Having spent several years of a former life waitressing in various establishments, I admit, I'm very fussy when it comes to restaurant service. I know how things should be done, and I get a bit tetchy when things are done wrong. Things guaranteed to really piss me off include:
- Removing people's plates while others are still finishing their meals
- Waiting ages to take a drink order
- Not knowing the specials off by heart (it's what, FOUR THINGS? Come ON guys, it's not Shakespeare)
- Not knowing how dishes are prepared, or what they're served with
- Bringing out dishes before they're ALL ready to go, so one person ends up without a plate in front of them for 10 minutes while everyone else is staring at their food
My friend Mr M and I decided to try out a place we'd never been before, which ended up being Esca in that god forsaken, windy hell hole they call Holdfast Shores. If you've ever managed to do a lap of that place without freezing your arse off I commend you on your super-thermo abilities. Even in the height of summer it's like the fucking Antarctic. Every time you get up from your table you feel like saying "I may be some time..."
Anyway last night was no exception, given that it was about minus two anyway (despite this there was the usual quota of inappropriately dressed, hypothermic girls queueing outside the Grand) so the warmth of Esca was quite welcome. But then things got weird.
ME: We'll have a bottle of the D'Arenberg High Trellis cab sav, please.
ODD WAITER: Hang on hang on, I'll have to write that down cos I'm not very good with wine and I've already got a wine order in my head from someone else.
ME: Riiiight. So, a bottle of the D'Arenberg High Trellis cab sav, thanks.
ODD WAITER: Hmm... Do you reckon I'll be able to find it if I just write down 'D'Arenberg cab sav'?
YOU'RE THE WAITER, YOU TELL ME! Fortunately, our super sleuth managed to track down the wine, triumphantly presenting it to us at our table. I thought he might have been waiting for a certificate or a pat on the head, but I think he was just happy to have found it.
ODD WAITER: See, I found it!He then tried to open the bottle with the foil cutter, before realising it was actually a screw cap, and declaring "I told you I was no good with wine!"
Sorry, how much are we paying for this again?
Anyway he then made the mistake of asking if we knew about the specials, and we didn't, which was quite the coincidence because neither did he.
ODD WAITER: There's soup of the day, and then there's something with this really tiny pasta called granelli or something like that, I'd never heard of it before, and... I'll just go get my pad, hang on.He returned with a sheet of scribble, and then felt it necessary to explain that it wasn't actually HIS pad, which is what he had been looking for, but one he had borrowed from ANOTHER waiter, which was a good thing because he didn't know WHERE his pad had gone, and he hoped he could find it before the night was over.
ODD WAITER: Ok so that pasta is gemelli, and it's really crazy cos you can SEE through it. It's weird. I'd never heard of it before. Oh and there was another pasta I'd never heard of before I came here, what was that again... TAGLIATELLI. That's it. Have you guys heard of that?Reader, I shit you not. This guy works in an Italian restaurant serving pasta dishes for $29 and he thinks tagliatelli is exotic. No one tell him about gelati, his brain might explode!
If you want a review of the food - it wasn't all that special. If I'm paying $23 for gnocchi, I don't want to find bits of bone and fat in the veal ragu. Unacceptable. Mr M's scotch fillet looked nice, if overcooked, but the goats cheese mash that sounded so good on the menu was quite flavourless and disappointing. The total was $96 for two mains, a shared bread entree and a bottle of wine.
Not exceptional value, still, the odd waiter show was completely free. Because we didn't tip him. Ha ha ha.