It must be a long weekend or something. Not only is there a lot of rain about, but after my shower this morning I managed to kick a chair leg. The toe next to the little toe is now swollen and a charming navy blue.
We had a family lunch planned for today, and Mum Dad and Michael were coming over to drop off my DVD player and mattress and pick up Mum's spade. My original plan was to cycle down to the restaurant and go on to the library and do some other shopping before returning home. With a sore toe I decided to hitch a ride down with them.
We parked in the building, but getting in was still a bit of an effort, we went up in the lift to ground floor, then had to go back down in the lift to parking level 3 for the wheelchair access. Would have been nice if they'd publicised that a bit more. Got through that and Diana was waiting for us by the lifts. I hate that lift. Glass door, so I face away from it.
I wasn't impressed by the way they seated us. There were five people in our party and they had laid an extra place at a four person table. This would mean that someone, probably Dad would be sticking out into the walkway. Diana spoke up and asked to be moved to another table, the seating guy didn't want to, but could obviously see that we were serious, so moved us. He warned that there was a party of 20 at the next few tables, but we accepted this as the lesser of two evils.
The Observatory is a buffet, and although the selection was relatively small there was a reasonable choice of food, except for the meat dishes. Seafood in the form of several types of shellfish, prawns, fish (marinated, crumbed, and salmon) was plentiful. Red meat was less so, roast smoked duck and ham. Not much on offer for those who keep to informal kosher or halal diets. Luckily I'm a practicing agnostic and can eat whatever I enjoy.
For $37.50 a head, I think the selection was a little lean, but not excessively so, and although this isn't the rotating restaurant, restaurants like this one are mainly trading on the view not the food, so I'll accept that it wasn't unreasonable.
My tastes have definitely changed in recent years and I really like the purity of taste found in some types of food, for example Japanese cooking. The salmon, ham, salads, potatoes, and to a lesser extent duck all gave me this. On the other hand there was plenty for those liking more muddled tastes. They had scallops in the shell on potatoes with a cheese sauce, Diana really liked them, I thought they were OK.
Here I think they really let themselves down. One of the waiting staff was a gnome that darted up and snatched plates away, at least three times before we had finished with them. For me I became annoyed when she grabbed my pudding plate while I was still eating the pudding, then tried to do the same to Dad, but gave it back when he protested, finally she attempted to make off with my cheese plate while I still had a piece of cheese in my hand. I waved the cheese at her and said "do you mind?".
As Diana pointed out, they really should advise people that coffee isn't included in the meal price. Again, not a biggie, so it didn't worry me too much, although Mum was upset. What did annoy me was that the coffee took a long time coming and wasn't hot on arrival. Diana was having a cappuccino and noticed this so sent it back. Obviously they made it and left it sitting before bringing it out, I think they should take the gnome off plate-snatching duties and use her obvious energy and speed to get the coffee out to the customers. As I was having a long black I wasn't too worried, but it would have been nice to have had it fresh.
Final rating 5/10; they would have got 7/10 if they improved the service.