Posted in Food, Ordinarylife, Port Elizabeth, Restuarants

The good, the bad and the very ugly.

In the past week I have had one of the best and one of the worst dining out experiences in PE. 

I will start with the WORST – just to get it off my chest (which as a pleasant side effect of pregnancy seems to be growing by the second) 

The worst – Barney’s at the beachfront!  DON’T go there.  Or at least don’t go there until they get a new manager.  There was a combination of things that went wrong, from Mr OL not getting his food until everybody else had finished eating, all of our food was cold.  The one girl sent hers back 3 times to be heated up and each time it came back as cold as it had left.  The child’s food, which should have been at the table first came second last (just before Mr OL’s).  When she did get it the roll was frozen and the rest was so terrible she did not eat it anyway. We never got refills on our drinks and when we eventually got hold of the manger to complain his attitude was SHOCKING!!!!  He said he was not aware there was a problem and the waitress was new.  Uhmm, ok but that does not explain the nearly frozen burger roll or the icy cold chips or most of the other problems.  We told him that people would not come back if the service and food was this bad and his words, along with a shrug of his shoulders and a smile were “We have open a long time”  As if so what, people come back anyway.  SHOCKING, SHOCKING, SHOCKING! 

Then the good experience. And an experience it was.  The restaurant was Cubata.  It is in a ‘bad’ part of town, the décor was shocking, the service (initially) sucked, the table we had booked was taken but after the meal and the experience all was forgiven.  It was FANTASTIC!  It is a small, family run Portuguese restaurant that only seats about 30 people.  It is not licensed so you need to bring your own.  They only serve grilled chicken (peri peri or not), prawns, spare ribs, calamari and chips.  We tried ordering from the menu and the owner said we should just let him bring us stuff.  So we did.  He brought platters of ribs, chicken and prawns (you pay for these each so tell him how many you want – they are huge so we said 2 each).  He also brings you fresh rolls and big plates of chips.  You just pass along help your self and eat!  The food was some of the best I have ever eaten.  It is simple and non pretentious.  Don’t go there though if you want a quiet meal or as a couple.  It is for groups, as it gets rather loud in there.  Don’t go there if you are not the lick your fingers type of person.  It gets rather messy and there are not enough paper serviettes to go around.  Do however go there for the experience and the food.  You will never want to order ribs anywhere else. 

If you do want to go, book well in advance. They are fully booked for nearly 3 months. They have two sittings a night and they basically KICK the first lot out at about 7:30, so if you want to hang about after eating try for the later sitting.  The people before us were basically kicked out, with half drunk bottles of wine in their hands as soon as they had finished eating.  But it is well worth it.  We booked again as we left, so will be going back in about 3 months time.

9 thoughts on “The good, the bad and the very ugly.

  1. That second place sounds like my kind of place!

    I am sick and tired of poor service in South Africa and absolute indifference when you complain. It is my policy to always write letters about poor service, and 9/10 times they never even acknowledge my complaint. And quite often the 1/10 they’ll tell me that I must have been mistaken… or make some stupid excuse.

  2. Wow! At least you’re in South Africa! Very cool. My dad and sis are going next week. So jealous! Do the waiters get paid on a salary basis or something? I know in France, that’s the case, and they have bad restaurant service.

  3. Cubata is definitely my kinda restaurant! I love places where there is no menu and the owner brings you whatever he thinks is good (as long as you don’t get last night’s leftovers!)

    The problem with places like Barney’s (I used to have Sunday drinks there many moons ago I think), is that they are not family owned and some half-arsed manager is doing it for the money and the power, not the love of the job!

  4. We eat out often..but have never been to Cubata…will try it. One place I will never visit again is Butchers Block…the fish we ordered was decidedly OFF and when we complained we were treated badly for the rest of the evening. Incredible how you are expected to pay for bad service and they expect you to take it without complaining!

  5. Hanlie – I fear if I write a letter it is just going to end up on the same managers desk.

    Rachel – yes, they have brought in a salary for most waiting staff, but it is pitiful so they do mostly rely on tips. Needless to say this girl did not get one. I hope they enjoy their trip here. It is a beautiful country.

    Del – they say they serve close to a ton of ribs a month so I doubt they have left overs. And I agree about Barney’s. I don’t even know who the owner is. I used to go there quite a bit about 10 years ago, but will not be going back in a very long time.

    Lynette – you really should try it, but as I said, book well in advance and make sure you are not planning on a quiet romantic night. The slurping on ribs and shouting down the long tables does not lend itself to that. I agree about the Butchers Block, unfortunately for some UNKNOWN reason it is (was after we tried Cubata) my husband favourite restaurant. I will only go there for his special occasions like his birthday. For any other celebration I get to choose.

    Damaria – it is fantastic. The second sitting is most definetly best, the owner spends time with you and introduces his entire family. His son is the chef, his wife and daughter help it. It is a great family run place.

  6. I can’t believe you are dissing Barney’s at the Beachfront.
    I was there the other day, and I met the manager. Unusual chap, but ever so friendly (if a little touchy-feely for my liking) – said he highly regards his clientele and treats them like his own brethren.
    His exact words were:

    “I love you, you love me,
    We’re a happy family
    With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you
    Wont you say you love me too?”

    I declined, made my excuses and left at this point.

  7. 6000 – I sometines wonder when you say 6000 Miles from Civilisation if you are talking about a place on earth or earth in general. Because I generaly think you have left this planet.
    Damaria – probably the purple guy.

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