Sunday, February 20, 2011

#253: Spanish Fly

I hate being let down. It happens all too frequently these days, and each time it does happen I generally get annoyed, if not upset and downright pissed off. The one thing that can always drive me to the latter is poor service that I’m then expected to politely pay for. Sadly that’s what happened last night.

The night started off well enough as we attended a birthday party for the Bear’s nephew, but then it went downhill from there. The restaurant that we gathered at is a famous and long standing one, in North Adelaide. I’ll call it Spanish Fly, but trust me, you all know it. I’ve been there several times and each time I’ve been treated well. Indeed, on one occasion, I went and got happily smashed because the barkeep was intent on trying out new Mexican cocktails upon me and my lady friend, gratis. Now that was an evening to remember, indeed some of that night is permanently shut off for me, but I recall waking up the next day with a lot of sore bits, so fun was had somewhere. But lately the place has gone right down the chute.

We had a party of ten people and we got there at six. After we’d settled in we ordered the Sangria, and eventually, after another thirty minutes water was brought to the table. But no glasses. Ok, I can live with that. We asked for glasses. We were asked how many did we want. “Well,” was the reply,” having a guess, I’d say, oooooohhhh, one glass per person perhaps?” That was a difficult concept for the waiting staff to grasp and we ended up with six glasses between ten people. A quick visit to the bar fixed that. Food was duly ordered, although we did have to call the waiting staff back to get the last two people sorted. Then the fun really kicked in.

Waiting staff eventually brought the food out just before seven. It was haphazard at best, as people would stand at the table and softly ask who ordered a certain number. Half the time nobody knew what was being said, but the food got there in the end, although it appeared that we got someone else’s food and they probably got ours. Then we asked for cutlery. That got us a series of bemused looks and I felt like just ramming my hands into the chilli and going for it, but, well, manners and all. Then someone came up and took the Bears chicken enchiladas away with the excuse that it had no sour cream. Five minutes later it came back, still without sour cream. Then a little tub of sour cream was placed in front of someone who had asked for no sour cream on the beef enchiladas. Got knows why sour cream was placed there as the beef enchilada was drowning in so much white stuff that you would have been mistaken for believing that an elephant had ejaculated onto the plate. So far, well…

We finished eating and trust me, the food wasn’t that good. I’m sure that the ‘beef’ in my chilli was either cat or Chihuahua, because it didn’t taste like any beef chilli I’ve eaten before, and here’s a hint to the kitchen staff – COOK the rice. That generally helps. I’ve had better Mexican food in an Italian restaurant, but that’s life. For example, one of the kids ordered a serve of Nachos from the kids menu only to be served a plate of corn chips with melted cheese on top. That was a kids Nachos. We asked for some dip, salsa, anything, and after a look of disgust one arrived. $10 for a plate of chips with melted cheese? You got it bucko. Dinner mostly ate we asked for the cake. I wish we hadn’t.

The cake arrived, with a knife, all good. But there was a lack of plates for the cake to be placed onto. Eventually some plates were sourced, but no forks, no spoons. By this stage it was 7:45pm, and one of the waitresses approached the birthday boy to tell him that we had to be finished and gone by 8:00pm as the table was booked out. Incredible. We took our time and left at 8:10pm. Now if you think the fun stopped there you’ve got another thing coming.

Walking out of the place the Bear’s mother missed the dimly lit step that has no signage or warnings and went arse up onto the floor, splitting her head open. Luckily one of our party, Ms Jet Li (so named because she is a genuine martial arts bad gal and is the partner of the Nephew) is a triage nurse and there was another medical type person outside, so things happened very rapidly. An ambulance was called (the Bear’s mother isn’t a spring chicken anymore, and any fall that results in a head injury needs to be checked out properly). The restaurant staff kept waiting tables as we worked on the Bear’s mother, and eventually asked us to move out of the way of the door. To their credit one person did arrive with some ice and a tea towel, so that was appreciated. Needless to say most of our party were upset, including the two children, so I did my best to calm some people down with some subtle jocularity. The Bear’s mother was fine, just shaken and once the ambulance arrived we knew things would be fine – after all we were only a few minutes away from the RAH. Once the Bear’s mother was taken to the ambulance Ms Jet Li sat down and we waited.

The staff came out. Now, picture this, an elderly lady has fallen down and cracked her head open. There’s a bit of claret on the ground and assorted family members nearby, so, as waiting staff what do you do? That’s right, look at the ground, call other staff over, point and say, “Eeeewwwww!” Ms Jet Li was fuming, the service had been horrid and as Ms Jet Li saw it, the poor quality of the said service had ruined the Nephew's birthday party, so this was the final straw.  She wasn't alone there as I was ready to unleash some verbal barbs of my own. One of the staff brought a bucket of water out and tried to wash the blood away. It didn’t move so she simply said, “IIIcccckkkk! Yuuuukkkkk!” Ms Jet Li looked at me and simply said, “I’m gonna punch her right in the fucking throat!” “Go for it,” I replied, “I’ll be right in there with ya!” This lightened the mood somewhat and eventually the waitress washed the blood down and all was well back inside the Spanish Fly, where other large parties were told to fuck off after two hours of eating.

We had the coffee down the road, and then the Bear and myself went to the RAH. The staff there couldn’t have been nicer to us, very helpful and thanks to them we were in and out with the Bear’s parents in no time. The Bear’s mother had two stitches and a sore head, but is fine and dandy, we took them home and all is well. But I’ll not be going back to the Spanish Fly in a hurry. Pack of arseholes really.

No comments: