I did say no more buffets, did I not?
Well, sometimes, you have to read the room and this case, with Ramadan over and a number of orphans left around for the long weekend (12 of us, all in), I had to turn down the call of a nice, sit down ala carte Italian meal and go for a decent buffet. Nineteen/The Address Montgomerie wasn’t particularly on my radar, but it was offering the all important for a buy one/get one coupon in the Entertainer (which was the cause of some issue later, but let’s first focus on the meal and venue, shall we?).
Everyone was promptly ready to start at 12:30, and the standard fare (appetizers, cheese, salad, deserts, various and sundry ‘British’ type main dishes, and a seafood station) were in place. Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a buffet. In a large group, people can choose to eat whatever they prefer. If they want nothing but cheese, so be it. If they want all seafood and gummy candy, that’s fine too. While there was nothing wrong with this brunch, I think it was so spectacularly average was what left me wanting more. Still…
Did I have a great catch up with old friends? Yes.
Did I make a new friend? Yes.
Did Nineteen provide the venue for these things to happen? Yes.
Was I there for the food? No. I had my usual standard for buffets like these — salad, bread and cheese, some sushi, pork (always nice to have) and a dessert of some kind.
Would I go back? Keep reading.
Believe it or not, we had two first timers to brunch in attendance. They had a good time, but I feel bad knowing there are other brunches that could have provided a better environment (and food selection). As points of suggestion to the team at Nineteen, I would invest in a better sound system or any sort of music to help create a more exciting atmosphere. Short of overhauling the entire thing and creating a more intimate ala carte experience, until the weather changes and the outdoor terrace is available, I think it’s going to be an uphill challenge.
I did tell you there was more to the story, right?
So, everything was delightfully average until the end of the meal, when the check came. I dutifully got out my Entertainer app, ready to plug in my PIN code for our ‘buy one, get one’ voucher. It was then we were informed the voucher was not eligible. I had specifically clarified this point at the time of booking (with the reservation made on Monday). So, it was with some shock that this was the case. After some unnecessary back and forth, made more obvious because we were the only table left in the restaurant, I was finally able to ensure the coupons were accepted. It was a disappointing and frustrating end to the meal. Personally, I am a huge proponent of those brunches where the bill is taken care of at the start. I think it’s better for everyone involved — the diner is usually more coherent and it’s less distracting when you are inevitably trying to get everyone out the door. While the manager tried to argue that the vouchers were not available as it was a holiday (as per the terms and conditions), I pointed out the first day of Shawwal (and thus the actual holiday) had started on Wednesday. In a survey the following day, I reiterated all of this and was happy when the team called to follow up. Of course, rather than perhaps offer another visit, they only asked if I was planning to come back anytime soon, I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Update: Reader (and general awesome person Liloneoftheashes has written up a fantastic post about how to avoid a situation like above. Please read on her blog here.)
Should you want to go to this brunch (and I would encourage you to do a modicum of research and find a better option, especially given the price points below), here are the details: