And the Lord said: “Let there be ranting about restaurants.” And then He created YT.
YOU. HAVE. BEEN. SERVED.
Out last night for dinner with some friends. The venue: Enrico’s [on main street Laugavegur]. Relatively upscale. Prices average for upscale Iceland [read: pricey. And incidentally, prices on their website are wrong. They’re actually even pricer than that]. Menu: fish and lamb dishes, some pasta.
Now, in her previous incarnation as a North American person, YT was on intimate terms with the waitressing profession. She therefore considers herself a bit of an expert on how Things Should Be Done. Unfortunately, the way Things Should Be Done is almost never the way Things Are Done here in Niceland. YT blames the fact that tipping is not customary. If those “service industry professionals” [hahahahahaha! snort] people had to grovel a bit more, the standard of service in Icelandic restaurants would undoubtedly shoot up like a quicksilver thermometer in a sick baby’s bum. But I digress.
We were six. And had to sit and wait too frigging long for our order to be taken. At long last the waitress came and three of us ordered “catch of the day”. Two of us ordered appetizers. EPI and I ordered a bottle of Rosemount Australian white. The others were drinking house white by the glass.
The waitress brings the bottle of white. Open.
Hear this: in an upscale restaurant you do not bring a bottle of wine open to the table. Especially where the markup’s more than frigging 300%. I mean, that sucker could have stood open in the fridge for days! Or old glasses of wine could have been poured back into it! [Believe me, I could Tell Some Stories from my restaurant days. Of posh upscale French Toronto restaurants. Oh yes.] Whatever! I don’t care – you open the bottle at the table. Anything else is just lame.
The appetizers arrived relatively soon. The empty appetizer plates were removed.
Then an hour passed.
Did you hear? An HOUR passed!
By this time we had consumed four baskets of French bread. And were both ravenous and pissed.
The waitress arrives. “There’s a bit of a problem,” she says, with this cutesy kind of ‘shit happens’ look on her face, “we’re out of the catch of the day. But we have a replacement dish available…?”
Did I mention that AN HOUR HAD PASSED??
YT: [irate] We ordered an hour ago!
WAITRESS. [embarrassed] Yes I know. But we have a replacement dish available.
YT: [the bitch] I don’t want your replacement dish. I want [insert name of dish] and I want it at the same price as the catch of the day.
WAITRESS: [scared of bitchy YT] Er, OK.
Waitress brought more wine. Complements of the house. Probably because Other Waitress overheard YT bitching about the inane service and YT’s Friend G. shaking her head and lamenting about how the poor service in Icelandic restaurants was an embarrassment to the entire Icelandic tourist industry. Waitress was deferential and meek. Waitress gained two points for effort. YT stifled impulse to say “WE DO NOT NEED MORE WINE WE WOULD PREFER DESSERT…” and simply smiled. Through gritted teeth.
At Long Last, waitress brought food. It was lukewarm and not all that tasty. We had been there for two hours. Plus the entire serving wasn’t even enough to fit into a cat’s nostril* even if it was pleasantly enough arranged on the plate, with the “catch” resting atop a patty of mashed potato that EPI swears was powdered mashed potato from a box.
… AND YOU’RE OUT!
The moral of the story is: When in Iceland, don’t do as YT did and eat at Enrico’s restaurant. [Or if you must, make sure you’re in excellent company, like YT and EPI were]. You’ll get food late, it will be cold, and it will set you back [with dessert and coffee] around ISK 12,000 for two [USD 203 / GBP 101].
Amazing! Spring is here! Currently 12°C and just a slight wind. Yipee! Daybreak was at 6.41and nightfall at 20.32.
*bizarre Icelandic phrase