I went along to a restaurant for my husband’s annual work dinner on Friday night and was quite wowed by the service. Sure, the food was excellent, but that is certainly not uncommon around Canberra.
The thing that really shone was the service. There were 16 of us, which is never an easy number to manage. We had pre-ordered which would have made things easier on the staff, but everything came out at the same time and they were really knowledgable about what they were serving. Some of us had the degustation menu with wine matching and the waiter serving and talking through the wines really knew what he was talking about and obviously LOVED what he does. It was a pleasure being served really good food by people with smiles on their faces. We were dining at the Artisan in Narrabundah.
By contrast I went to another group meal on Saturday, with a group of girlfriends for our mid year christmas lunch. Almost two hours after we arrived, one of the party had to leave without mains being served. We had been asking after our food for about 30 minutes in the lead up to this. We were met with ‘we’re doing the best we can’. When our meals did finally arrive, they forgot to serve the sides and then seemed quite put out when we wanted to have the desserts from the set menu (which was $60 a pop). To add insult to injury, the bill then had to be questioned… twice as they had added items we hadn’t had and failed to adjust for the person who had to leave without eating. We found out later that the kitchen was a chef down and they had some staffing issues. I completely understand that and had they let us know when we sat down that there was a delay in the kitchen (and possibly not taken seatings in addition to bookings…?), perhaps served us with extra bread and generally kept us informed and managed expectations we would have been fine. We could have advised them if anyone needed to leave at a certain time and gone from there. The restaurant was Flint in Murrumbateman, which I mention with some hesitation as I do tend to think this was perhaps a one off, but it did make me wonder how others feel about this kind of service. Would you expect to be informed if there is a delay in service, or just expect to wait it out without knowing…? I really felt like a bit of expectation management could have saved the experience entirely. It was such a shame as the food was excellent.