21 March 2008

Down about dumplings...

| CleptaK
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This evening I decided to pop into my old favourite, Godori, in the city for a quick feed. I ordered a small serve of dumplings as I wasn’t that hungry and, mainly, because I didn’t want to be out for too long. The dumplings took some time to come out, say 10-15 minutes (note I’m judging this by Godori standards as they’re normally incredibly fast) and I noticed that there was some too-ing and fro-ing with the order and bringing out the condiments and cutlery. Two groups of people who came in after me were also served first and their orders were considerably larger. When the order did arrive, I noticed it was somehat larger than five pieces (maybe 7-8), but I didn’t think too much about it, putting any increased servings down to the delayed service time.

Now, I’m a slow, slow eater. I was starting my fifth dumpling (I would have been eating for about 10 minutes) when one of the staff members came over. She loudly said in front of other customers “Did you order small dumplings or large?”. I immediately told her I had ordered small, upon which time she glared back at me. I was a bit stunned as it had taken them some time to realise they had given me too many dumplings. She was still standing there so I asked if she wanted me to pay $5 for the extra food ($10 is the price for a large serve and it includes 10 dumplings) and I proceeded to get the money from my bag. She then mumbled “it was our mistake – don’t worry about it”.

I was so embarrassed I immediately downed my spoon, got the $5 in change (I didn’t have any other money on me at all), handed it to the waitress and expressed my embarrassment. She then smiled and said “Oh, thank you for this [the money]!” I left the small eatery quickly, vowing to not go back for a long time, if ever.

I know I’m more sensitive than the average bear, but is it just me or does anyone else think the staff member was a bit rude? I love the food from that place, and it’s so clean. I just feel a tad awkward now…

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My God Mael! I bow down before you. SES legend, having gone through training harder than the SAS, law enforcement guru, political commentator and now MYSTERY DINER!!!!!!! It would appear that you spend far too long as the Mystery Diner on certain sausage shaped body bits.

done! 😉 see about half a dozen oysters, err stories, above…

astrojax, can you do a review of the Lantern Room after you’ve been there? We used to go to Chill quite a bit, as it was our “local”. Always found the prices just a tad high though, except on Cheap Night. And the pizzas were a major “must avoid”. Steaks were exceptional. I was kind-of suprrised to hear it’d gone.

Anybody know anything about what looked like a new restaurant opening tonight (Saturday) in Narabundah?

In defence of Gondori (which I have never been to – where is it?) restaurants do have bad nights on occasion. My favourite place to eat in Canberra is Beluccis Phillip and every time I have been there has been great except the last visit.

It took nearly two hours for the food to come out and being seated in front of the open door we were hit by icy blasts all night. But this was the exception, not the rule.

So if the dumplings were tasty, visit them again – the quality of the food should be the deciding factor in visiting any restaurant.

a colleague at work has a boycott now on the building’s cafe (which is pretty average except in its pricing! and is the envi of no-one i know) as she had ordered a ‘small’ portion and duly took her plate to pay the cashier, who inquired if the meal was ‘small’ or ‘regular’ – upon being told ‘small’, the cashier, also the owner of the place, removed her plate to the kitchen, removed some of the food, then handed back the diminished fare. i can’t begin to imagine doing this if i worked in or owned, a restaurant!

the only advice i have for these situations is to confront the owner/manager loudly in front of other customers, if they can’t be civil enough to admit ‘their’ mistake!

there are some food critics in canberra – the crimes has regular reviews of places and a friend is one of the regular reviewers. have been out with her a couple of times and it is fun, and always unannounced until the day after our meal.

i’m off out to ‘lantern room’ tonight, new place in campbell replacing ‘chill’ – the menu looks good so am expecting great things. watch this space.

Good point Swaggie, CleptK said he/she was “not feeling that hungry”, yet somehow managed to force down a large serve!

I’m not even sure why he/she went there anyway, with “not feeling that hungry” and “not wanting to be out long” a couple of slices of toast while reading Riotact would have been my preferred option 🙂

Remember the following, when you AssUM, you make an (Ass) out of yo(U) and (M)e. CleptaK made an assumption which made an ass of himself/herself.

I think it actually says in the original post that it was assumed the extra pieces were perhaps a goodwill guesture for the slow service.

Just hold on one second, you ordered a small serve, you were presented with a large serve and accepted it knowing full well that an error had been made. Later on you got caught. Now you claim to be a victim. Yes they stuffed up but so did you pal. I say bad things come to bad people.

I actually had the most fantastic dinner at Sabayon last night. Sure it was a bit more than what I would usually like to pay, but it was for a special occasion. The food itself was delicious, if slightly small serves (for the price), but getting a free canape before the entree and sorbet before dessert along with friendly and attentive waiters it was simply a great night out. I think my friend and I were there for 3 hours, eating and catching up. We didn’t get a hurry up, even after I’d paid the bill and we sat there for a little while longer before leaving.

If only I could afford to do it more often!

Thanks for the reference to the “worst restaurant” thread, made for a good read.

The thread brought up an interesting point; what are peoples ‘rule’ regarding waiting for food?

I had dinner with the folks at the Italian restaurant in Kaleen last year, and the waitress completely forgot to process out order (which they only realised the second time we asked about it, the first time we got “it’s cooking now”, which was completely untrue). We saw them panic at the counter and put a rush on it… ever since then I’ve been a lot less tolerant of slow service.

CanberraResident4:04 pm 21 Mar 08

Maelinar, mystery diner hey? Sounds … well … mysterious.

Apart from your talents Maelinar, I think it’d be great if the restauranteurs in Canberra were aware that there is now a professional critic living in the community. Might get them to raise the bar a bit? Someone like that dude on “The Chopping Block” but without the pooncy voice. Someone who’s happy to pay for their meals, dine here, there and everywhere, and perhaps do a write-up in the Canberra Times or some purpose-built cuisine critic website or forum on a weekly basis?

Hhhmmm … food for thought (excuse the pun). Might try out the dumplings for starters … bwahaha – another pun! Stop me somebody.

Best way to get a free meal. Bloke I knew at Uni dined our for free for a year, by telling restaurants he was a food critic for the local paper.

Never a crit published. Nor even written.

-Not that I’m suggesting Mael’s into that caper, of course…

CanberraResident – I’m the closest I’ve found.

I do the occasional review on RiotACT, and I’m also a mystery diner.

If you want a Canberra recommendation, just stick to the restraunts that are named after some kind of food – you can’t go wrong with Ginseng, Sage, Salt and Pepper, so on and so forth.

CanberraResident3:42 pm 21 Mar 08

I just utilised the “search” function on this site by typing “Canberra worst restaurants”, and sure enough … there it was … a mighty long thread dating back to May 2006. Funny read.

Does anyone know if there’s a food critic in Canberra? Any write-ups in any local Canberra magazines or newspapers? I reckon it’d be a great job. Hhmmm. Might even start critiquing myself.

I’m surprised you paid the extra. It wasn’t your fault and they shouldn’t even have questioned it once the plate was in front of you. Poor service.

You must be a conflict avoider to be feeling “awkward” about it – they are the ones who should feel awkward.

I’m a Godori fan and I’ve never anything short of great service (and food) there

I am sorely tempted to post the link to the Chopper “Harden the F*** Up” video, but since I am Mr Tact I won’t. Sorry, but why on earth do you feel awkward? They made the mistake. I don’t get it. Is this a Venus & Mars thing?

Absent Diane2:17 pm 21 Mar 08

its one reason i love going to asia.. you just get superb service.. and it got me thinking how badly we treat our tourists!! but even in aus when you are forking out a bit of cash for a service you still get treated like shit..

If she mumbled “it was our mistake – don’t worry about it” and then “smiled and said “Oh, thank you for this [the money]!”, then I think you got off lightly.

Waitpersons I know, would have just grabbed your plate and whisked it away – even as you were about to spear yet another dumpling.

-I suspect there’d been some fracas back in the kitchen, and she just wanted to check what you’d ordered.

(Customer loyalty is worth more in the long run)

Agreed with everything Ant has said.

Shit service is RAMPANT in hospitality these days – it’s almost shocking to actually get GOOD service, after becoming accustomed to the standard ‘no-care’ attitude displayed so frequently from these shitty establishments (there was an extremely long thread on ‘Worst Canberra Restaurants here recently).

And yes, the waitress was rude. If she/the kitchen made a mistake, then they should just suck it up and wear the cost of the extra food (which probably amounts to around 60c worth of ingredients).

Sounds like a pretty embarassing experience, yes. Sadly, that kind of behaviour seems to be the norm now, as hospitality places can’t compete in the current labour market as the pay is too low, and scrape the bottom of the barrell. You know the good places, as their staff are great! They are out there. Family-owned and run places are also so different, as the people there have some ownership and aren’t feeling disposable.

We had a disgraceful experience at the Yacht Club the other week (owned by Southern Cross club now). Ordered garlic bread, some entrees, and some mains. everything came out in the same rush (although in bits, bread and a main. Then some entrees, then more mains). Servers were kids who plainly didn’t care about anything much. We asked for some condiments, which never arrived of course.

And people who say “tell the business” plainly never have tried that! You get a defensive, combatative attitude. It’s highly unpleasant trying to give feedback to a business.

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