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D’Browes Restaurant Reviewer above Criticism

By aussielyn 23 September 2011 34

It appears that my letter, below, to the Editor of the Canberra Times regarding the review of D’Browes Restaurant in Narrabundah has been ignored. This reviewer and editor of Food & Wine clearly does not like local shopping centres south of the lake and tends to sledge them to pad out her articles to the required length. Even the architecture of Torrens shops previously got a serve from this specious epicure. Standards at the crimes have remarkably slipped since the old days of Michael Foster.

Comments from hospitality workers regarding this reviewer are particularly sought after!

I have heard that many restaurants will not accept a booking from her because of the unbalanced reviews she has done on their peers. A chef’s opinion would be more informative & constructive than a data analyst.

“Kirsten Lawson’s review of D’Browes Restaurant in Narrabundah, Canberra Times, Food & Wine Page 6, 14 Sept 2011, is more like a blog flame against our local shops than a self appointed gourmet’s opinion. Firstly Kirsten has to endure “the slightly shady feeling shops in Narrabundah” to get to the premises. Then the reviewer is confronted with the horror of a BYO which does seem below her comfort zone. The inconvenience location of the toilets is also criticised. The quality of the food is described as lacking finesse and good quality ingredients. As D’Browes is very busy and has a good loyal following, for many years, it is clear that Kirsten’s review will only make her opinions lacking credibility and finesse.

Of course one cannot please all the people all the time but this food reviewer apparently wants a dubious reputation. This meandering article leaves a lot to be desired about the word smithing capabilities of the author, let alone pontificating about the food quality of a restaurant. “

The CTs Review is here.

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34 Responses to
D’Browes Restaurant Reviewer above Criticism
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bleebleeblee 11:35 am 29 Sep 11

Watson said :

keepitup said :

It was a sad day when the quirky Italian deli/homeware store closed though. That must have been my favourite shop in the whole of Canberra. (Ok, apart from the old bike store in Dickson before it got replaced with the usual wanky upmarket place.)
.

Watson i must respectfully urge you to reconsider your intemperate view of the Dickson bike shop! They do sell some fancy and expensive bikes (and some less expensive ones) but I’ve found the service there to be second to none – they have always been more than gracious about doing quality and reasonably priced repairs/service/parts for my old clankers.

Watson 10:23 am 29 Sep 11

Beserk Keyboard Warrior said :

I also live in Bundah, though I loathe telling people where I live as I’m sick of the predictable “oooooooh” response accompanied with a wry smile. And what I find funny is that no-one will ever admit that the reason Bundah has a rough reputation in their mind is because of the higher than average Aboriginal component. But I guarantee, mention Bundah to someone and 100% of the time it will invoke irrational fears of being mugged by a bandanda-wearing aboriginal. I’d find it enormously refreshing if someone had the kahunas to just admit it for once instead of hiding behind their veil of racism.

It also was were the new migrants were housed in the 60s and 70s. There’s still a few of the original migrant families living there that have been there since then.

Erg0 10:04 am 29 Sep 11

Just so you know, the internet is not real life.

Mothy 9:57 am 29 Sep 11

Jethro said :

If you read my post I never said anything about getting into an argument. All I did was question the charge and comment that they should change their sign to reflect the fact that all card payments have a surcharge, not just credit card payments. The waitresses response to this was rude and condescending.

I am reminded of Monty Python’s arguement sketch;

M: Oh look, this isn’t an argument.
A: Yes it is.
M: No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.

Grail @ #25 has gotten to the distinction that I am talking about – did you hit the Savings or Cheque button, or did you hit Credit? You did use the word Debit, and hence the confusion.

thatsnotme said :

What’s crazy about the whole situation, is that if a business seriously looked at what it cost them to handle cash sales – ie time to balance the till, time to go to the bank to deposit the cash, let alone the security issues related to handling cash and having employees trusted with it – many businesses may conclude that they’d be better off charging a surcharge for cash sales, and absorbing the cost of EFTPOS transactions.

+1

Die Lefty Scum said :

If someone walks up to me on the street and asks me a question, it’d be considered rather rude if I just ignored them and kept on walking.

Yes, but if someone on the street starts critiquing how you do your job, you might be well advised to ignore them. Don’t feed the trolls.

Die Lefty Scum 9:30 am 29 Sep 11

matt31221 said :

It is apparently common for some journalists not to respond to a letter sent to them. They may be filled up with their own self importance and have delusions of granduer. Thinking they are too good to even interact with you. Who really cares what that journo thinks anyways eh?

If someone walks up to me on the street and asks me a question, it’d be considered rather rude if I just ignored them and kept on walking. So I find it odd that it seems to be perfectly acceptable for someone to just ignore your email, or pretend they never got it. It’s the equivalent of a cyber slap in the face if you ask me.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior 9:05 am 29 Sep 11

I also live in Bundah, though I loathe telling people where I live as I’m sick of the predictable “oooooooh” response accompanied with a wry smile. And what I find funny is that no-one will ever admit that the reason Bundah has a rough reputation in their mind is because of the higher than average Aboriginal component. But I guarantee, mention Bundah to someone and 100% of the time it will invoke irrational fears of being mugged by a bandanda-wearing aboriginal. I’d find it enormously refreshing if someone had the kahunas to just admit it for once instead of hiding behind their veil of racism.

Watson 6:59 am 29 Sep 11

thatsnotme said :

Grail said :

EFTPOS card is EFTPOS card (or Cashcard™ if you were with Civic or Canberra Credit Unions way back in the day).
…..
So tell the teller that you want to pay using EFTPOS on the Savings/Cheque account, not “using my Debit card”.

What you tell the teller makes no difference though, if you’re using a card with no VISA debit option – and reading Jethro’s post, I think he is talking about your bog standard card – ie, options for using Savings or Cheque accounts, not credit.

Applying credit card type fees onto payments made via EFTPOS is just a money grab – especially if that fee is percentage based. Credit card payments are subject to percentage based merchant fees, but EFTPOS payments are charged at a flat ‘per transaction’ rate, 20-30 cents. So if Jethro was charged say a 1% surcharge on his $200 bill, he’s just paid an extra $2 to cover the 20 cents or so the business has been charged.

What’s crazy about the whole situation, is that if a business seriously looked at what it cost them to handle cash sales – ie time to balance the till, time to go to the bank to deposit the cash, let alone the security issues related to handling cash and having employees trusted with it – many businesses may conclude that they’d be better off charging a surcharge for cash sales, and absorbing the cost of EFTPOS transactions.

There is a fixed fee as well as a percentage of value fee for credit cards. But the fixed fee depends on what kind of card you’re using. The more expensive the card – eg. a cold card – the higher the fixed fee. Agreed, this still only applies to credit cards, but in the end, it’s probably easier to just extrapolate that to all card transactions, so you don’t have to explain the fee structure to people every time they want to pay by card.

Personally, I think it would be even better if they would just add this cost to their normal operating costs and raise the price of their meals by $1.

screaming banshee 6:28 am 29 Sep 11

To put it into perspective our small company with usually less than 5k/month through the machine pay the following fees.
$0.05 per EFTPOS transaction
0.64% per Visa/MC transaction

Word was recently that EPAL, the group responsible for the fees banks charge each other for electronic transactions is talking about reversing the flow of money for things like cash withdrawal, so rather than the merchants bank paying the cardholders bank a fee the cardholders bank would pay the merchants bank a fee to ultimately encourage more businesses to offer cash out.

I agree with thatsnotme, at the end of the day cash is more expensive to deal with than electronic transactions.

thatsnotme 9:35 pm 28 Sep 11

Grail said :

EFTPOS card is EFTPOS card (or Cashcard™ if you were with Civic or Canberra Credit Unions way back in the day).
…..
So tell the teller that you want to pay using EFTPOS on the Savings/Cheque account, not “using my Debit card”.

What you tell the teller makes no difference though, if you’re using a card with no VISA debit option – and reading Jethro’s post, I think he is talking about your bog standard card – ie, options for using Savings or Cheque accounts, not credit.

Applying credit card type fees onto payments made via EFTPOS is just a money grab – especially if that fee is percentage based. Credit card payments are subject to percentage based merchant fees, but EFTPOS payments are charged at a flat ‘per transaction’ rate, 20-30 cents. So if Jethro was charged say a 1% surcharge on his $200 bill, he’s just paid an extra $2 to cover the 20 cents or so the business has been charged.

What’s crazy about the whole situation, is that if a business seriously looked at what it cost them to handle cash sales – ie time to balance the till, time to go to the bank to deposit the cash, let alone the security issues related to handling cash and having employees trusted with it – many businesses may conclude that they’d be better off charging a surcharge for cash sales, and absorbing the cost of EFTPOS transactions.

Grail 6:23 pm 28 Sep 11

EFTPOS card is EFTPOS card (or Cashcard™ if you were with Civic or Canberra Credit Unions way back in the day).

Debit Card is Debit Card, which is a Credit Card that uses the Credit Card processing network (e.g.: Visa or Mastercard) and is linked to your cash/savings/cheque account.

If you have a Visa/Mastercard Debit Card that is linked to your savings account, you can choose to use either EFTPOS or Credit when paying. When you select EFTPOS (i.e.: “Cheque” or “Savings”), you will be performing a normal EFTPOS transaction. If you select Credit you’ll be able to spend more money (more than the $2000 limit on EFTPOS transactions, but the credit limit is your current account balance which might be less than $2000), but you’ll be making a Visa/Mastercard credit card transaction.

So tell the teller that you want to pay using EFTPOS on the Savings/Cheque account, not “using my Debit card”.

Clear as mud?

Also, check with your financial institution about different transaction types. Apparently some payment processors are charging higher fees for certain EFTPOS transactions. The nickel-and-dime story never ends.

fabforty 6:17 pm 28 Sep 11

Seemed like a fairly calm and balanced review to me. Hardly a “bog flame”.
I suspect Aussielyn has a vested interest in D’Browes hence her over-the-top response.

Jethro 5:25 pm 28 Sep 11

Mothy said :

Just quickly – there is a difference between the EFTPOS payment processing system and the credit card payments processing system – your debit card might well use your own cash, but it is processing over the latter network, and therefore the fees and charges applicable to that network apply. Might help you avoid future arguments.

I’m not talking about a VISA debit card, just a regular EFTPOS card (which as afar as I am aware is referred to as a debit card). The person taking the payment said the fee applies to any card payment. If you read my post I never said anything about getting into an argument. All I did was question the charge and comment that they should change their sign to reflect the fact that all card payments have a surcharge, not just credit card payments. The waitresses response to this was rude and condescending.

As someone who did their time working in hospitality I always aim to be courteous and polite to waiters/waitresses, etc. If I have an issue with something I will raise it, but definitely not get in an argument over it. If I don’t think it is dealt with appropriately I simply won’t go back to the establishment.

Mothy 10:20 am 28 Sep 11

Jethro said :

The food is decent, but the experience I had was sub-par. If I recall correctly they didn’t serve any drinks, so it was BYO anything you wanted to drink other than water.

Was going to chime in with a story of this one time I was at a place near All Bar Nun that did similar – but then I see this is the same bloke, so it all starts to make sense. It’s an odd approach, agreed.

Jethro said :

(and I’m sorry, but a debit card is not a credit card, however you try to spin it).

Just quickly – there is a difference between the EFTPOS payment processing system and the credit card payments processing system – your debit card might well use your own cash, but it is processing over the latter network, and therefore the fees and charges applicable to that network apply. Might help you avoid future arguments.

On the review;

She says in the first couple of para’s you get ripped off with some places, where they overdo presentation and give little serves, but that’s not the case here.

Yep, she says ‘Bundah shops are dingy but seems to compliment the presentation of D’Browes candles and fairy lights.

No drinks is something that I’d like flagged – sure, she does it in a pretty long winded way, but if I’m reading a restaurant review, its relevant so worth mentioning.

No/odd toilets – good to know also – how friendly is this arrangement if handicapped? But then she says it could be worse (it’s not as if we’re sitting on the footpath on upside-down crates and eating off thin-legged coffee tables salvaged from great-grandma’s front room. The tablecloths are white and the menu Italian, for goodness sake. )

On the food;
* Priced well
* Standard fare – sure, not singing its praises from the rooftops but not bagging it either
* Serves are HUGE, emphasis. Reviewer appears not to have brought her A game eating stomach to the table and can’t eat it all. Bring it on.

Maybe the pricing should have cause her to lower her expectations? Meh, now I know where to set mine when I walk in the door. All in all it makes me want to pick up a bottle of wine head there for some mega lamb shanks. Tartufo? Rock on.

Chill aussielyn, I doubt this review is going to be bad for business.

Postalgeek 9:04 am 28 Sep 11

Henry82 said :

It’s funny because you’re willing to admit you read the Canberra Times.

I read the Canberra Times too. So what? I also rate Danny’s ciabatta.

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