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The Table That time Forgot – Spoon Deli Cafe

I’m not really into writing about restaurants and cafes unless the food or the experience is really exceptional.  It takes too much hard work and discipline which I already have in my working life.  I want fun and whimsy in my blogger life.  Last week’s review of Sardine Tin was one of those exceptional experiences.  This week’s review of Spoon Deli Cafe in the James St Markets was also one of those exceptional experiences but for all the wrong reasons.

Happy, unsuspecting diners with their table numbers

Getting a breakfast booking in Brisbane is difficult.  It’s considered hip to queue on the footpath on a Sunday morning, waiting to get a table.  I’m no fan of the ‘no booking’ phenomena so for our friend Michelle’s birthday brunch she opted for the easy life and made a booking at Spoon.  We arrived at the duly appointed time, located our table, perused our menus, ordered at the counter and received our table/order numbers.  There were 11 of us so we generally had three to four meals on a number.

The problems started when the meals started to arrive.  The waitress could not tell us what number the first plates belonged to but we guessed they must belong to order 10 as Tony & Michelle had ordered first.  Then some more meals arrived.  They seemed to be for the second order, number 18.  What happened to the other meals on order 10?  No matter, they must be on the way.  Quite a long wait….some meals arrived for someone that we guessed was on order 23.  What had happened to the rest of order 10?  Where was order 53 who ordered before us?  Where was the rest of 18?  An Omelette and a serve of Fritters arrived.  Yes, the Omelette is ours but the Fritters are not.  And where are the missing items for the other orders?  Another Omelette arrives – no, we already have one.  Guessing that last Omelette wasn’t ours then and that someone else’s order was also suffering the same fate.  And where are the missing items for the other orders?  Why couldn’t they tell us what meals belonged to each order number?  Were the wait staff just picking them up off the pass and delivering them blindly to tables that looked like they were waiting for food?

One of the offending table numbers

Finally, after two separate enquiries at the counter about our meals, a waiter appeared to apologise.  He told us he would take personal responsibility to make sure we got our food, checked our order, re-checked our order and walked with purpose to the kitchen.  That was the last we saw of him.  Some pancakes arrived for 7 year old Oscar.  They had the requisite berries but no butter, no syrup and were burned on the bottom.  Poor old Oscar could have eaten the leg of a chair by then so he just tucked in.  Meanwhile, the other meals were still missing.  We guessed that someone in the kitchen was cooking the first two items on each order but the last two were forgotten or the order receipt thrown away before it was complete.

With food still missing and tempers fraying, I went back to the counter to enquire.  The (I assume) service manager who was taking the orders looked at me blankly.  What missing orders?  What table number?  Was I sure of what I had ordered?  This was the last straw for me.  Whilst I kept my tone even, I certainly made sure the people in proximity knew that things had gone very, very wrong.  There was no apology, no offer of a round of free coffee, no anything. The sign over the door said ‘Primary Purpose: Provision of meals prepared and served‘.  They need to review their core business.

Eggs burned on the bottom

Eventually, the missing food arrived.  It was OK and only just.  Again, some of it had clearly been sitting on the pass for a while so eggs, sauce, mushrooms and spinach were lukewarm.  Eggs on the pannini were burnt on the bottom.  Yes, they could have been returned, but would you risk it?  I wasn’t expecting the breakfast world to be revolutionised by the menu but as it’s standard breakfast fare, I was expecting that the food would be cooked competently, arrive on time and be hot.

As I said – I wasn’t even going to write about this breakfast but my friends wanted the cathartic experience of reading about their disastrous morning.  If you look at my other reviews, I do have niggles from time to time but am generally even handed and give credit where it is due.

Good looking cold eggs & cold sauce

So, if you need to go somewhere where they take a booking for 10 for breakfast, Spoon fits the bill.  If you want good service, good food or to even receive your food, Spoon does not fit the bill.

Spoon Deli Cafe @ New Farm
Shop B3 James St Markets

Fortitude Valley 4006

Visited: Sun 10 July 11 – Breakfast/Brunch Service

Spoon Urban Cafe on Urbanspoon

5 comments… add one
  • Steve July 16, 2011, 8:22 pm

    Great – now I can get on with my life…and I might even risk another Brisbane Sunday morning Brunch…somewhere. Uneven was the thing about this one. Some food was good, some was almost acceptable, service – well, lets say it was busy, but not up to a decent standard on the day. Maybe it was just a bad one and they were just suffering an off day. Will we go back…not for a while, at least.

  • Shannan July 17, 2011, 4:36 pm

    This sums up Spoon exactly – crap food, arrogant service and advertisements for products they don't stock. The Paddington version is exactly the same. I shiver when I walk past the place on my regular trips to the wonderful Cru bar next door. For big, casual bookings I highly recommend Planet Matterz at Morningside.

  • Fiona Bris-Vegas! July 17, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Shannan – we are sympatico! Funnily enough, I live just near Planet Matterz and was thinking about doing a brunch there. Upon your recommendation, I will give it a try. Thanks

  • RobertL July 18, 2011, 9:29 am

    I have been sooooo waiting for this. We were there with Fiona and Steve (comment 1) and the others. We were the last to arrive, and noticed problems with the arrival of the first coffee order – before we had ordered any food. The wait staff had no idea which coffees belonged to which customer. I thought that's what the little numbers were for!

    I'd just like to add a couple

  • magi December 17, 2011, 6:32 pm

    Nice article, thanks for the information.
    Kitchen Equipment

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