I faced a dilemma with this week’s review. The café I went to review was not off to a good start:. slow (ie no) service. There was no greeting at the door or at our table, no menus, no water and in fact no offer of drinks until about ten minutes later. A waitress’ eyes even met mine yet no-one came over. Later, when someone at our neighbouring table spilt coffee on himself, it appeared it was up to us and him to clean it up.
Conversely the owner who took our order was quite professional, friendly and prompt.
The coffee was good however the orange juice had remnants of celery and pineapple from previous fruits in the machine. Had April been with me, this would not have ended well for her pineapple allergy.
Our cutlery was then brought over after they confirmed that we were the table that had ordered dishes X, Y and Z. The waitstaff then proceeded to ask which of us had ordered each dish. Plan your staff and which tables they serve. One member of staff per table means that they know which table and which person ordered which dish. These are all small issues but they add up. And when you sort these out, it makes the difference between a laid-back or chaotic establishment versus a smoothly run one.
It was at this point that I noticed the latex glove on our waitress’ hand with some remnants of parsley or other herb on it and this combined with the experience so far actually started to make me quite mad. We were in a café, not a friend’s home where such a thing would be excusable. It has been months since we have had bad service during our exploits which could explain why I was in such shock.
The food was reasonable and delivered what it promised on the menu – it seemed fresh at least.
It was then that I started to wonder how I was going to approach this establishment. For we started to chat to the owner (as customers, he did not know I was reviewing) who explained the beginnings of the café, their best-selling items, told us about the new waitstaff who had started today (remember the shy waitress who did not come over?) and offered us some of their custom made postcards. He then promptly started to mop the spilt coffee next to us as soon as he noticed it. Perhaps it was simply this man’s wait and kitchen staff letting him down and more training is required?
We certainly did not see patrons rushing through the door which is a pity as location and ambition wise, this establishment could be booming. Croissants are baked on premises daily and it was obvious that the owner wants something to be proud of.
So let’s get one thing straight: SoS calls it as it sees it but in the end we are all people trying to survive and live our passions and I am not going to be responsible for driving away any number of patrons from an establishment which is the joy (let alone life-blood) of a young man who is trying hard to bring good food to the Sydney café scene. The basics were there! Sonoma bread, fresh albeit mixed juice, a funky interior, fresh croissants and some dishes that actually boasted some great flavours. So instead of naming the café I will instead get in touch with the owner and refer him to this post. He may get something or nothing from it.
Comments are welcome as I’d be interested to know what others think.