Monday, May 23, 2005

An abomination in the eyes of The Skirt

The Trouser and I went to our favourite local cafe on Saturday for a spot of brunch.

It had been some time since we'd been there (it's our favourite, but variety is the spice of life and we've been pretty busy on Saturday mornings). I was looking forward to my usual, as was The Trouser, I suspect.

We were welcomed oddly by someone we didn't recognise. In fact, we didn't recognise any of the staff. Not a single person. They dressed in the same t-shirts and aprons, but with a different (read: inferior) style.

The menu was almost the same - but not quite. The patrons were also different - gone were the snobs and fancy-pants people who barely registered our presence; the people there were not only normal, but were dressed so as to make me look really dressed up and stylish (I wasn't - honest!).

So I asked, and found it had been sold.

I immediately wanted to leave, but felt it would be too rude. So we stayed.

The food was SO SLOW. It was ok, but not great - the same items, but not quite as well-made. Apparently the coffee was rotten.

(And BTW my favourite item was no longer on offer; I suspect The Trouser's wouldn't have been either, but we didn't dare ask, since it is a dish that requires panache and flair to pull off.)

I am so sad.

As The Trouser said, if only we'd known the last time that it would be our last time, we would've enjoyed it more.

Lesson 1: You can't buy a business and try to run it the same way and succeed unless you and the former owner are practically clones of each other.

Lesson 2: People will not pay upmarket prices for slow and mediocre service of decidedly average food, even if it is in a lovely space.

Now, I am all for immigration, being an immigrant of sorts myself. And I love Asian people, and their lovely Asian cooking.

But lovely Asian people buying up my favourite cafe and ruining it by making it like a BB's (unprofessional waitstaff, crappy coffee and mediocre interpretations of otherwise-acceptable food) is all too much.

I know, this ain't the first cafe it has happened to, and it certainly won't be the last.

But how often do you find a gorgeous cafe with great, friendly staff who remember your "usual", within walking distance from work and home?

We sulked on Saturday, going window-shopping in Newmarket. The Trouser was so upset he needed green tea sorbet to calm his tummy.

I also had sorbet (lemon), to keep him company. My tummy is fine. But I'm still sulking.


Blogger Violet said...

hang on a minute...they don't have to be Asian people to have spoiled your cafe experience. Anyone could've done it.

12:35 pm  
Blogger The Skirt said...

Yeah you're right.

However, there is a definite trend in Auckland for thriving cafes to be bought as a going concern by new migrants, usually of Asian origin.

When the business changes hands, the prices and menu items usually stay the same, but the quality of the food doesn't. If a cafe offers a $10 sandwich advertised with ingredients that include herbed mayonnaise and fennel, for example, you can't use plain mayo from the supermarket and leave the fennel out.

It's a free world, and maybe my beef ought to be with the people who sell the cafe - though I don't really blame them either.

I'm sure lots of people do this sort of thing - in my admittedly limited (and Auckland-centric) experience though, it's been Asian people.

I didn't mean to be offensive, and am sorry if I did offend.

9:08 am  

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