16 July 2006

Carlo's at Watson - "Not happy, Con!"

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Over the course of a few weeks’ worth of radio quiz competitions, my friends and I had won three dinners for two, each to the value of $70 at Carlo’s. The only condition on the prize vouchers was that alcoholic drinks were not included. We decided to cash in our prizes for someone’s birthday.

However, at Carlo’s, we were made to feel as if we were seeking to ‘abuse the system’ by having 6 people at one table using 3 separate prize vouchers. We asked if it would be a problem if we sat at 3 tables of 2 and were advised that this would be OK. We subsequently did this, with a fair degree of grace on our parts.

Next thing, the goatee-faced gorilla-esque manager – Con Carlissios – scuttled out from under a rock in the kitchen and abused us because “…we were getting this for free…” and for “…carrying on like this…”. It did not appear to occur to this mouth-breathing troglodyte that 1×6=3×2. Go figure.

Our take on the situation was validated by the table next to us where the people were appalled that we were were treated in such a churlish and petulant manner. Thanks Con, you are one.

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Holden Caulfield2:37 pm 06 Aug 10

You should have waited until 11:59am to place your order. Then, by the time the order was placed with the kitchen, it would have been after 12:00pm and caused a spontaneous combustion.

It’s a win/win!

Nice thread bump by the way.

why would anyone go to Carlo’s when there are so mnay great places to eat in Dickson? Or the new place at Hackett? or Ainslie? Or Braddon? Like, how far is it from Watson to any of these places?

Overpriced, unchanging menus that belong in the 90’s. Although I haven’t struck bad service as others have, the quality is enough for me to keep it well down the list of places I might go to for a quick bite.

These guys are a bunch of Wankers!

I’m a new (and no longer) regular with these twats. Been there about 8 times in the past two months. Spend over $200 there. Could have been more.

Today i stolled down to the watson shops to get a feed. It was near lunch time and i thought i’d give Carlos’s a visit.

Walked in at 11.48, had to find my own seat.

Said hello to the waitress who scowled at me. Didn’t give me a menu, asked what I want.

Asked & Got the menu, was breakfast menu.

That’s wierd i thought, she’s given me the wrong menu.

I politely stated i needed the lunch menu, and she said i could not order lunch as it wasn’t 12 o’clock. It was breakfast or nothing. I said i really didn’t feel like breakfast and she gave excuses like ‘another table has to wait for lunch too’

Now i understand the concept of kitchens changing over from breakfast to lunch catering. But what is this, McDonalds? The attitude of the waitress was that i was breaking some rule and that i needed to be put into line… i was flabbergasted.

I made the mistake of asking the managed what the deal was that i couldn’t order lunch (it was now 11.52) He said that’s the way it was and turned away. What a arrogant prick.

Unbelieveable. Heard of customer service?

ALternatively, they could have said

“Sure, here’s the Lunch menu. The kitchen will be changing over shortly so there will be a short wait…”. But NO.

I walked out in protest after giving the Manager a serve about treating regulars with respect and rants about stinking attitudes. I got the feeling he’s got this before! Some guy strolled out shortly after me and shared with me the many nightmaries experiences he’s had with the place.

What planet to these people live on? It surely isn’t one which earns the respect of repeated patronage!

My South Korean colleagues often complain about the difficulty of locating dogmeat restaurants in Canberra, and feel they are not welcome trapping dogs in the suburbs. Maybe there is such a restaurant in the inner north?

The dog culture of the inner north is prized and highly developed.

Restaurants always have to right to say no but the smart ones value the custom and the ambience.

Carlo’s staff take their cues from the boss who, in my personal experience, holds his customers in contempt.

they also hate prams.

and they serve champagne by the glass – always flat.

Hey! I resent that. Oh, wait…I’m not flea-ridden…2 outta 3 ain’t bad though.

Carry on…

Perhaps like me, they were pissed off with diners who insist on taking flea-ridden, flatulent mongrels to restaurants.

The following happened at Carlo’s (Watson) about 18 months ago for a group of 6 to 8 people, but it doesn’t sound like it has improved much.

A table had been booked outside for dog-sitting reasons. When we turned up, they had reserved a table inside the cafe. C’est la vie, we went with the flow, tied the dogs up outside and watched them as best we could.

It took 30 minutes before our waiter would tell us (with disinterest) the specials, answer questions about the menu (treating us as imbeciles) and take our order. When the food finally arrived, it was okay, if a little expensive.

One member of the table ordered a latte. A cappuccino arrived and she requested a latte again. They took it inside, scooped off the froth with a spoon and brought it straight back out.

An outside table was vacated. We moved there so we could better supervise the dogs and finish up. The original waiter (A) looked around as though we had skipped the bill.

A second waiter (B) took our payment for the bill, but didn’t return with a (sizable) refund. (We weren’t interested in tipping by this stage.) We asked the original waiter (A) if we might be able to retrieve our change. He intimated that we’d already received it and were dipping our fingers into the till a second time (seriously, not jokingly).

Honest mistakes are made, but arrogance and incompetence isn’t going to win my patronage again. Goes to show you that suburban businesses can be maintained because a high concentration of locals don’t want to travel elsewhere for a basic level of food and service. If I won a free meal at Carlo’s, I’d give it a miss.

Way back when in 2001 we put up this story on Carlos – http://www.the-riotact.com/article.php?sid=942

glad to see it hasn’t changed and is still as bad as ever

I’m with Big Al and Tempestas on this one.

Big Al, hit it on the head.

This town has far too many 2 star premises selling 1.5 start food for 4 star prices with 0 star service. May they all go bankrupt!

Given that the industry itself claims that we are over serviced – it would be a shame if dives like Carlo’s were to survive whilst perhaps other, nicer establishments were to fall by the wayside … perhaps its time for a targeted response – a little community assistance in culling off the less desirable and promoting the places that are trying harder.

I’d ring the radio station that gave you the tickets and inform them of this matter.

If they are giving them away and this is happening they could see themselves as getting bad publicity and they won’t stand for it.

Thank God I live in Tuggeranong and not Watson anymore. You wouldn’t catch me there even if Con himself paid for my meal.

From memory Carlos was one of the joints that ranked highly in the RiotACT thread on Canberra’s worst restaurants. It’s not surprising then that this place would be handing out free dinners to try and get some people through the door. My limited experience of the place is that its yet another of those Canberra eateries that takes a range of fairly straight forward dishes like pasta and risotto and completely fucks them up – and then for a joke – charges the hapless diner $16-22 a plate for the same.

I guess no one explained in detail the concept of promoting his business to Con Carlissios. You would imagine that the aim of the whole exercise was for you guys to leave so impressed with the food and service that you’d recommend it to all and sundry – instead Con comes across as a tawdry little tight-arse and nothing is done to address the restaurants well established reputation as a fairly ordinary place to eat.

Ha! I was just thinking about carlos’ the other day after seeing this ad: http://allhomes.com.au/c/ah?a=sp&p=265544 (and remembering how others have been treated there before).

I was thinking to myself “acclaimed, eh? Might have to go there sometime”. Not anymore. Silly me for believing real-estate agent spin! 🙂

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