maffyteacake (maffyteacake) wrote in bad_service,

Bad service at an Indian restaurant

While visiting my gf in Pensacola, FL over the holidays, we decided to take a friend who was up from Tallahassee for the weekend to the newly-opened indian restaurant, which is weirdly located inside a comfort suites hotel. Both my girlfriend and I love indian food (which I grew up on, pretty much, living in the UK), but our friend had never tried it before, which is one reason this restaurant sucked so much :(

I and two friends decided to visit this restaurant for a late lunch on Saturday 21st January, 2012, only a week after their "grand opening". On entering the restaurant, we discovered we had missed their lunchtime buffet (which is served until 3pm). No matter, we decided to order off the menu. The first instance of lacking service is when we were seated (by a gentleman who later turned out to be the manager) - there was only one other group there when we were seated, but we were taken to our table and then the manager proceeded to go tend to the other table for around 5 minutes, only then returning with our menus.

We found this odd, but decided to order straight away as we were very hungry. I ordered the chicken tikka masala (a dish I have ordered at countless Indian restaurants before), a peshwari naan bread, and a cup of their chai tea. My girlfriend ordered the lamb curry, and the mixed pakora appetizer (a specific choice since she is gluten intolerant and pakoras are gluten-free). Our friend just ordered a chicken curry, and all three entrees came with rice.

One of the main issues we had with the service was the ridiculous waiting times for our food, and the bizarre order in which it arrived. We waited around 30 minutes before the first items came out - first my gf's pakora starter, her lamb curry and rice, and our friend's chicken curry, and my rice. Note the fact that my curry had not arrived, nor our friend's rice, so I gave my rice to her so she could have a complete meal while all the items were still hot. I then had to wait a further 10 minutes before my curry, rice and naan arrived at the table.

When it arrived, my food can only be described at severely lacking. Where the tikka masala should have been a creamy spiced tomato sauce with chicken, it was separated and oozing spoonfuls of oil. The rice was slightly hard, and the naan was burnt around the edges, but that at least tasted good. After the long wait I was in no mood to put up with bad curry, so when a server next passed by I explained the problem with the curry, and asked them for a replacement. After a further 8-10 minute wait, the curry came out again, and it was immediately obvious that the same curry had just been drained of the puddles of oil, and put in a new dish. This was not satisfactory - and it had already started oozing oil again by the time it got to the table - so I asked that they just take it back, and not send me a replacement.

My girlfriend also had a problem with her food, as one of the pakoras bizarrely came wrapped in some kind of pastry, which she didn't realize until she bit into it (remember that she is gluten intolerant, and pastry = gluten.) She also pointed it out to the staff, and asked that they take it back to the kitchen.

Some time after this, the manager came over to our table to apologize, and said they would give us a complementary chicken tikka starter. This was ok, but nothing special considering that I was now starving by this point, and there wasn't a great deal of chicken there.

The worst part of our experience came when we received the checks. Despite having sent my curry back to the kitchen twice, and an acknowledgement from the manager that there had been a problem with it, the curry was still on my check, along with the other items I had ordered. While my gf's and friend's meals hadn't been anything special in regards to quality (especially regarding the gluten in the pakora), they were both prepared to pay, and I had no problem paying for my tea (even though I didn't like it, but that was my problem) and my naan, as it did taste pretty good and I just ate around the burnt bits. However, I was not going to pay for a curry I didn't even eat. Calling the manager over, I asked politely that the curry be taken off my check, as I had sent it back to the kitchen twice, and hadn't eaten in. The manager then got the most sour look on his face, before announcing with a huff "it's free for you all today, then." I had only wanted the uneaten curry off my check, and we were all made to feel we were just scamming for a free meal.

TL:DR: Food takes forever to come out, and in a weird order (who eats their rice before their curry??), and my tikka masala leaked oil like crazy. Even after returning it to the kitchen twice, and eventually refusing it, they still tried to charge me for it. My gf ordered a normally gluten free dish, which ended up having gluten in it.
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