Thursday, January 3, 2013

Indulgent Sage, McMahons Point

I've heard it said that you can't judge an eatery on New Years Eve or New Years day. I'm not sure I agree. I do feel for restauranteurs and cafe owners who obviously can't celebrate New Years' in the way the rest of us do, and probably have to deal with staff who come to work on New Years day a little worse for wear (or call in sick). However, having said that, I think you can still judge an eatery on how staff deal with difficult situations that arise.

I was really looking forward to my New Years' breakfast. Boy and I had been invited by sister-dear (She-who-makes-an-entrance) to stay the night before, and rather than spend a fortune on a restaurant dinner on NYE, I loved the idea of having a casual breakfast to bring in the New Year. I'd scoured the menus of cafes in the area and was excited by what Indulgent Sage offered. They also have quite reasonable prices, which was a double win. My excitement grew when we heard reports of fabulous food from friends who dined there the evening before. Hurrah!

We arrived at 10:05am, and after being told that the only things they'd run out of were croissants and avocado, were shown our table. Looking around, the restaurant is made up of two main sections - the front looking out on the road, and the back (where we were) that had a feature wall with some great little pot plants and a fabulous decorative clock. I admired the clock.

After a small wait we ordered our breakfast (steering clear of croissants and avocado), and I continued to admire the clock as our conversation continued. After a while I realised I was now watching minutes tick over. Many, many minutes. Thanks to the clock I know that thirty-five minutes after we arrived (yes, that's 35), our sparkling water arrived, closely followed by the coffee. The co-ordered tap water was nowhere to be seen. By this time we had started looking hopeful every time the bell rang for service, only to see our hoped-for meals go to other tables.
FOOD! Croque Monsieur deliciousness
Another 15 minutes elapsed before food came. Sadly, it didn't match our order. Banana bread didn't arrive, while an unordered bacon side did. Also, the 'pork and fennel', and 'lamb and rosemary' sausages that we ordered had no taste of fennel, or lamb, or rosemary, and instead looked and tasted very much like a generic sausage.

The croque monsieur was the high point of our experience. Crusty bread with a tasty jamon and cheese filling and a side of super crispy, fluffy fries made for perfect brunch munching. I could see why our friends had been raving the night before. Unfortunately boy and I weren't the ones that ordered the croque monsieur, and our meals (the parts that arrived) didn't match that standard,  instead being pretty mediocre.

At no point did we receive an apology for the wait, appalling service or mistakes made, and it is for this reason, not all the rest, that I won't return.

Notes from this experience:
* Things go wrong in restaurants. It's up to service staff to diffuse situations like this with calmness, and  perhaps some openness. Especially on a day like New Years day, when people are more relaxed than usual, an apology (at the very least!), and some communication regarding the situation would sooth grumpy customers.
* If you enter a cafe/restaurant, and have to clear your own table or collect your own menu, leave. While clock-watching, I saw this occur a number of times. Service is obviously unravelling if they can't cope with attending to new customers.
* Having a clock on the wall of an eatery is asking for trouble!

Indulgent Sage
Indulgent Sage on
165 Blues Point Road
McMahons Point

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Celeste@Berrytravels said...

Yuck. Sorry to hear of such dismal service. Even if you can't come up with good service on NYD, I think an apology would have done wonders!!

Amanda@ChewTown said...

Ew! We had a similar experience in Perth on 2 Jan. Went to a cafe in Mount Lawley which had abominable service and then as we were leaving without ordering anything because we refused to be ignored... they swore at us on the way out!! Needless to say we have told everyone we know in Perth not to go there.

I agree that the LEAST you should get is an apology!

Anonymous said...

Dear Beyond jelly & Boy,

Having read your post about our restaurant on Urbanspoon, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise for everything that went wrong with your dinning experience on the morning.

Having 80% of your staff, not show up due to unknown reasons on NY day is no excuse at all, we do always endeavour to make each experience an enjoyable one for all our customers.

Having said that, from one foodie to another if you do find it in you heart to forgive and re-visit us it would be a pleasure to see you here again and we will try our level best to make it an enjoyable and pleasurable experience.

Many thanks and have a great weekend,

Indulgent Sage