Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Customer Feedback


Somewhere on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island, there's a lovely little seaside town in the midst of a barely spoilt natural environment, with a happily eclectic mix of old batches and carefully co-ordinated beach dwellings.

In amongst it all, there's a gallery complex with a pub next door and a restaurant on the top. It's all in that beaut modern beachside style of architecture that's grey timber and matching concrete and a little rust, and if it's done well it just slots in as though it's always been there.

This one was almost done well. It could even be said to have been of the genre: "Trendy".

It was clearly new, with a precision about the architecture that hinted at pretension, a gallery that was almost up itself, and a solemn throng of customers who clearly were.

Still, upstairs was the closest thing we'd seen for a while to a probable source of sustenance, and it was close to lunchtime almost exactly three years ago. Actually it was well past lunchtime, and it was a Sunday and the place didn't seem to be suffering from a shortage of customers, which is something we always take to be a good sign.

As soon as we reached the top of the stairs we had an uneasy feeling, and that was before we had even seen the price list.

The place had been designed to within an inch of it's life. The decor was harsh in a deliberately modern way, minimalistic even, and in stark contrast to the mess of uncleared tables which resembled something like a stadium floor after a grand final crowd.

Except that in this stadium the crowd was still present.

Every table was something akin to a dog's breakfast.

The queue for service contained at least as many people as the balance of the room. It seemed to us that the reason that there were so many apparent customers, was less to do with the desirability of the place, and everything to do with the possibility that some of them had been waiting since the week before Christmas last year, such was the efficiency of the ever so trendy black-shirted staff.

We made a dash for the one unoccupied table, recognisable as such because under what looked something like the results of an archaeological dig, there were four chairs.

We were about to take our seats when we saw "the sign". It seemed to hint to us that the quality of the fare had perhaps not been delivered to the exacting standards that the decor had promised.

It was almost twenty kilometres to the next town, and the food there was splendid.

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2 comments

ab said...

you obviously weren't starving if you could make it 20k's.

bitingmidge said...

It was quicker to drive 20k's than wait for service!

Watch this space...... ;-)

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