Do’s & Don’ts: Restaurant Edition

by Khushboo on August 13, 2011

Eating out: we all do it.  Whether we go with friends, family, work colleagues, eating out is a vital part of socialising.  It brings various experiences and can drastically change impressions and moods.  Given my past restaurant reviews, I’m sure you would agree that I always give credit where due.  For example the crepes at Suzette always surpass my expectations, The Table epitomises fine dining and Ottolenghi takes freshness to another level.  Amadeus, however, leaves me blank.  For those who haven’t heard about it, Amadeus is a new-ish restaurant in Mumbai which serves Mediterranean cuisine in the style of tapas.  Especially after looking forward to trying it out, I left the restaurant feeling extremely disappointed.  It actually got me thinking of what my personal Do’s & Dont’s are when it comes to restaurants…i.e.  how restauranteurs  can make or break a dining experience.

DO:

  • Offer a a dessert/drink complimentary when you first open.  Personal relations, people, personal relations.  This tiny gesture can make a world of difference.  Amadeus actually forgot to charge us for dessert and rather than let it slide, they just deducted it from our change 😯 .
  • Focus on atmosphere: Whether it be in the form of music, lighting or crowd, atmosphere is almost as crucial as food when it comes to eating out.  Amadeus had a live band which was playing old school rock music like I’ll Be Watching You &  Sweet Home Alabama which put us all in a good mood.
  • Hire attentive waiters.  I felt that as our meal progressed, our waiter Rahul paid us less and less attention.  By the end of it, I was literally begging for our change back so we could bounce the hell out.
  • Strive for quality over quantity: When I initially opened their menu, I was blown away by the variety of options and how delicious each one sounded.  Unfortunately, none of dishes tasted fantastic, and left me feeling like I could easily replicate the meal at home.  I would personally prefer if restaurants focused on a few dishes instead to ensure they are all  flavourful.
  • Accommodate to certain request/changes: I’m a chevre fan and was glad to hear that they were able to use it in place of brie in their magic mushroom pizza.

DON’T:

  • Confuse orders.  Fine, this is an honest mistake which can happen to anyone but don’t serve a cabernet sauvignon when chardonnay has been ordered.
  • Confirm reservations if you plan on giving diners the worst table in the house.  Amadeus is divided into 3 sections: a bar, main dining room, and a kind of waiting area where you would seat your customers up until their main table is ready.  Guess where we were seated? Bang in the front of the restaurant: fellow diners must have confused us for the welcome committee as they walked by.
  • Be overly pushy:  I think the ‘dessert of the evening’ was tiramisu as our waiter a) repeatedly kept telling us how ‘we had to try it’ and b) brought it to our table because he ‘made a mistake and thought we ordered it’.  For the 100th time, I want my ‘flourless chocolate cake with mascarpone and vanilla bean ice cream’, thank you very much.  In case you’re drooling, save your saliva- it was just meh!
  • Forget about ordersI asked for a hot water not once, not twice, but THREE times.  I still never got it! 🙁
  • Serve tiny portions in largely oversized plates: seeing all that unused space only confirms just how much you are ripping off your customer.

and lastly:

Don’t piss me off…because my review won’t be pretty 🙂

Other than company, what are your key dining out essentials?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara K August 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

KHUSHBOO I blogged about Suzette when I was in Bombay…I LOVE THEIR CREPES, best crepes every- all of them! Yummmm! I didn’t go to The Table but I saw it 🙂 I agree with all your tips for sure- especially the quality over quantity one, so many restaurants in India (or in other countries where the restaurant is tourist-oriented) have way too huge of a menu and way too many types of cuisine combined. No thanks. 🙂

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Khushboo Thadani August 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Loved your post on Indian Restaurant reviews- checked it out after this comment 🙂

Reply

Errign August 15, 2011 at 2:53 am

I think attentive servers and decent service are definitely key, as well as GOOD food. If I want sub-par, I’ll make a frozen dinner 🙂

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Maneka Chotirmall August 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

My two biggest dining essentials include attentive waiters and when restaurants accommodate to various requests that why I love going back to Indigo Deli in Bombay. Their waiters are extremely friendly and always helpful when ordering!

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