Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A little cheese please

We are on holiday in New Zealand and have just had the most appalling "service" in a restaurant that I had to air my views.
Eating out in NZ is not cheap and so we decided to take advantage of an offer that

Al Ponte Ristorante Italiano

was running for a Wednesday Evening. Pizza or pasta plus a glass of house wine for $20 ( €15 £13) The restaurant is in Wanganui

The restaurant wasnt busy and we ordered and the food arrived. Now the normal thing in an Italian is for the waiter to arrive with a pepper pop the size of his/ her arm and to offer black pepper and of course the essential parmesan cheese.
Neither were offered so we called the waitress back and asked for pepper and cheese. They arrived a couple of minutes later and to be fair enhanced a tasty meal.

However when it was time to leave, we asked for the bill and expected $40. The bill delivered was $42 which included a $2 supplement for parmesan!!!
I was shocked to see a supplement for condiments and after having paid decided that would have a word with the owner who was by the till.
I explained that it is usual for Italian restaurants to offer the full range of condiments with meals and that I thought that he was taking advantage by charging extra. He shrugged and said it was "expensive" and that was why they charged.

I was lost for words and left disgusted.
I did a quick google check and he hasnt run the restaurant for long, reviews are mixed but my review/ advice is simple. "Dont take the piss out of your customers or you wont have any to take the piss out of."
Even in the picture on the net he is standing at the door looking for the next customer to fleece!!

Friday, 10 February 2012


I know everyone has weather but I feel an update on the last 10 days is required. The winter was hardly noticeable until the end of January and then it hit like a slap in the face.
The temperature fell although the days were bright and then last Sunday, we woke to snow.
Snow is lovely, on Christmas cards, on mountains and perhaps even here for a limited time but as with the UK we don't know what to do with the stuff.

About 10 inches fell in the village and nearly a week later it is just about still all here. The temperature has averaged about minus 8 at night and a balmy minus 2 during the day. The sun has melted it very slightly only for the night to turn it back to ice.
The villages and hamlets seem to have to look after themselves with the gritting and clearing only on the larger roads. As such we had a couple of local farmers out with tractors clearing the main nroad through the village but nothing else

The bar is warmish but I think we must be keeping the village awake as the gurgling sound of diesel rushing into the boiler is like that of a weir or a small waterfall.
The customer toilets have frozen up on a couple of occasions but fortunately we have managed to keep the seat warm. I am not sure our insurance company would be thankful of a personal injury claim as as a backside is removed from a frozen seat leaving  a circle of skin behind.

As always planning is important  and as they say "the best laid plans of mice and men"  ( R Burns 1786)
This was the week that Seb from Anglo Windows was fitting  new doors in the large room.
These  2 set of doors are approx 4m wide by 2.5m high and were rotten to the point  that they let wind and cold in. However a little cold blowing through small holes in the doors was nothing compared with Seb ripping out the whole thing to let the siberian weather in directly.
They are now in and looking good and in future times will keep the room warmer.

Business wise, the term slow would be a bit of an exaggeration.  We have been open every day, the benefit of living on the premises and have been very pleased that as we can report that we still haven't had a day where nobody came in.
We have had to cancel our quiz this week as the roads in the evenings are difficult to say the least but spring will soon be here and the cold of the last few days will become a distant memory.

and for the next couple of weeks---------