|A possible kitchen fire? |
Photo from The Courier-Mail
When it comes to eating out I am pretty easy going. Normally I live by two rules: 1. I don't put things that taste bad in my mouth and 2. People in the restrurant industry work really hard for very little pay and recognition so be nice to them. Every once and awhile the second of these rules is really tested. Tonight was an example of this. Tonight I ate a Edamame.
Edamame is a little japanese joint down the road from my university in an area that is affectionately known as "the vil". I have eaten at Edamame about a dozen time since it opened 4 years ago. Normally the service is bad but the food quality and company more than made up for it. Not this time. The best way to describe my experience tonight would be if a train full of tigers and antelope violently derailed causing the train to explode and the surviving animals to eat each other. Seriously, that bad.
I was joining a friend for a casual dinner and catch up after a long day of lectures and study. My friend ordered one of their set menus which is displayed on a board leaning on the counter and I decided to get their yakisoba with a okonomiyaki (japanese pancake), really not a difficult dish to make. As a student style joint Edamame is reasonably priced and the setting, while rickety and reeking of Ikea, is fine but that is where the fun stops.
So, my friends meal turns up in about 10 mins. Her "set" was a really simple plate of three goyza, that looked like they had been deep fried left for a week and then microwaved, a very sad looking "salad" of what ever shredded root vegetables were lying around with a cheap dressing and sesame seeds- because obviously sesame seeds just like japanese mayonnaise make everything alright again. Then two very unexciting and possible bottle sauces, a gluey dome of rice- ooh this time with black sesame seeds- and three very battered fried prawns. After my friend had decided to start because otherwise everything on her plate would either congeal or sog I began wondering if they had lost my order. This is not an unfair question because upon my first visit to Edamame they indeed did manage to misplace my order and while my table of eight tucked into their meals my soft shell crab, now unavailable, was nowhere to be seen.
Tonight, after getting peckish, then hungry, then over hungry and then cranky. I went over to the very stunned girl behind the counter to ask why it had been 30 minutes and my meal had not appeared.
"Oh!" she replied, "I check for you", as she dashed around looking at pieces of paper on pegs, "yours will be about 10minutes".
"My friend received her meal 20minutes ago and mine will be another 10 minutes?"
"Is that okay?" she smiled meekly at me. At that point I wanted to tell her that no, that was not okay, that I wasn't even hungry anymore and was going to cancel my order and go home to a boiled egg. However, I was still adhering to my second rule of eating out and just asked her to tell the kitchen to hurry.
So, another ten minutes or longer passed and finally and a plate of disappointing udon noodles with some kind of sauce, some pieces of corn, broad beans, more sesame seeds but no japanese pancake nor any kind of an apology arrived. I called the waitress back to explain that I ordered a japanese pancake with my noodles. "Oh!" (clearly her favourite expression in the english vernacular) "I check". A minute later she returned with my noodles and a new addition of a pancake unceremoniously shlepped on top with a slice of raw capsicum as "garnish". Finally a meal. My logic told me that since I waited this long it was stupid not to try and enjoy it.
I was about to get started when the waitress can back to the table with the yellow bill in her hand. 'Thats nice' I though, we will not have to pay. After all the whole performance had been pretty bad. But no, it only gets worse. The waitress informed me that when I ordered, a good 50minutes ago, I was not charged for the pancake and as I now had one I would have to pay the extra $3 for it. I am not kidding. I just stared at her blankly. After serving two meals 30minutes apart and getting my order wrong they wanted me to pay for the pancake?
"Yes, it is $3" the waitress again informed me, poking at the scrawled upon piece of paper to legitimise her request. In that kind of circumstance there is nothing more you can do than just pay the lady.
Somehow I final ate most of my totally unworthy noodles and chewy pancake determined to try and enjoy some part of it, which I didn't, and just get home. At least I had good company and plenty of time to catch up with a friend. Perhaps next time I will bend rule number two and just let someone have it.