What a blissful and sunny start to our day! Starting off with a delicious brunch at the Greenhouse with my family and the boy, the morning got even better when Dad gave me a generously sized suitcase filled to the brim with beautiful Robert Robert and Diavolina shoes. Most importantly, the suitcase contained some super-hot shoes for the party tonight! I headed home with my love to spend the afternoon preparing ourselves to look our very best for the big party. One of my bridesmaids, Amber was so kind to offer to go The George without me earlier in the afternoon so she could set up everything for the night. This meant all I would have to do would be to arrive on time! She is such an angel!
The afternoon flew by surprisingly quickly and before I knew it we only had a short time until things were due to kick off!! I slipped on my shimmering Alannah Hill dress matched with the cutest flower headband, kicked on my most awesome shoes from Dad and jumped in the cab hand in hand with the boy!
Upon our arrival my heart sunk for a brief second as I expected to walk into an ambient lit room and instead was nearly blinded by bright ugly fluoro lighting. I subsequently found that some of Amber’s instructions she had carefully given to the staff about setting up the lighting, heating and visual equipment had not been followed through. Consequently some further little instructions were given to the function staff and they slowly assisted us without an accompanying smile. Not that anything could take the wind out of our wings! Grabbing a quick round of pre-party G&T’s, we all felt our nerves settle ready to greet all the special people in our lives that would join us for our celebrations.
Amber is a very creative person – something my scientific brain is most definitely not – so when she suggested we have a lolly bar at the party I initially struggled to visualise what she actually meant. We had shopped all around town together in the weeks prior to the party buying a collection of gorgeous vintage vases and bowls that she filled to the brim with lots of colourful sweets. It looked fantastic! The boy wasted no time getting stuck into the assortment, tossing handfuls of lollies into his mouth for a strong pre-party sugar kick.
Before guests had even started to arrive, the waitresses started bringing out plate upon plate of turkish bread with dips to scatter around the tables. I rushed up to the waitresses and advised them stop them filling up two little cocktail tables with plates of food and to try and stagger them a bit with the arrival of our guests. The food provided was delicious – a part of me wishes I had stopped talking and mingling among everyone for two seconds to be able to snap some photos, but it didn’t even cross my mind until the following day! I guess us food bloggers should be allow a night off once in a while! The selected canapés including freshly shucked oysters, spring onion aranchini, lamb koftas, sun-dried tomato and asparagus tarts and a variety of sushi rolls. The special gluten-free options included five spiced duck pieces – amazingly succulent little cubes of meat marinated in a sweet chilli caramel sauce. I’m sure I must have greedily gobbled a number of those!
A major feature of the night was the amazing efforts of two of my guests (one of those being Amber) in joining forces together to bake enough cupcakes for seventy people with a third of the cupcakes gluten-free! They sparkled glamorously in the centre of the lolly bar and almost looked too good to eat! Being able to enjoy devouring cupcakes with everyone else at the end of the night was such a treat although the way I stuffed the butter cream frosting into my mouth may not have been so nice!
The highlight of the night to me and my sister was surprisingly not food related. My Mum and stepmum have not spoken words since over twenty years ago when Mum and Dad separated. We have all accepted this and our family events have always been planned separately to accommodate for this. So when I looked over and saw my Dad arm in arm with my dearest Mum on one side and his wife on the other my eyes started to burn hot. My sister came running over to me in amazement and we shared watching this special moment together before flicking away our tears of joy.
Toward the end of the night I wanted everyone to be able to have something more substantial than just the canapés so we arranged for some noodle boxes to come out with sticky pork with ginger, chilli and bok choy. The pork was so scrumptiously juicy and the sticky marinade had nearly caramelised but not burnt. This was the most popular food for the night and I’m sure I saw a few people go back for a second box!
As with all good parties, the night flew by at the speed of light and before I knew it we were standing under those hideous bright fluoros with the reality that it was over. All those weeks of preparation and anticipation for a night that felt like it only lasted one hour! I was extremely chuffed to see that our budgeted bar tab lasted for the whole night and no one had to dip into their pockets to pay for a drink.
After such a fabulous occasion, the events that followed on next totally took me by surprise. Bear in mind that the venue was nearly empty in the main bar for the whole night so our party of 70 people would have been the only real income for the night for The George. As we were all slowly drifting out of the function area and leaving through the main bar a couple of the bar staff got annoyed with us not leaving quickly enough for them. As they walked past the bar, a number of my guests clearly overheard the staff retorting insults and foul language directed at us presumably because they wanted to us to hurry up so they could go home. None of my guests were unpleasant or rude to any of the staff to call for this attack.
We all waited outside The George for what felt like hours all trying desperately to hail cabs. One of my friends had taken a bit of a stack on the pavement and had developed a very swollen ankle (she actually ended up in RPH early that following morning poor thing) so I wanted to get her home quickly. I was also mindful that my dearest mother was keen to get home as she is not accustomed to standing up in her high heels for hours on end anymore. I went back to the front door of the hotel and knocked to get someone’s attention. All the staff were still inside closing up everything for the night. I asked the bartender if he could kindly please arrange us some cabs for us as my friend was injured and many others were tired and ready to hit the sack. He refused and told me to walk down the street to the closest hotel the Hilton where apparently I could find many taxis. I explained to him my friend was injured and couldn’t walk, he then repeated that he wouldn’t call us cabs, and that was that! He closed the door in my face and locked the door!!
After spending thousands of dollars at their venue that night I was completely gobsmacked at such rudeness and appalling service. Despite the actual night being such a wonderful success, it was so disappointing to end on such a sour and unprofessional note.Price: $$$ (Entree $18-21, Mains $25-39) Food: 7.6/10 Service: 3/10 (for the rudeness!) Venue: 4/5 Total: 14.6/25 (58%)
Well, things have gone from bad to worse with the level of customer service that I have received from The George. We left my old iPod touch there on the night of the party and since then I had attempted to contact the functions manager by phone and email to let her know that I would be popping back to collect it on my day off. As I had received no reply, I figured that it’s not too complicated a request to fill so I went into town on my only day off to collect it.Upon arrival my bestie and I spoke to the bartender who explained to us in a curt manner that I needed to speak to her manager. She got her bar manager who happened to be very same person who had bad mouthed to my friends and refused to call us cabs on the night.
I started to explain to him that I had left my iPod behind and had tried to contact the functions manager but had received no reply from her. I purely just wanted to collect my iPod and that was it. He fobbed us off saying that the functions manager was in a meeting and that she couldn’t be disturbed. So I offered to go into the cupboard in the functions room myself to collect it upon which I was then told that she was having the meeting in there so this wasn’t possible. He said to us: “And that’s if you actually have left it here.” If?!?! He offered to call me in an hour when she would be finished her meeting but then uttered that she could be in there for hours so who knows how long she would really be.
My bestie and I popped down the road to the Sentinel for a drink (where the service by the way was very friendly – a total contrast). During this time we received no phone calls from The George. So after one hour we left and made our way back to The George. On my way I called through and asked to be put through to the functions manager, consequently I was put through straight away implying that her meeting was over. She then proceeded to tell me she had no time to walk to the cupboard where I left my iPod and retrieve it for me as she was far too busy! I explained that it was my only day off, I had come into the city specifically and I was 50 metres away! She repeated to me: “I have absolutely no time to search for it, I am very busy and that’s provided you have actually left it here anyway!” She said she would try and call me back by the end of business – it’s now been nearly a week and not a peep!
So it’s been a number of months since all this happened and I thought I better give you dear readers a final report on the outcome with The George…..click to read my Epilogue.The George 216 St Georges Terrace, London House, Perth 6000 | (08) 6161 6662 | www.thegeorgeperth.com.au/