Yes, indeedy ladies and gentlemen. Not only do Australian cafes and restaurants do food so very much better than Europe, but when service is grumpy, it is a treat worthy of preserving.
My very best example comes from years ago when I took a group of bridge players to an Acland St restaurant that had been a Hungarian restaurant for decades, only to have changed into a trendy cafe a week or so prior. I asked for my main course to come without mushrooms, to no avail. When I told the waitress I’d asked for no mushrooms her angry reply was ‘Well, you don’t have to eat them. You can pick them out.’
Here in Adelaide, at the Botanic Gardens, one that came close last Sunday. My friend Heather had ordered a second cup of coffee 10-15 minutes earlier. She managed finally to catch a waiter’s eye and very meekly and humorously explained her predicament – she’d resorted to stealing Manny’s coffee out of desperation. The waitress, who had already established herself as the type who disapproves of customers – ‘we could run this place so much better without them’ – glared at her. ‘We ARE busy. You will get your coffee.’ Frankly I didn’t find this hilarious, but I was being taken out, so I guess it wasn’t my place to complain. Now I am. If you can’t cope with having a full restaurant, you get more staff or you set up less tables. This waitress needed to spend some time observing the staff at Cumulus Inc who spend every hour of the day attending a packed restaurant and do it with precision and good cheer. It can be done.
Having got that over and done with, the food etc was good, but no better than many. The setting is a delight and that is why you go to this place on a weekend when they do serve breakfast. And to end with a big tick for the place – bacon with rind on it. Thank heavens some places are still doing it!