I'd been hearing really really good things about a small French Bistro down on Beaufort st called P'tite Ardoise Bistro. Really really good things, so I made a booking for a few of us for last night. They couldn't fit us in until the second seating at 8.30pm which was perfect for us as one of the group had a late after work meeting.
Sadly it was not meant to be as when we arrived we were informed that they had a fridge breakdown and as a result they were closed. Huh? Now I don't want to be picky and I don't want to bad mouth this small French Bistro that sounds really really good BUT.... in my 18 year career as a chef I had at one time or another experienced the breakdown of every single item in my kitchens. Fridges, ovens, lights, fellow chefs (they were the worst), dish washing machines - I could go on. But never once did we close a restaurant down because something broke. The meat and fish got shoved into the drinks fridge, we pushed BBQ's onto the verandah and grilled everything on those or we lit candles, dragged the fallen chef outside and slapped him back to his senses and then rolled our sleeves up and hand washed every item. But NEVER did we once close down the gig.
Maybe the world has just gotten soft since I stopped cooking professionally, maybe candle light is awful for creating a foam under or the BBQ's just can't handle the aged ribeyes or maybe and just maybe the restaurants owner wasn't on deck last night and the staff milked the fridge incident for all its worth. I'm just sayin and I'm not pointing any fingers, but either way we no longer had a booking. So what now? Where do we eat at 8.30pm
I know, let's try The West End Deli, foods always good there. Off we sped
I wasn't a part of the actual conversation between one of our group and the girl at the West End Deli (I was looking for a park) but it went a little like this.
"Hi, would you be able to do a table of 3 now? I notice you have a fair few empty tables"
"Oh, um, it's 8.30 and you'll probably not get your main for about 40 minutes...."
"So we can have a table but no entrees just mains? Is that what you're saying?"
"Well, it's just that if you get your mains in 40 minutes that will mean it's past 9pm and we kind of don't serve main courses after 9pm"
At this point my friend turned and walked away, slightly dumbstruck and majorly confused. As we approached him and asked if they had a table his response was "I have no idea but I don't think so" Now this is where I start to get a bit shitty. Perth has always had an inferiority complex when compared to its' east coast counterparts. Lately it's taken huge steps towards to alleviating itself of those issues. Yet somehow it still prevails. Again I'm not sure if this is restaurant policy (no meals after 9) and please do not let it be so, or if it's another case of the restaurants owners not being hands on and leaving their investment in the hands of staff who are much more interested in getting home to watch re runs of The Sullivans on TV than serve actual paying customers.
You've got to do better Perth, much much better or you will always just be laughed at as the cashed up culture less west coast you choose to become. I walked into the Epicurian in Melbourne at 12.30am a couple of years back and received one of the nicest most warmest greetings I had ever gotten in a restaurant. They were happy to see me, seat me, inebriate me and serve me the best spaghetti marinara I had ever eaten at 1am anywhere. Meanwhile back in Perth at 8.45pm I'm hungry, agitated and confused.
We had but one other nearby choice and that choice was Barolo's. Really we should have just gone there from the get go. They were more than happy to seat us at almost 9pm, served us up some fantastic food and some excellent wines suggested by their well informed French sommelier. We were more than happy to hand over 300 of our hard earned dollars to these guys. More so than we will ever be at The West End deli again, I had really like the deli too. Maybe just for brekky huh? Unless 7am is too early for them!