A daughter’s treat that went awry. She had been wanting to take me out to a place of my choice since the time she started working couple of months ago, which we had been avoiding due to a family history 😉
But, matters came to a head yesterday and she insisted that we go out for Brunch in spite of my body ache and bit of fever, because in her words ‘Dad you’re acting like a senile old man these days’. Off we went, Sofitel was too far. Marriott was near but December always sees us visit it for reasons best known and now Chef Himanshu’s invite is still pending besides the Mezzo Mezzo invite of last year, so I suggested Novotel buffet having heard a couple people saying it was pretty decent.
Reached there around 1 pm, the lobby looked like an Indigo convention and some Bhatia wedding who had emblems and branded Tees floating around.
Entering the Square, no staff to ask, found the place pretty empty, secured a table and decided to check out the buffet.
First Irritant I just hate servers standing behind/sideways and asking a Question and a simple one about water. And definitely not at a star property.
The salad were pretty good, though I fail to see why would one have olives with pits at a buffet? Economical? the pasta salad was nice, but the best which required multiple helpings was the gauva salad, very well done and good. Second IrritantThe chicken soup was lovely, though the chicken seemed to be missing and the soup bowls were more artistic in nature and hence the soup was cold before I reached my table.
The lebanese with an Indian taste was fine as far a buffet goes, the ‘cheese platter’ had just two cheeses with no crackers, even after two visits and once telling the server.
Having overdone the pasta in the recent past, decided to give it a miss and decided to try out some dry chicken and fish. Chicken was nice, a tad spicy but worked for me; however one look at both the fish – Indian and Chinese, my question Third irritant What fish is this? There was silence for quite a while from the Masalchis on duty, before one ventured – Basa, very good fish sir. I said do you use Basa across restaurants and was told yes. Asked if I could speak to the Chef who I had gathered from his Black custom uniform with sunglasses perched above his head was Ranveer Brar. Was told will check and ask.
Tried the Indian – Just the gravy from rogan josh, chole, aloo simla mirch – all pretty good, with the chilli garlic naan speciality of the day which was excellent. The raita and dahi bhalla did not work for me because were too sour. The chicken biryani had decent chicken but cold rice.
Wife never ever misses a chance to try out the gujju stuff was disappointed with most of it, though the dal kachori was decent. She tried the Dosa which were decent, chutney good but sambhar horrible and cold.
Whilst cautioning my wife of something, my glass full of ice + water tipped over on her, jeans and side. Fourth & Major Irritant No reaction from any staff, I grabbed one of them asking for a napkin, was dumbly handed over one. We got her seated on the other side. After nearly 10 minutes when one of the Senior servers/captains came up to ask if everything was all right, I pointed out. With a nod he disappeared and took another 10-15 minutes to actually clean and swab the place. However, the wet place mat was not replaced. An udipi definitely gives me better service than this.
Whilst this was playing out, since there were no appams, I asked for plain dosa and masala dosa Fifth irritant after two reminders to the live station, neither turned up, till a stern voice to the captain brought it over.
The sweets or desserts that always brings a smile to my wife’s face and grimace to my daughter’s (because she has given up sweets currently and can’t bear to see her mother eating) was another downer. The bengali sweets were pretty decent, however all thrashed about and looked worse than a halwai’s shop. The tart was barely ok as was the cheese cake. The saving grace was coffee and chocolate ice cream, but hey that was hokey pokey.
Sixth Irritant 15-20 minutes to swipe a card and settle, no apology for the non appearance of the Chef or one of his stooges.
Whilst taking a look around, my wife met Manish Khanna and asked me if I wanted to share this with him. But the entire thing had left too much of a bad taste for me by then. Food can be bad, people and service good. Service horrible, food excellent. But all with a pathetic attitude just doesn’t cut it for me.
But, you think if this is the end, you got another thought coming. Final Irritant Gave my ticket for my car to be brought up front. 10 minutes later wife and daughter come from the ladies room. Then I ask the man if I should leave and he would send the car home? Another 5-7 minutes and I see the car zooming up with full headlights on, radio on full volume; on being asked am told I had left it on.
Damages: Approx ₹3000/- with Accor Membership
Update 10/12/13 4:50 pm Received a call from Ranveer Brar who said that he had taken my number from Snehal and apologised personally and assured me that he had not received the information and the captain had been taken to task and if I was ever in the vicinity he would like to meet me personally and apologise once again. I shared that I did not expect him to call, but Manish Khanna must have learnt about it too and requested him to ensure that others do not suffer the same fate, because they may not have the same access or influence. The matter for me stands closed.