Do you remember when we celebrated our Engagement Party late last year at The George?
Although everyone had a fabulous evening, our night was tainted by some terribly rude attitudes and comments coming from the bar staff upon our departure from the venue. To make matters worse, they then refused to call us any taxis and left us standing outside the hotel well into the wee hours of the morning.
In the course of the following few weeks I tried via various methods to speak with one of the managers in order to retrieve my iPod that I left at the venue. After weeks of her avoiding my contact (including refusing to meet me as I stood outside the venue) it was too late and the iPod was nowhere to be found. I wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Venue Manager detailing all my grievances. I thought some of you may be interested in reading their reply…..
I was extremely disappointed to receive your email late last week. We do value all of the feedback receive both the positive and the occasional feedback that gives the venue something to improve on or fix.
I can appreciate that this has been a frustrating experience for yourself and I would like to thank you for allowing me the time to investigate and ensure that I could get to the bottom of the issues you raised. I have spoken to all the staff members and managers working that night and Katie prior to her leaving on annual leave. I went through your email with them high raised the various matters and got their view as to what happened.
The staff members that were working that evening were spoken to about the profanities that your guests believed were directed at them. They all claim that they did not say anything inappropriate towards your guests, however I have reiterated to all staff members and the management team how unprofessional and inappropriate that kind of behaviour is and that it will not be tolerated here at The George.
In regards to your guests being asked to vacate the venue, Liquor licencing laws state we have to have all patrons off the premises within 15 minutes of our closing time, we have no control or any flexibility with this. Both the managers on duty and the venue are liable for fines if this does not occur, hence why at 1230 your guests who were still on the premise, in breach of our liquor licence, were asked to leave the premises immediately.
I spoken to the manager who was on duty that evening and he reassured me that he did in fact call for taxis for yourself and for your party. However, I do know from past experience that calling for a taxi to the premises often takes significantly longer than both hailing one from the street or walking across the road to the taxi rank. Whilst I can appreciate that two people from your party were unable to make their way down to the taxi rank, I can say that taxis were indeed called. When speaking to the manager on duty, I brought to his attention the importance of tone and delivery and how it can affect the impression left of people and that he needs to be aware of this.
The London Room is open to both tenants of the building and their guests when not booked by The George, and is left unlocked and fully accessible from the foyer of the building. In the three weeks between your function and your email advising of the lost iPod, the room was open and many functions were held in it, functions that were not just booked by The George but also by building tenants who have full access to the room and its facilities, including the Audio Visual system located in the cupboard where the iPod was left. Therefor I cannot say if the iPod was still there when you sent you email three weeks after the function, as we were unaware of its presence.
I have spoke to Katie and she said that she did make several unsuccessful attempts to contact you by phone after your initial email before contacting you via email. I will have a meeting with her when she returns and talk about the length of time it took you to get a response from her and highlight the need to respond promptly to enquiries, especially when it relates to missing property.
I have brought up all of your feedback at our regular management meeting and we have introduced steps to ensure that, in future there are no repeats of your negative experience at The George.
I hope that you will give the venue the opportunity to live up to the high standards for both the food and service they we are know for. With that in mind I would like to offer you a $200 voucher for dinner at The George. If you could please provide me with a suitable postal address I will arrange for the voucher to be sent to you.
If you could contact me directly when you would like to redeem the voucher I can ensure that you have the proper George Experience.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Venue Manager” (name withheld)
Unbelievable. This is how the manager and his staff choose to resolve this issue: deny, deny deny. Since that night, nearly everyone of my friends have come up to me individually with their own story about something the staff said or did to them. But surely the more likely truthful story is that all 70 of my guests and I would make all these elaborate details up? How insulting. I am not perfect but I am in no way a liar!
And as for their offer of a dinner voucher? After making such a complaint the LAST thing I wanted to do was return to their restaurant to eat their food!!! Cripes. If they were quite happy to blatantly lie to their boss regarding the true events of the evening, I would hate to think was they might do to my food! Thanks but no thanks! Considering the very hefty bill we had at the end of the party an offer of some sort of partial refund would have been more appropriate. Especially when I emailed him to decline his voucher offer.
Since then, it has amused me to note the number of excessively positive reviews on Urbanspoon for both The George and their sister venue The Aviary. Most of these reviewers have never written anything else. With the collection of top-notch eateries opening up along the Terrace this year, I have a sneaking feeling that if The George don’t get their act together and actually start listening to their customers; they may be in for a nasty shock!
Read my original Post: The George and Our Engagement Party
Like Me on Facebook!The George 216 St Georges Terrace, London House, Perth 6000 | (08) 6161 6662 | www.thegeorgeperth.com.au/
With the current Australian dollar being high coupled with overinflated prices in Perth, we have noticed that it is actually quite a bit cheaper to go on overseas holiday to a nearby Asian country than it is to holiday in Western Australia. Consequently of late we have been neglecting our frequent visits “down south” and replacing them with visits to Bali and Thailand.
But despite this fact, nothing beats a quick local getaway for its ease and accessibility. It was our last day of our minibreak in Margaret River and reflecting back on our weekend we were both grateful for our location choice. We hadn’t spent an hour trying to cram everything into our two suitcases nor was our little holiday concluding in a mad dash to the airport to catch a plane. Yes, travelling locally still has its definite perks. The car was chinking loudly due to all my wine purchases and our car eskie was jammed full of gourmet goodies; I was trying my hardest to make the most of having no limit on my baggage allowance!
I had made a booking for us at Cullen Wines for one last final meal before we drove back to the city to return to work. Being Easter Sunday I was glad that I had planned ahead as the restaurant looked busy. Upon arrival there was a little mix up where I got a vague jist from the staff that maybe our booking wasn’t recorded in their book. After a brief hesitation we were shown to our seats which were indoors and away from the picturesque area on the deck overlooking the vineyards. It was a bit of a shame we weren’t out there in the glorious sunshine as I had made the booking weeks prior and would have loved to have had one of these prime positions. I guess it’s not like I requested to be seated outdoors so really who am I to complain?
The Cullen restaurant follows the same biodynamic philosophy of Cullens’ Winery using only fresh organic produce sourced from their own large kitchen garden and selected local producers. I knew this fact prior to our arrival and I wanted to see for myself if this reputation for amazingly fresh food was true. We grow a lot of our own vegetables at home and nothing beats them in flavour when compared to commercially grown produce. I wasn’t disappointed – my salad was literally beyond fresh and bursting with flavour. Brightly coloured beets, tomatoes and carrots joined with soft leaves from the garden topped with tangy dollops of goat’s cheese. Scattered throughout were tiny little buttons of chickpea cakes giving just enough substance to make this a meal. Such simple yet thoughtfully chosen ingredients made every mouth full a taste sensation.
The Boy ordered the crispy duck with mandarin pancakes. The duck was richly flavoured and the pancakes were soft and light. I couldn’t see any of the crispy part of the duck on his plate but he didn’t seem too bothered about this and enjoyed his meal.
My main dish was described on the menu as grilled salmon with braised octopus, quinoa, Swiss chard and verjuice beurre blanc. After my delightful introduction to quinoa at Xanadu the day before, I wanted to compare and contrast this new discovery with another chef’s interpretation. I was initially told on ordering that this dish would be suitable for me but unfortunately the waiter soon returned to let me know that much of this dishes accompaniment contained onions. This didn’t seem to worry the chef as he offered to make an alternate option especially for me. As a replacement I was served some creamy mash, steamed snow peas and my large serve of salmon was topped with some citrus dressing that looks a little like Pemberton finger lime.
To my complete surprise as I started tucking into my meal, our waiter also brought out a large bowl of salad filled with massive chunks of avocado and a variety of those wonderful gems from the kitchen garden as a complementary extra because my dish had to be altered so much. How thoughtful and kind of the chef – thank you!
The boy’s main was a hearty man’s dish with a juicy sirloin beef steak, crunchy blue cheese soufflé, cauliflower cream and a red wine jus. His steak was cooked rare to his liking and was a quality cut of meat.
This was my first day of really feeling like I had recovered from my stomach bug so I had happily chugged down a far bit of Cullen’s lovely peachy Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon blanc Semillon. This meant we both ordered dessert without me remembering to take a photo of the menu to remind me of the details! My gluten free dessert was described as a brownie of sort with berry ice-cream. But let me tell you, this was no mere brownie. The top layer consisted of a decadent mousse flavoured with a hint of hazelnut praline goodness. The bottom half had more of a cake like texture and stopped the whole thing from being too overwhelmingly rich.
The Boy’s choice was the pecan pie, an unusual selection for him probably facilitated by the fact it came with ice cream. Obviously I didn’t get to share any of his as it was in no way gluten free so I cannot give you much of a description other than it was good enough for him to finish in entirety.
We really had a fabulous time during our stay down in Margaret River this Easter. Both Xanadu and Cullen were stand outs to us with both their customer service and food quality. Cullen’s exceedingly fresh produce is something worth going back for again and again and I look forward to returning.
Like Me on Facebook!Cullen Wines Lot 4323 Caves Rd, Margaret River, 6284 | (08) 9755 5656 | http://www.cullenwines.com.au/our-restaurant Price: $$$$ (Entrée $19-21, Mains $33-39) Food: 4.7/5 (fresh, succulent – nothing beats garden fresh) Service: 4.7/5 (slight hiccup at the beginning but handled very discreetly) Ambience: 3.2/5 (would get a much higher score if we sat outside in the sunshine) Drinks: 4/5 (only serve Cullen wines – not that that’s a bad thing!) Total: 16.6/20
I am not originally from Perth having moved here nearly twenty years ago to commence my university degree. During my time at Uni I always imagined I would move back to the East coast. After completing my degree and obtaining a year’s experience in the work force, the Boy and I moved to London for a few years where we played it hard and fast in the big smoke. Returning to Perth a few years later, I found myself really appreciating this beautiful city for what it is and realised that in fact she had become my home. It was at this point my loyalties turned and I became a faithful lover of this sunny city.
There are some things about Perth that never stop giving me the wow factor and one of those is our regular running/walking route around the Swan River. Having the river on our doorstep makes exercising easy and the distractions of the scenery make the actual process much less onerous. To make it even better, dotted along this circuit is a number of excellent breakfast venues serving piping hot coffee and delicious food.
Toast in East Perth is a long-standing favourite of mine – we have been coming here on a regular basis for well over 4-5 years. It is conveniently located on my route around the river at the picturesque Claisebrook Cove. The sheltered location makes the most of the rising sun and protects the outdoor seating area from any wind meaning that nearly year round (excluding rainy days) the weather feels perfect.
The Boy and I had planned to do a big 17 kilometre walk together around both loops of the river but unfortunately the boy woke up feeling unwell and thought it wise to rest. Seeing as I would be making the journey alone, I thought I would embrace this opportunity and race myself from home through South Perth, running around the river to meet him over in East Perth for a late brunch. Thankfully Toast serves an all-day breakfast menu.
Not wanting to leave my fiancé waiting at the café for me feeling poorly, I took off at a steady pace with the aim to pick up speed even more once I hit half way. As I crossed the imaginary half way mark my legs still felt like loaded springs so surging forward I raced my virtual partner to the finish.
As a result of my mock running race, I arrived in East Perth all red-faced and heaving with about fifteen minutes to spare. This gave me time to compose myself before wandering down to Toast to meet the Boy. There are a lot of gluten-free options here; one is really spoilt for choice.
This time round I ordered the roasted tomato, feta and basil on gluten-free toast with added poached eggs and mushrooms. I have eaten this dish many times and am always chuffed with the knowledge my eggs will be cooked perfectly and each meal is consistent in quality with the previous. Their gluten-free bread has a beautiful rich pumpkin colour and is excellent in both texture and taste.
The Boy ordered the avocado and Vegemite on whole grain bread with added poached eggs. The Vegemite was warmed slightly allowing it to be easily spread over the crunchy grainy bread. The avocado was soft and creamy and his eggs were similarly poached to perfection. As we sat in comfortable silence in the sun soaking up its energy we were both so thankful we chose to settle down in Perth. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Two weeks later the Boy was fully recovered so we made plans to do our big double loop walk together. The weather forecast had threatened morning showers yet as we set out the sky was clear blue and a fresh autumn breeze was blowing. We were rewarded once again with another stunning morning.
We both maintained a cracking pace as we had plans to meet with his family in King’s Park for a Mother’s Day picnic later that afternoon. Despite Toast being even busier than usual we were seated fairly quickly and had a short wait for our meals considering they really were flat out.
It is a very rare occasion that I can be convinced to forego Toast’s poached eggs. If they aren’t included with my menu choice, I have a tendency to add it on the side so I don’t miss out. This time round however I was craving something sweet and as I gazed over their menu my eyes kept returning to the French toast. Their gluten-free bread held together fabulously and the delicately creamy ricotta with the tart berries had me in seventh heaven. I would have preferred just a dash more maple syrup to end on a stronger sweet note.
The Boy had one of his favourites, the big breakfast. This is definitely not one for the faint hearted, or those with heart disease more to the point. A massive pile of crispy bacon, three chipolatas, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and toast made this a very decent sized meal. Once the Boy finished, he patted his stomach in a satisfied manner and groaned at the thought we still had to walk home. Unfortunately we had no time to linger in the morning sun and so we pressed onward with our journey back. Understandably our pace on this second leg was much slowed down due to our overindulgence but I guarantee we will do it again and again!
Like Me on Facebook!Toast Shop 21/60 Royal Street, East Perth 6004 | (08) 9221 0771 | www.toasteastperth.com Price: $$ ($8-20 breakfast/brunch, gluten-free options available) Food: 4.5/5 (seriously good breakfasts) Service: 3.5/5 (relaxed, efficient & casual) Ambience: 4.5/5 (blissful view gazing out onto the water) Drinks: 4.5/5 (serves high quality Rubra coffee, freshly squeezed juices worth a try too) Total: 17/20
In recent years Maylands has become a definite stand out location to visit if you want a decent breakfast. There are so many options to choose from including Piccos Kitchen, Mrs S, Milkd, Sherbet Bake Shop and as I recently discovered; Chapels on Whatley.
The café is actually contained inside a shop selling a variety of imported Asian antique furniture, art and bits and pieces for around your home that they source from a number of countries including Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, China and Vietnam. They have a wide range of over sixty different types of beautiful loose teas to purchase and you can book a tea tasting to try them all if you wish.
The café is located toward the back of the store and opens out onto a quaint and relaxing little courtyard. Sounds of the neighbours pet bird’s song echo gently giving a wonderful sense of serenity and peace. My dear friend and colleague Chris had the luxury of a few days break from her second job of being super mum to her two adorable children. Her daughter was having a couple of days sleepover at her Nanna’s and so she only had her youngest little baby boy to watch. This made the prospects of outing much easier and relaxing for the both of us. She loves the Maylands area and visits it more regularly than I do so convincing her to meet at Chapels was easy work.
I rose quite early that morning and felt buzzing with energy so I burst out the front door for a quick pre-breakfast run. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful city and no matter how many times I run along the foreshore I always revel in its beauty. Normally upon my return from a morning run I am literally starving and will immediately commence devouring breakfast of some form; ideally something that includes eggs and strong coffee. However in order to meet Chris on time I had to jump straight in the shower, dress and into my car to head off to Maylands with an empty stomach. As I was waiting for Chris to arrive, I was so hungry it felt like my stomach had started to digest itself in protest. Thankfully she arrived shortly after with her gorgeous little boy in tow and as we waited for our orders to arrive she opened up a little container of puffed corn for him to nibble on. Figuring his food was fair game, I helped the little guy work his way through his breakfast snack as he looked back at me with a slightly astonished and bemused expression.
Our meals were super quick to come out of the kitchen and I had to conscientiously stop myself from greedily eating it in two seconds flat. My eggs were poached just a few seconds beyond perfection maintaining most of their gooey centres which burst out like lava over my salmon and toast. The gluten-free bread didn’t have that crumbly cake texture I loathe in some but was fairly standard in taste.
Chris also ordered the smoked salmon but had her’s with scrambled eggs and on rye toast. Her eggs were airy and fluffy and although her little boy had already had his breakfast, he was totally fine with the idea of helping her finish her large serve. Very cute.
One of the many things I love about eating out with Chris is her healthy appetite, especially when it comes to breakfast. A lot of people cannot handle a large amount of food first thing in the morning. Neither Chris nor I are one of these people. She was the person who introduced to me the concept of a “second breakfast”, an idea that has great merit to someone like me who is often a very early riser. In addition to this we are also big fans of a two-course breakfast.
The dessert menu left me spoilt for choice with a multitude of gluten-free options. We ordered the mixed berry tea cake and a couple of green tea macarons. The cake was fluffy and light with a great tang of tart berries and a dollop of decadent thick cream. The macarons were a little disappointing. They lacked a crisp outer shell and were mostly a chewy consistency. Texture really is key to macaron success. The green tea flavour was too subtle for me and it was also a little too sugary.
Chapels on Whatley are another gluten-free friendly breakfast venue to add to your bucket list in Perth, especially if you love a good cup of tea. Their menu is small but varied and I am interested to return and try their lunch menu.
Like Me on Facebook!Chapels on Whatley 196 Whatley Crescent, Maylands, 6051 | (08) 9272 7738 | www.chapelsonwhatley.com.au Price: $$ ($8-25 breakfast/brunch, gluten-free options available) Food: 2.5/5 (fluffy scrambled eggs but poor quality macaron) Service: 3.5/5 (very prompt service, friendly) Ambience: 4/5 (love the courtyard with accompanying birdies) Drinks: 4/5 (would return just for the tea) Total: 14/20
I have to be the worst person in the world at keeping secrets. I don’t know how the Boy does it but consistently for some years now he manages to crack the puzzle on what his Christmas gift is from me. It frustrates the hell out of me! So this year I thought I’d go way outside the box from the usual gift giving we normally do and instead I decided I would get him a holiday …. and I would come along of course!
Now obviously the first place that came to my mind was Thailand as our love affair with this country continues and I really wanted to organise a trip to Bangkok with a detour via Hua Hin for some beachside relaxation. But after some investigation with our travel agent, I soon realised that with a wedding to save for; going to Thailand during its peak season was realistically out of my budget! She suggested we go somewhere a little closer to home such as Bali. Being only three and half hours flight from Perth it seemed like the perfect place to get in a quick amount of much needed R&R.
For nearly half the price of a trip to Thailand she arranged a five night holiday to Bali including flights staying at Villa Air Bali in Seminyak. I laminated some brochures of the villas and pictures of Bali and wrapped it all up in a big gift box with the Flight Centre travel documents. To my exquisite delight the Boy had absolutely NO IDEA what it was until he opened it! Finally success at keeping a secret!
The flight was over before we knew it and we were collected by our pre-organised transfer. We travelled for nearly two hours from the airport bouncing along on potholed streets in the bucketing rain while our transfer tried to sell us guided tours. It was much to our relief when we pulled into the lobby area and were warmly greeted by our hotel receptionist. The lobby was open plan with a large moat pond surrounding it with some beautiful Koi and a symphony of frogs. The locations of the villas are slightly out of the main area of Seminyak so it was generally a taxi ride to get to the restaurants and beach clubs.
We were taken to our villa where our porter showed us every infinite detail of the villa right down to opening the kitchen drawers and showing us the forks and knives. The kitchen had only basic utensils and enough glasses and plates for two people. Although there was a stove top, there weren’t really enough kitchen bits and bobs to make much more than a stir fry. Not that I planned on doing ANY cooking mind you.
The villa was clean and free of any mouldy odours so common to some middle range accommodation during the wet season in the tropics. The only downside of the villa design was that during rainy downpours, water would flood across into the living area and onto much of the tiles. Both of us nearly stacked it a number of times as the floor became very slippery. The pool was so refreshing and inviting; it was invigorating to stumble out of bed each morning and plunge into the pool.
The bedroom was icily air-conditioned much to the Boy’s delight and the bathroom was enormous. In fact it was bigger than the bedroom. There was a large selection of amenities and in addition to the usual suspects there was some insect repellent and some fragrant bath salts.
Despite the brochure for the villa mentioning it has free WIFI, it took us a couple of days before they could actually get it to work properly. The connection was very poor as reception informed us that the internet in Bali is not very fast. The villa comes with a free stocked minibar but this was a little deceiving as it only contained only a couple of beers and some soft drink. I guess I can’t really complain if it’s free!
Breakfast can be served in villa or the restaurant with six options available: American, Healthy, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese. We decided on arrival we would try and have a different kind each morning for a bit of fun.
The first (and worst) breakfast we had was The American. It was bland and very simple but I suppose it was acceptable enough. The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy albeit a little tepid. The black rice bread was gluten free and had a distinct nutty flavour which I really enjoyed. The yogurt was watery and fairly inedible.
The Chinese breakfast consisted of some congee (rice porridge) with a myriad of accompaniments not all of which I recognised and could identify. It was served with some mantou (steamed buns). I carefully selected a number of the accompaniments and placed a sprinkling of them into my congee.
The Boy on the other hand piled all of his on top of his congee and mixed it all through. The end result looked at little scary and was not very pleasant apparently! I quite enjoyed mine but I was a lot more conservative with what I put in it.
The Indo breakfast option gave an option of either Nasi goreng (fried rice with shrimp, chicken and vegetables) or Mie goreng (fried noodles with egg, chicken and vegetables). I ordered the rice and the Boy ordered the noodles. My nasi goreng was fairly run of the mill and was nothing I couldn’t have recreated better at home. Unfortunately I spotted some onion contained in this one and ended up spending a fair amount of time having to sift carefully to pick the pieces out which was annoying. As with our American breakfast, our meals were served a little on the cold side.
The Japanese breakfast was by far and by large my favourite – I actually ordered this one twice I loved it so much! It came with some bean paste soup (miso), steamed rice, a couple of pieces of marinated grilled fish and some steamed white and orange sweet potato. There were also some green beans in peanut sauce. On the side was some dessert containing sweet jelly, red beans and fruit which made a refreshing end to the filling meal. I did make the mistake of tasting the side dish of natto. What the hell!! I always thought I was good with eating weird tasting things but this stuff is definitely an acquired taste – we both thought it was pretty gross. Is there a better way to eat this stuff?
Overall if we return to Seminyak we will probably stay somewhere more centrally located, but if you don’t mind being a little off the beaten track Air Bali was good value, peaceful and clean.
Like Me on Facebook!Villa Air Bali, Seminyak | (+62) 361 737378 | www.villa-airbali.com Price: $$ Package deal with Flight Centre: $1014 per person for return flights with Virgin Blue from Perth, airport transfers, 5 nights accommodation in a pool villa with breakfast included, two massages in villa, free minibar Food: 2/5 (in villa breakfasts should be served promptly after making to avoid being cold) Service: 3.5/5 (reception went out of their way to notify restaurants in advance of my allergies) Ambience: 4/5 (relaxing, clean and modern style villas) Drinks: 2/5 (minibar was scant and was refilled only intermittently) Total: 11.5/20