Local Heart, Global Soul

September 14, 2009

Restaurant Review: “AVGVSTVS” Reinkenstraat cafe, The Hague.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Eating out together sans enfants is a small luxury that we don’t get to enjoy too often, but unexpected weekend playdates got both kids out the house at the same time and we opted for “AVGVSTVS Reinkenstraat cafe” because we were in the area running an errand and fancied pasta. We settle in an the place is quiet but looks good…

We order and almost instantly things get off on the wrong foot. I have ordered a cola light and requested please that it be without ice, and it came with ice. If the place was packed and staff were rushed then I could understand but there are only three other tables other than ours occupied, so surely staff should be able to remember such a simple request.

We have a fairly limited time to squeeze in lunch, get to our next appointment in the vicinity and then collect the children. We skip the entrée’s and head straight for the main courses. We don’t intend to be ordering dessert. My husband orders the Spaghetti Bolognase and I order the Salmon Pasta.

There is no cutlery on the table.. it is supplied in a small packets at the same time as the food, and it’s instantly clear once I unwrap it that my set of cutlery is FILTHY. Since the waitress has left already I go up and request a second set of cutlery. It is duly supplied but when I open it, it is missing a spoon, we were too pressed for time to ask for a third set…

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Next problem was that the plates were dirty with food all around the edges, plating up done so badly, I had to clean up the majority of the splatter before taking the photos, and for me this is not a good sign at all. My thought as a cook is instantly that when a food establishment is sloppy in the kitchen with what we can see, makes me seriously wonder what they are sloppy with in the kitchen that we can’t see.

I know that I spent a moment or two getting more cutlery, but I was fairly quick as I want hot food to be served and eaten hot. (in fact that’s one thing that’s very high on my list of essential “Must Have’s” in a restaurant.) I took a bite and it would be polite to say that the food was lukewarm. It was darned near cold, and no, I hadn’t ordered a salmon “salad” , this is supposed to be a hot main course. The plate had definitely not been heated at all, and no spoon made eating it less manageable, but our alloted time, or lack of it didn’t allow for messing around.

Yes indeed, I would have mentioned it to the staff … but they never turned up at the table to ask if your meal was satisfactory. Another simple and basic restaurant “No No” because this is the point where the Chef /Owner and staff have a chance to rectify any problem that the customer is having, and if they do that, the customer has far far less chance and cause to complain.. or in my case, give a bad review. It’s a pity, because word of mouth is (or should be) your restaurants best form of advertising.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

Salmon Pasta (photo © kiwidutch)

Salmon Pasta (photo © kiwidutch)

Spaghetti (photo © kiwidutch)

Spaghetti (photo © kiwidutch)

My Salmon Pasta, in spite of being almost cold was well cooked and tasted good… but Husband was having a completely different problem: he simply had such a minuscule portion that he hardly felt like he had eaten at all. There was no bread, no additional salad or vegetable provided with the meal, and in both meals the serving of pasta was very small indeed.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

We left, without providing a tip, Hubby was grumpy because he was starving and we didn’t have time to get anything else, so an hour and a half later as soon as we got home he started making himself sandwiches… not ideal when your have paid for Lunch out. He has decided that he never wants to eat here again, and that’s a pity because my pasta was quite tasty,… I definiately had the better meal of the two of us, shame it wasn’t served nearly hot enough.

I try very hard to take factors like the lunchtime rush into consideration, but in this case we had arrived just after 13.00 and it wasn’t like the cafe was rushed off it’s feet and the premises was packed with diners, there was plenty of time for the staff and the kitchen to have made a better effort at service and with the food.

Finally my over all Rating of our meal : Sadly this gets 2/10 and that’s only because my lunch was actually tasty.

(photo © kiwidutch)

(photo © kiwidutch)

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