Several months ago we entertained guests at the Giorgiou Steakhouse in the Sunridge Village Shopping Centre in Port Elizabeth. We enjoyed a delicious meal, convivial company and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
However, instead of immediately posting a write-up of the establishment, I allowed procrastination and an ill defined inkling to delay what would have been an inaccurate review – an omission for which this blog will be all the better.
You see, dear reader, your writer has been a little too trusting. Because the Giorgiou group also has a five star boutique hotel and spa (of which I have no experience), I instinctively thought the Steakhouse would reflect a pursuit of excellence and sumptuousness similar to that depicted on their website (http://www.georgiouhotelandspa.com/). And that’s where I went wrong.
For a fee, you and your party can glide into the Giorgiou Restaurant in one of their two limousines; ostensibly wined and dined in style, and then whisked off to their hotel for a spa treatment. You may, in all probability, also spend a jolly good night’s sleep underneath all five of their stars. I can only hope the accommodation is better than the food.
Since our first visit, we have eaten and entertained guests at Giorgiou a further four occasions. With the exception of their rather delicious cakes, the degradation in the quality of fare and service levels has been plainly visible and left me embarrassed in front of my guests. Thus, the evidence provided by five visits to Giorgiou’s in three months, contributes to my opinion of it being well below average and a decidedly underwhelming establishment.
During our five visits to Giorgiou’s, here are some of the problems your writer experienced:
- Running out of gas. The waiter apologised and advised that a senior person had been despatched to bring a resupply, and our meal would be delayed. Although a fertile topic for distasteful jokes at their expense, we refrained.
- Three out of five five visits – no pre-meal bread.
- Espresso – insipid and no crema. I sent it back with a complaint and ordered a filter/bodem of coffee which tasted 10 times better. However, I was charged for both.
- While I’m not expecting Kobe-style beef, the untrimmed fillet with sinew and fat is a definite no-no. I am not going to risk another R150 in the hope that I might get a proper piece of fillet next time.
- Mrs Chip’s order of vegetables was sub-standard on two of the visits. The creamed spinach had been standing for too long and looked more glutenous than creamed spinach normally looks. On our last visit, the pumpkin was actually cold.
- Our guest’s mushroom sauce with her Chicken Schnitzel had been standing so long it had a skin on.
- On our last two visits, we saw stains on the table linen. Our guest politely tried to ignore them.
- On one visit, the burger patty was scorched on the outside; rare on the inside.
- This might be an erroneous perception, but many of the staff appear to lack proper training. With the exception of our waitress (a young student) on our first visit, all of them lacked a comprehensive knowledge of the menu items, and needed to enquire whether menu items could be altered.
Of course, the kneejerk response from most of these eateries is that patrons must bring their complaints to the attention of the owners/managers. My answer is no. I am paying a premium for management to stop the sub-standard service and food BEFORE IT GETS TO MY TABLE. That is why they are employed; not to stand at the entrance of the restaurant, grinning like a slow-witted penguin or a horny Don Juan, trying to chat up staff members.
If you want someone else to highlight your problems and to teach you how to run your restaurant, hire consultant. Don’t burden your customer with this onerous task AND ask him to pay for the privilege.
Here is your score card Mr Giorgiou….
|Category||# out of 10||Notable Points|
|Perceived target market||*||Although Giorgiou is called a steakhouse, attempts are made by means of the décor and design to convey a more upmarket business model.|
|Date & Time of last visit||*||30 March 2013 – lunchtime.|
|Welcome/greeting||9||We were greeted and seated as we entered.|
|Manager visible?||6||The maitre d’ was present but failed to do the rounds of the tables. We watched him and some of his staff standing around chatting at the entrance and watching TV. At previous isits, a blond lady (who appeared to be manager) was more ‘hands-on’.
|Quality of staff||5||Apart from one notable exception (our personable and knowledgeable waitress during our first visit), those who attended out tables on the four successive occasions were generally insipid and ill-trained. Their barista urgently requires training or replacement as he/she does not know how to make an espresso. See photo.|
|Ambiance||6||The subdued lighting, pleasant retro music and décor attempt to suggest a level of sophistication that the food cannot support|
|Table appearance||3||While the cutlery was clean, the table linen was disgustingly grubby with stains on the serviettes and table cloths (see photos). Side plates were unacceptably grubby and greasy.|
|Menu variety & flexibility||7||The menu contains an attractive variety of steakhouse offerings and on our first visit, our experience was pleasantly positive. The remaining four visits, however, reflected a notable degradation and a ‘don’t-care’ attitude.|
||The interior of the steakhouse appeared to be clean – but the linen and plates let them down disastrously.|
|Service||5||Service is inconsistent – see the write-up. On our first visit, the waitress was exemplary. However, on two subsequent visits, we had to interrupt the waiter’s chat with the rest of the staff in order to conclude our business.|
|Promptness||9||Ordered dishes were not delayed.|
|Food – presentation||8||The presentation of dishes is commensurate with the run-of-the-mill steakhouses – which is a bit of a let down considering the other attempts to raise the standard.|
|Ingredient quality||4||At R150, a fillet does NOT contain sinew or fat (both of which came with my meal today). The rest of the meals were average. The cakes and pastries (ordered on three occasions) were above average and, with the filter/bodem coffee are the two redeeming factors.|
||Over the last 5 visits, the taste has regressed from most pleasing to very average steakhouse fare, with the exception of the Fillet Habanero and the desserts (see above).|
|Delivered as advertised||4||Sadly no|
|Worth the spend||4||No. The prices are definitely above average (this visit averaged almost R200 per person), but the quality of the fare definitely does not match the pricing.|
|Worth going again||2||I might only visit Giorgiou again out of politeness to my host. I was embarrassed in front of our guest today and won’t be risking a repeat situation by returning.|
|Total Score||81||Out of 150 – a poor show. Three months ago on our first visit, you would have scored far higher. However, four subsequent visits have convinced me that Giorgiou Steakhouse is below average.|
Since our last visit, I have cast an eye at Giorgiou’s front door and observed the people drifting in and out. I conclude that there are definitely people eating there and doubtless some of them are enjoying their meal. However, I and my wallet are just glad we’re not among them.