Thursday, 22 September 2011

Yes, No or Maybe?

Lunch today with three longstanding friends. We've all known each other for over forty years. Someone decided we should try Italian as a change from the 'Modern Australian' restaurants we have frequented lately and another selected the venue; the Italian Village at The Rocks. That is a very touristy location with stunning harbour views but would we get a good meal? Sometimes these locations deliver the 'tourist experience' at the expense of quality cuisine.

The weather was all in our favour. It was a gorgeous Spring day and as I made my way around Circular Quay to the restaurant I passed plenty of visitors photographing the sights and themselves.

He had to wait for three ferries to pass before getting a clear view of 'you know what' in the background
Photographing the white icon with the sails ahead with the grey icon to his left
Well, the food at the Italian Village proved to be quite reasonable but we had a bit of a problem with the bill. In addition to the glossy laminated a la carte menu the restaurant offered a separate 'Business Luncheon Menu' for $29. That menu advertised five pasta dishes, four pizza dishes and one free glass of drink. There was no 'And' nor 'Or' separating the pasta section from the pizza section and no other wording to indicate that this menu was anything other than a two course meal with one free glass of drink for $29.

Just to make certain we asked our waiter to confirm that this was the case. His answer was curiously ambiguous. There was no clear 'Yes' or No'. Four more times we asked the question and four more times we were left uncertain. It seemed that the waiter was confirming that we were ordering a two course meal plus drink for $29 and yet we were still uncertain. Not one of the four of us sure that this was the case.

When our pasta 'starter' dishes arrived it seemed doubtful that this truly was a two course menu. The pasta dishes were all very generous serves and quite frankly by the time I had cleared mine I was wondering whether I would be able to manage a pizza dish to follow. I think all four of us felt the same.

We made a valiant effort with the pizzas; not quite polishing them all off but we got close. When the bill arrived it was a few cents short of $300. It was obvious that we had been charged a la carte; well above the advertised Business Luncheon deal. We spoke to the cashier explaining that we had tried multiple times to clarify that we were ordering the Luncheon deal and to the restaurant's credit they reduced our bill by a quarter; effectively charging us the advertised Luncheon rate. (Some additional drinks, coffees and a salad dish lifted us to the revised bill of $200.)

All in all, a happy outcome...for us.

1 comment:

  1. You get an instinct for when things are going to go wrong. I hate doing it, but you just have to press the point about the cost in advance, although it sounds like you did.