On Friday night, basis KC’s friend’s recommendation, we went to Coastal Reef for dinner. I was exhausted after my TRX class and not hungry since at 9.30 pm it was way past my dinner time. The South Indian restaurant has Mangalore ghee roast chicken on the menu and I was excited because it was one of my favourite dishes while studying at Manipal. I received the shock of my life when the chicken was not dry or roasted but tasted like boiled chicken. Even after the masalas, it was bland. We didn’t complain because I was too exhausted and proceeded to eat a few bites of the tomato pappu (strictly ok) and appams. The server replaced the dish even though we asked him not to but neither of us dared to even taste it because it was the worst chicken we have eaten. The restaurant did not charge us for the chicken. I rated them 1 (the lowest rating) on zomato and tripadvisor and the owner (????) contacted me on fb explaining that their executive chef is on leave and I should visit again. Their staff was just having a bad day. I put this up on fb and a friend who owns a cafe told me that it is ok for a cafe to have an off day.
Here is my problem – Why would you serve BAD food? I understand that nobody can serve an authentic Mangalorean ghee roast chicken in Gurgaon. I am not even expecting it. But it needs to be atleast roasted and not boiled, have similar spices, have ghee and taste good. There is no excuse for serving horrible tasting food. And waiving it off the bill is not a favour, I wouldn’t pay for a dish that wasn’t edible. Your off day is equivalent to a bad night for me. I could have walked into any other cafe, but I chose to eat here. I could have stayed home and ordered in but I chose to spend my money in your cafe after driving for 15-30 mins. Make amends when am in the restaurant instead of contacting me after my review on social media where am very active and have many followers. The cafe owners would like to argue that one bad meal can mar their reputation because of social media. The same guys have no problem using paid social media to influence opinions.
When my regular cafe (Pasta bowl company) screws up one meal, I don’t rant or shout or complain because I understand that they are having a bad day. I understand that their server is new and does not know the dishes on the menu. If they serve great food 9 out of 10 times, am happy. But as a new customer, I probably won’t try a cafe again after a bad experience. I appreciate that the cafe reached out to me because they didn’t have to. Yuatacha (a Michelin starred restaurant) didn’t even bother to reply to my not-so-great experience on zomato. At the same time, courtesy cannot excuse bad food.
As a reluctant host and juvenile cook, I wouldn’t serve my guests bad food and don’t understand why anyone should do the same. Especially, if you are charging money for it and in the food business.