My second mistake of the evening was hunting for a building that resembled a restaurant. It was as prepossessing as a funeral parlour. The Maitre D should have dressed the part.
Our waiter had a rictus of a smile; no doubt borne of evenings hiding in the kitchen to avoid the avalanche of complaints and airborne cutlery. My request for water was ill timed. It seemed that the water boy had lost the map to the restaurant’s artesian well. After 15 minutes we were going to send the tracker dogs to see if he’d fallen in. The water appeared as if by magic. The restauarant obviously does not have many literate customers. We were afforded 32 minutes to read the menu, again…and again….and for good measure again. Let it never be said that the waiters at Assaggi are pushy to resell your table.. With a fanfare our starter arrived. The starter was a pasta with wild boar which was delicious and the highlight of the night - all that was missing was a Magnifying Glass to find the food on the middle of the plate.
Had I known what was to follow I’d have run screaming from the restaurant. The light at the end of our culinary tunnel was in fact the Bad Service Express. It had not yet arrived at our table. There were clearly problems in the kitchen. Some 30 minutes after the pasta starter our waiter sidled up the table and dumped some Intermission ‘ Hors D’oeuvres ’ on the table with an apologetic shrug of the shoulders and shot way before I could stab him with my fork or interrogate him.
So, dear reader, 63 minutes after inhaling our starter, the main courses arrived. Not so much with a bang as a whimper. Putting past disasters behind us we picked up our utensils with gusto. My fillet mignon was cooked correctly and had deep earthy truffle flavours, not exquisite but good. My partners dish however was a disaster. It said Entrecote on the menu. Not only didn’t it seem like entrecote but the chef couldn’t even be bothered to cook it properly - it was partly raw. This meat also had sinew, literally chunks of meat impossible to even chew. Perhaps it was from an animal with which I am not familiar. She said the potato was tasty though.
Our waiter at this point was looking worried. He had seen his tip disappear; he was now worried just how sharp the tines on the steak fork really were. The Bad Service Express was had now arrived at our table. It is my experience that only sleazy badly managed restaurants always offer some cheap over-sweet tacky complimentary drink at the end of the meal after they’ve screwed over their customers. As if this balm of a free drink makes it ALL OK. It doesn’t, It didn’t, it never will.
The chef visited our table to apologise. Much wringing of hands and crocodile tears. He blamed it all on another table who’s order had got ‘lost’. The chef seemed very hard of hearing when I suggested that he should waive all food charges.
I am now out 100 Euros. If this had been New York or London I’d have called the police from the table to report a theft in progress. This restaurant is a disgrace and reflects very badly of Malta. It needs new owners who care.
My first mistake was of course to book the table, after 5 years living in Malta, this restaurant was without doubt our worst dining experience.
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