Saturday, September 6, 2014

Soul Restaurant Auckland and the single woman!

Soul Restaurant Auckland NZ
Reading an article in the UK Guardian about 'How to Complain in Restaurants' I remembered my night out in Auckland.
I am a gardener, I am a senior citizen who rarely goes out these days, although in my youth I patronised some of the best restaurants in the world but today my impaired digestive system no longer allows me to enjoy fine dining.
At a restaurant above where I live I had long admired their display of hanging baskets and for a long time I imagined how nice it would be to sit under these and have a meal with my daughter who can only visit once a year. I should dine simply but she could eat and drink anything on the menu.  The hanging baskets are magnificent. So booked a table for two for an evening out. One I should never forget and indeed I shall never forget it.
I have been aware that a woman alone or in pairs are often given the worst table going and this night was no exception. We were greeted as if we were an inconvenience and rushed into the back to a white bare noisy room far away from the hanging baskets. I could have been in a school dining room. When I asked if we could be seated under the hanging baskets or even near them I was told that this 'was not possible'. I had booked well in advance.
We were seated in the middle of the room and 'rushed' into everything. My daughter chose the most expensive meal and it turned up within a few minutes, Coffee and desert came in with in ordinate haste. It was as if we were an embarrassment. The bill was presented without being requested Within an hour we had left.
I have never, never been so disappointed in my life. I made no complaint and the bill, because of the haste of service, was much smaller than it could have been. I had champagne in mind!
Not all your customers go for the food. Some like me go for the ambience. Perhaps those not lucky enough to be seated under the baskets should be given another treat rather than the bare white noisy room far away from the beautiful flowers and view of harbour. I eat better at home each night. Perhaps women should stipulate where they wish to sit when booking and say that it is for a special night out and they do not wish to be hurried.
I should still like to dine under the hanging baskets but for me it possibly will remain a dream. In Auckland give Soul and the hanging baskets a miss and eat at the Sky Tower Orbit Restaurant where I have never been disappointed. Wonderful view for all and wonderful food.
Since reading this I decided to complain only to find the said restaurant has no email address so I wrote my complaint on the booking form! I wonder if I shall get an answer?

18 September 2014 Update

I did hear back from Soul. I had a very charming letter from the owner  Judith Tabron who explained why it was not possible to ensure that I was seated under the hanging baskets. It is supposed to be first come first served but on my night it most definitely wasn't. There were plenty  of empty tables when we arrived. She said she was surprised and I believe her. She was also not amused that her staff had hurried us out. She could tell this from the computer  records. She has offered me a voucher so that I can go and have a meal under the hanging baskets which is what I wanted and in November the new ones will have arrived. So I will and I am looking forward to it and I shall report back.

I did suggest that Soul reserved a small area under the baskets coffee for those unlucky enough to have to use the back restaurant so at least they can enjoy some of the ambience and if you do book and it is a wonderful restaurant just remember it is first come first seated and do not take any other answer and get there early.