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Archive for July, 2013

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I want dining at The Corner Store in Mentone to be a good experience. Seriously I do. Why? Because this is the third restaurant (and I repeat, restaurant) that has been created by the same team in our local area. The other two are fine, and it is great to see people trying to deliver quality in what is largely a culinary wasteland.

The first couple of times we ate at The Corner Store, the service was terrible and the food average for the price. We gave them the benefit of the doubt the first time, not long after it opened, but it’s been harder to find excuses subsequently.

So when my partner told me we were going there for a birthday celebration, my eyebrows were raised. They were raised further when we walked in the door and noted the sign that advised of live music on Saturday nights, particularly as it still appears to be a restaurant, not a pub, wine bar or nightclub.

So, the verdict on the food? Better, but still not outstanding. My wife would have liked the chicken special, but was told it was unavailable after the order had gone to the kitchen. Her second choice, the lamb pie, was OK though quite salty. That description applies for my pork belly as well, although I acknowledge that pork is a salty meat. The Parmageddon certainly didn’t warrant the name. And it was impossible to easily communicate with the others on the quality of their meals – more on that later. One would struggle to describe it as good value for the price.

The service was better. We were attended to promptly and the meals arrived in a timely manner. Having determined we were celebrating a birthday, complimentary champagne arrived for the birthday folks. A somewhat self-indulgent waiter with a disposition for regularly calling people “Buddy” got pretty hard to take pretty quickly.

The big problem was the music from a duet comprising a guy on guitar and a female vocalist. To put it quite simply, the music was ridiculously loud. At a table of six, communicating to the other end of the table involved shouting and leaning into the middle of the table. And this was, as I pointed out before, in a restaurant, not a pub, wine bar or nightclub.

We asked for the volume to be reduced, and it was for a while, with an accompanying smart arse comment from our waiter. He also tried to explain that this night’s act was louder than normal. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the volume to go back up, even louder than it was previously.

So was it just me, the grumpy old bastard, that had the issue? Apparently not. Everyone on our table, from young to (not so) old felt the same, and weren’t the least bit interested in staying for dessert and coffee. Also, in a restaurant that was probably 75% full, I counted eight people who applauded at the end of each song, suggesting it was an issue for others.

We’ve just come back from Europe – none of the restaurateurs there were compelled to use music to sell their food. They relied on its quality instead. It would be good if The Corner Store tried a similar approach.

The Corner Store on Urbanspoon

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