In 2010 I had planned a 60th Birthday celebration at Al Firenze for a bunch of my nearest and dearest because it was then my favourite restaurant. It didn’t happen due to Tony’s ineptitude in facilitating the whole thing. So we added to the coffers of the Tin Roof then just outside Ballito where Althea went out of her way to make it a resounding success for the 30 of us!
We did drop in for a brief lunch some time back and apart from the rigid service the pasta was still great.
So it was that I thought ‘let bygones be bygones’ and I again booked for 9 of us to celebrate my 64th over a languid lunch!
The venue has taken on some great cosmetic changes and was fairly busy.
Having cracked a couple of bottles of Moet [which I brought along] to celebrate we were off to a good start.
I managed to get around ½ a dozen huge KZN fresh oysters – superb! The others loved their Roasted Brinjal starters and seemed happy with their selection of mains. [Rump, Saddleof Lamb, Calamari etc......]
That is when we hit rock bottom, Rita and I ordered one of Mirko’s [ex owner] signature dishes, Quaglia Arrosto – quail stuffed with olives, herbs, coppa ham and roasted in the wood fire oven. When Tony passed our table and asked how it was, we hadn’t got to the stuffing. My retort at that stage was ‘bland’ and with that off he went never to come our way again. My take has always been – don’t cut corners! Rather increase the price if you need to, but replacing the advertised stuffing with savoury rice is a BIG no-no! The poor birds were very bland, swimming in oil and with not a hint of lemon as in Mirko’s days – URGH!
Sorry Tony, if this is how you are going to misrepresent your dishes to your customers I would rather prepare the quail Mirko-style at home!
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