I’m so disappointed. My dinner at Spoonbill Restaurant was supposed to be a joyous occasion – it was to celebrate that I had passed my exam. So why am I so disappointed? No, it wasn’t the food or the lack of cutlery when our mains were served or the time waiting for the bill. In fact, when we were tucking into dessert I was thinking happily about this review and that I’d have another place to recommend to friends. Where did they go wrong? The bill. And their way of trying to rectify their error.
So in all honesty, I quite liked the food here. It’s been in the Entertainment Book for a few years and I’ve always been meaning to try them given their offer is a rather generous one – a complimentary main meal (more on this later).
So for five people, we decided to get five mains and we couldn’t resist the entree of mussels.
The mussels were lovely – tomato sauce with chorizo adding a nice flavour that went well with bread. I was a bit amused that a western restaurant actually decided to serve five mains to five people with the entree all at once.
The least favourite mains wise was the seafood of the day. This was crusted Gem fish served with risotto. The presentation left a bit to be desired or perhaps it was just because everything was a bit too green.
This was closely followed by the orecchiette which whilst al dente, didn’t quite have the flavour to stand up to the other dishes and seemed too plain.
The aylesbury duck was succulent and went well with the potato gratin. I always love duck breast. I wonder if other customers agree that a steak knife is more appropriate than the butter knife to tackle this dish.
For a place that isn’t a steakhouse, the porterhouse was pretty good! Served with three types of mustard, beans and fries. I’d go down the road for Steer Bar and Grill if I was hankering for steak though. That and again, they seemed to forget the steak knife.
The best of the mains was surprisingly the Otway Ranges Pork Scotch fillet which was served sandwiching jamon and manchego cheese.
See? I did enjoy the food. And the dessert was great too. The poached pear was fantastic (though as one person remarked on the table, pear isn’t exactly expensive, they could probably have served the other half for $16). Loved the ginger spice crumble and honey brittle.
The Red Velvet had us rather perplexed as the menu states it comes with cream cheese parfait. Parfait I often think of as trifles but it was actually a chocolate coated mound of cream cheese ice cream. Unfortunately it was a little too frozen and wasn’t quite the right serving temperature. It became the challenge of the table who would be able to split the mound without it going flying. Unfortunately a quarter of it did end up on the floor. The rest of the dish – the red velvet cake and the raspberry macaroon sorbet served with pomegranate was beautiful. Sour sorbet really goes well with chocolate cake and the little bits of macaroons were a lovely contrast to the pomegranate seeds.
So why won’t I go back to Spoonbill Restaurant? Well. It’s the first time that I’ve ever had such a problem with the bill. And what gets me is that they knew they were in the wrong too. They just didn’t rectify it.
Spoonbill offers a complimentary main course with the Entertainment Book Gold Card. They accidentally took off the mussels as a “main” despite it clearly being an entree. When I questioned staff about this, they did admit it was wrong. Unfortunately, their solutions to the matter weren’t quite up to scratch. Instead of refunding the difference, they offered all sorts of other things such as free coffee (sorry not a coffee drinker at 9pm) and another complimentary meal with the gold card (not surprisingly I’m not that keen to come back for round two). In the end, I’m not sure what the restaurant had to gain from not trying harder to correct their own mistake.
It was a good experience until the very end. Unfortunately, like dessert, these teething matters do leave a lasting impression. It’s a shame that’s how I’ll remember my experience at Spoonbill Restaurant.
20 April 2014: Just an update – I was contacted by Aaron, the restaurant manager, who was lovely and processed a refund for the amount owed. He said there was a glitch in the system that they have managed to correct to allow staff to process refunds easier.