Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Two customers, 5 waiters, 40 wasted pounds - Lunch at Deanes Deli

the seal knows...
...and isn't very happy


Review: Restaurant

I went to: Deanes Deli

On the: 6Th August

For: Lunch with Little Miss Manuel

We ordered: Bread and black olive tapenade to start followed by Portavogie Haddock and Chips with Hilden Ale Batter with mushy peas and tartare sauce for Little Miss Manuel and Sea Bass in a fish broth served with baby boiled potatoes, olives, and tomatoes for me. Sounds great eh?

And it was: Wow, anger and disappointment really are the most apt words for this meal. But then again the Seal of anger and disappointment (S.A.D) gave the game away there. LMM's fish & chips, let's call a spade a spade shall we, was damn poor. The batter was wet and soggy and the fish itself tasteless. Freezer fish would have been preferable. My Sea Bass wasn't as bad but the broth lacked any real discernable flavour but the potatoes, both of them, were nice enough. It was all just very dull....

The service was: Not great. No one asked if everything was OK during our meal. No one asked us if we enjoyed our meal when we finished and sat there with our faces tripping us. Seriously LMM's face was all over the table and half way out the door such was her disappointment. The thing is they never ask you if you enjoyed your food in Deanes. I'm not sure if this is arrogance or just bad service. Nobody engages you in even a snippet of conversation. Hey I don't want to discuss the current situation in the Middle East but hell gimme something! And we never saw the same waiter twice during our meal. This drives me to distraction. It's as if they are saying, "Hey fuck you, we don't care enough to assign a waiter to your table and anyone can do it". And the service charge is included for my convenience, which is thoughtful.

It cost me: £45 or there about' plus the cost of a better lunch the next day...

And I'll be going back: in no hurry. I work hard for the money, so hard for the money and I wont be giving it away cheaply. I probably will go back, one day when the wounds of this lunch have healed*, but no time soon.

And so it gets: 1/5 and that's not good no matter what way you look at it. And it gets that 1 point for the young lady that seated us who was very nice and the bread. But if I wanted nice bread and a nicer lady I could have just stayed at home....

Other words: My meal wasn't that bad and if I had been on my own then this review wouldn't have been half as bad. But the when you go out to eat the "experience" of the meal isn't just whether you enjoyed your meal but whether the table as a whole enjoyed their meal. This is a point I try to make to managers at work when a guest complains. It's not just the complainants experience that is ruined but the people they are dining with thus when we review the bill we should do this for the entire table not just the individual.

I hate being served by numerous different waiters. I want to know that someone is looking after my table. It inevitably leads to a lack of care and that's what allows good customers with good cash to leave unhappy, angry, and disappointed. Michael Deane is one of our leading chefs and has done so much to raise the quality of food served in Belfast and as a result expectations have been raised as well. Needs sorted Mr Deane before your very hard earned reputation suffers any further.


* a little touch of drama there, I'm entitled to it seeing as I have to put up with enough of it at work...

22 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Medbh said...

45 Pounds for blah fish sounds frightfully expensive, Manuel. Not having a designated server bugs the fuck out of me as well. How can you relax if you don't know who's handling your order? It's unprofessional. I guess they're content just to share around the service charge instead of earning a bigger tip.

Medbh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bendersbetterbrother said...

Ate there a long time ago and was equally disappointed. Never been back. Same for downstairs at his restaurant. Upstairs, faaaantastic every time.
I'm always intending to write a generic post about food/service in restaurants, or lack of it. Maybe later this week.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I was thinking the same thing... 45 pounds is $$$ for lunch. And it makes me nervous when I give my order to one person and a different person brings it..... did they trade me? Was I lost in a back room game of poker? Did I look like a bad tipper? Why do they do that?

John Cav said...

It would seem your experience certainly warranted the Seal...

Last week, at a restaurant in Galway, I complained that my chips (with a lasagne) were burnt AND cold. (Exactly how long were the sitting in the kitchen?) After my complaint, I got this response from a fantastically hungover waitress:

"So?"

She then walked away and muttered the following:

"Fucker."

She then turned grey and made haste for the latrine.

What sayeth the Seal?

sheepworrier said...

Think the staff are happy to rely on Deanes reputation as a top chef, so they dont feel the need to put the effort in.

People go there because its a brand name rather than anything else. Its another 'image' restaurant.

Manuel said...

Medbh: blah fish it was! Blah service too

BendersBro: Careful now, I can kick my dog but God help anyone else that does...

Anonymous boxer: Jesus I never thought of that. Thank you, more things to be paranoid about...

John Cav: The seal laughed for a bit then agreed with me that the waitress was definitely someone we want to meet. Sounds like a hoot. Wouldn't want to work with her mind..

I was accused of muttering about a customer. It really pissed me off as I hadn't done it. Now I'm not above a bit of muttering but I didn't do it on this occasion.

Sheepo: You would think they would have to work harder. People in Belfast love to knock success and those who have obtained it. Any excuse will do. But he ain't helping himself with this place...

sheepworrier said...

i guess thats what happens when you employ student waiters...

Manuel said...

It's not the wait staff per se, but the system that they use, or lack of it...

The Hangar Queen said...

Fuck me! That's $90 for fish and chips!
You couldn't even say it was uniformly shite it was so shite.

John cav,
I'd have asked her to marry me on the spot.

James UK said...

"The batter was wet and soggy..."

That's the worst thing you can have with Fish and Chips... I think it means the fish was more or less "steamed" because the oil wasn't hot enough, or something like that anyway.

Why not write a short letter, not so much complaining, but stressing all the things you didn't like, with suggestions as to how they could improve. You never know, you might get a reply.

Manuel said...

Hangar Queen: There were drinks I should have added that. 2 bottles of water, it just gets worse eh...

JamesUK: Nah, I know what happens to customers who complain by post. The management says nice things, the waiters and chefs take a different view and in their own way they express this when the guest returns...

sheepworrier said...

"waiters and chefs take a different view and in their own way they express this when the guest returns..."

hahahaha, dont get me started...

Manuel said...

Sheepo: no no go for it....start!!

John Cav said...

Whilst waiting and bartending in the past I was an unbelievable hoor for the muttering. Importantly however, I was never audible.

Hangar Queen, I would have done instantly but there was a ring... *Crestfallen Sigh*

fatmammycat said...

Jesus, you'd have had better in a greasy chipper. There's a place down here in Dublin called Bistro, just of Drury street.They do a pretty amazing fish and chips there. Thick golden batter on the fish and home cut chips that are fluffy in the middle and crunchy on the outside, VELLY nice. (if you're ever down this way)

Manuel said...

John Cav: I love my muttering and the way I can move in and out of it with absolute ease, "Fucking fat cunt should be looking for a smaller slice not a bigger one...YES SIR! G&T? No problem sir..."

FMC: I will bear that in mind. But I think F & C is off the menu for quite a while...

INNER VOICES said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
INNER VOICES said...

i'm with you on the "experiance" of the meal and enjoyment for everyone at the table.
i do prefer to be left the fuck alone when i eat lunch while reading my newspaper, but when i'm with my special cheese or out with a guest give me some godamn service. i don't care if you smile or not, the shitty food isn't your fault, but a "hello, how are you?." is nice and "can i get you anything else?" goes along way!
nice review!

Manuel said...

Inner Voices: Thanks. A good waiter knows when to speak and when to leave alone. Just not talking at all is bullshit.

Ellie said...

I was at the Restaurant of the Year awards in Dublin last weekend and Deanes won. What's that about?

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