It must be said that Andrew and I are fortunate enough to be regular customers of some of Belfast’s restaurants. Certainly, since moving into our new flat this has been the case – more out of a need to get the oven cleaned before it could be used than for any other reason. Today, the day on which Andrew was busy cleaning the oven and making sure that it is sparkly and clean, ready for cooking, we were once more in Victoria Square for a meal.
Tonight the reason for our meal out was meeting our friend Claire, her fiancé, Mike, and other friends for a meal to celebrate the engagement. Claire had picked Chiquito as the venue and, whilst it would not be our first choice, we were happy to head along and enjoy the party.
However, we came away feeling rather cheated. The table was booked for 5.30, but it was 6.30 before were seated. Having ordered drinks right away, it was another hour before any of them came. Well not quite before all of them came… I had a bit of a blackout for a short time, and Mike asked for a glass of water for me. Andrew is so used to the blackouts or faints that he just supported me until I came round…
My order was:
Garlic Flat Bread with Cheese followed by Chilli Con Carne, with a Pint of Coca-Cola. Dessert was the Brownie Stack.
As I said, it took two hours from the party arriving, before we even had a drink. Fortunately, the food arrived a little bit more quickly. However, I think I was not the only one who was more than a little surprised at the service. The table had no forks on it, and we had to ask for forks after our meals were served.
Time for the bingo?
It seemed that we were having main course bingo as the waiter was arriving with food and then asking us about it…
Chilli con carne?
It doesn’t seem to be too difficult in other eating establishments in the city for staff to know who ordered what, and where they are seated. Certainly, we’ve not had that problem in recent outings to Robinson’s Bistro, or Frankie & Benny’s.
Then came the dessert: four were ordered, three arrived. So late was my Brownie stack on arriving that it arrived after Andrew had finished his.
Time to pay
And then the bill arrived, at that point we realised how much one of our drinks cost. Andrew’s meal cost £11.99 for three courses plus £5.58 for two pints of Diet Coke. It was clear that he did not think that it was worth that much. We only wish that there had been a way to deduct money from the bill instead of adding it for service.
I will not be heading back to Chiquito again for quite some time. There were only a couple of redeeming features about this evening: the craic with the party with whom we were eating and the cuteness of some of the staff.