Our first contender is Alessio's, the Italian food stand at the Ponsonby International Foodcourt. The last several times we've eaten Italian there I've ordered Fettuccine Bolognese with extra parmesan cheese. The woman that used to take the orders had no problems, but she seems to have been replaced, twice. The last 4 times I have had problems. The first replacement order taker managed to record the order wrong, simply as "Bolognese" and spaghetti bolognese arrived. I'm not sure why but I accepted this. Normally I'd check my order before accepting it but this time I didn't notice until both Tessa and I were already eating so I didn't say anything. Next time, when spaghetti bolognese arrived I sent it back.
The third time, I read what the order taker had written on her pad and politely pointed out to her that she hadn't written "fettuccine" anywhere. She corrected it with poor grace. Once again spaghetti arrived and once again I sent it back. This time it was the chef's mistake.
Finally a few days back I attempted to order my favourite from them and there seemed to be a new order taker at the counter. It took a long time to explain to her that I wanted Fettuccine Bolognese, just like spaghetti but made with fettuccine ... she seemed unsure what fettuccine was ... once I'd convinced her to write it down I then asked for the extra parmesan cheese. She wanted to know what parmesan cheese was and which menu number it was.
At this point I realised that whoever this woman is, she isn't an Italian food stall order taker so I walked off and had a different cuisine, Chinese from Golden Express. While I was there I remarked to Tessa that I didn't think I'd return to Alessio's and why. The Chinese lady who fronts Golden Express was listening to my explanation and even she laughed when I got to the bit about an Italian restaurant not knowing what parmesan cheese was.
Tonight we went a little bit upmarket. Precisely to Niko's Pizza, Greek and Italian food place in Takapuna. I still wanted my fettuccine bolognese so when I saw that they had both a fettuccine dish and spaghetti bolognese on the menu I asked the waitress if I could order it, she took the order and all seemed well ... until the food arrived that was ... when it arrived it was fettuccine all right but in some kind of creamy chicken sauce. Tessa sent it back for me. Next we had the owner bringing the dish back saying that it was their fettuccine dish to which Tessa explained that this wasn't what I'd ordered.
Eventually he got it and wandered back in. Tessa's meal arrived; mine arrived a good 10 minutes after Tessa's. To be fair it was a damned good fettuccine bolognese.
We've eaten at Niko's a few times before, but getting the wrong meal delivered to the table, having the owner argue about it and then our dishes being served at different times makes me positively disinclined to return.
OK I've ordered something that isn't on the menu. I'd accept three possible outcomes as fair:
- Refusal (Either through policy or an inability) to make the dish,
- Offering to make the dish at a different price,
- Making the dish at the same price as the spaghetti.
Unwilling to spend any more time or money at Niko's, we drove back to town and went to Circus Circus for dessert and coffee. Unusually for them Circus Circus made a mistake with the order. When this was pointed out to them they immediately apologised and fixed the problem. Right answer Circus Circus.