All Looks, No Substance - When A Restaurant is Designed for The Likes
Chef and owner Perry Hill needs to realise that it only takes 1 visit to get the photos for Instagram and there is no reason for a second visit.
I made a booking at The Botanica to follow on from my visit at Sol Spa. Since we were running 10 minutes late, I call the restaurant 3 times to inform them to avoid the $35 per person cancellation fee, for which they already had my credit card details. Nobody picks up. When we arrive the staff member who greeted us laughs and admits they don't pick up the phone. Questionable behaviour in my opinion.
We are seated and both of us notice we have the breakfast menu instead of the lunch menu. I make multiple attempts to get floor staff attention to get the correct menu. It is only when I raise my hand and wave that someone comes over. When I tell the man that it is the wrong menu, he tries to argue that it is correct and I am forced to flip the pages to show him as he is convinced the booklet will have the lunch menu inside. I am a little offended that anyone would imply I can't read. At least he switches our menu for the correct one.
We patiently wait for someone to come over as we are ready to order. I try to catch any floor staff's attention, but they avoid eye contact. We realise that we have been waiting for 30 minutes for someone to take our order because we checked in on the NSW Service App which has a timestamp.
I have to wave to get the attention of the same man. He informs me that another staff member will come over. I watch as he walks over to let her know we are ready to order.
Being ignored for 30 minutes indicates discrimination or that this lady prefers we leave rather than having to actually work during her shift. We order our food. I am served my mussels but the soup is lukewarm and I only get 1 slice of bread. What a joke, when have you ever gone to a restaurant that charges $36 for a serving of mussels and they only give you 1 slice of bread? My local Italian restaurant gave me 5 or 6 slices and they have better customer service. So I request a further 2 slices and the lady comes back with 1.
I'm still starving. I am keen to try the desserts since the social media photos look nice. Fatal mistake. I am charged $16 for the panna cotta. It seems the staff and owner realised that people like to take topshots of the food, thus the depth is not important. Look closely at this photo and you may see that the panna cotta was about 3mm thick. From personal experience I can tell you it isn't even that great. It is vanilla flavoured not gold leaf. Why so stingy? This may explain why none of the elderly people from the retirement home 5m away were visiting in the afternoon. They probably realised a long time ago that this restaurant isn't worth a return visit.
On the final straw, I don't want to spend time trying to wave down the staff to get my bill so both my friend and I get up to go to the counter and pay. We see there is no one at the counter so we stand between the counter and the kitchen area where 3 staff members are standing and chatting to the kitchen staff. We turn to look and wonder if anyone would bother walking over to the counter as we are clearly about to leave and want to pay our bill. Nope, no movement. I see a young blonde woman walking down the hallway, past us (diverting her eyes) and towards the other floor staff. One of the women talks to her and the blonde lady has to turn back, let us know we need to pay at the counter and serve us there. She has the audacity to ask us if we want to leave a tip. No, I do not as I am fuming at being treated like second class citizens.
I recommend Perry Hill monitors the floor staff by sending in mystery diners to evaluate staff performance. The least he could do is regularly train them or simply get more professional staff who are committed to good customer service. See less
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