Begging for our food

I have two rants on bad service, one is the Anfu Lu branch of Enoteca.  Here’s the review I posted at Smart Shanghai:

This place has great wine and great food, but the service I got at Anfu Lu tonight was not.

(We’ve been to the Taicang lu location several times, always great service.)

The tiny room was staffed by a bunch of people (four or five at least) who couldn’t manage to bring us our food.  We started to speak up when the people next to us, who had come in 20 minutes after us were served their food first.  We stopped several servers over the next 10 minutes, all of whom seemed to just continue on their way.  My food finally came, but my friend’s croque monsieur didn’t come, seriously, until after the sun had set.

In the end they charged us the full 274 kuai for an appetizer, salad, soup, and the super late croque monsieur.

Needless to say that we’re never going back to the Anfu lu branch.

It seemed to me that they never gave the cook our order until we started flagging them down and begging for our food.

Seattle is such a great town for service, so maybe I’m spoiled, but I feel like one Seattle waiter could have handled the little dining room at Enoteca tonight.  The staff seemed like they were sprinting to cover everything, and they were covering everything, except for bringing our food.  My friend asked for some olive oil at least three different times.  It was pathetic.

We had bad service for lunch the other day as well, at the Sichuan restaurant across the street from our office.  There were seven of us, we ordered lunch for eight off the set menu.  Four courses came, and then much later the fifth dish a little later… still no rice…  so we started asking them to bring rice.

Rice. In. Shanghai. China.

Several people asked the waitresses for rice before I threw a mini tantrum.  I hate yelling at waitresses, even just to get their attention, but they don’t come unless you holler for them, and if you don’t throw a tantrum, they think it’s not important.  So when she poked her head around the corner, I yelled “we still don’t have rice over here!  Is this not China?”

She came later to APOLOGIZE to D (I don’t want an apology, I want RICE) and said that they were having trouble with the computers. Is it a rice computer?

Five of us had to go back to work for a 1:30 meeting, so they all got up and left.  Then our soup came.  D scolded them in Chinese for bad service, which I was very grateful for; grateful that someone was expressing my displeasure.

The bill came, and the manager came to apologize and negotiate a discount.  They brought us a bill, which D examined and scolded them for.  Apparently they were going to try to charge us for tea service, which must also have been a problem with the rice computer because they never came to refill our tea. L said “what tea?” as he shook his empty cup, and I said, “No, we are not paying for tea service.”

The manager said, “ok, you don’t have to pay for tea service,” (as if I had be asking her instead of telling her), D paid her half of what the bill was supposed to be, and we walked out.

Aggravation is definitely part of the dining experience here in Shanghai.

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