urd burglars like you gracing them (so you think) with your presence.

Maybe you need some HTFU pills sunshine – go to a restaraunt and play on your computer – and you wonder why people ignore you ? what a retard…

Guess you expect a menu and bottle of water from a leggy 20 something waitress when you get back to your desk at work eh ?

Deadmandrinking Deadmandrinking 7:18 pm 12 Jun 08

Whereas you were an ass all along…

vg vg 5:59 pm 12 Jun 08

Funny how the original whinger now ends up looking like the ass

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