Do you believe you’re getting what you pay for when you go out to eat at a restaurant? We’ve all had the experience where either yourself or the person you’re with complains about their meal, whether it be over the pricing or portion size. But are your complaints really valid? SheSociety spoke to The Golden Pig’s chef Katrina Ryan and Americo Fernandes from Margo Restaurant and Bar about restaurant food and what we should be expecting when it comes to fine dining.
“I think pricing in a restaurant reflects a lot more than the actual food on the plate and the time it has taken to make it. For example, does the restaurant have fantastic views (high rent!), are they using linen tablecloths and napkins (laundry costs), do they serve complimentary bread – is it or the butter homemade, is the glassware and crockery of high quality? All these things translate to a higher meal cost,” Katrina said.
For Katrina the difference between quality fine dining and mediocre dining is always the quality of ingredients and taste. “Personally I don’t like food that has been too deconstructed and is too prissy and fussy. Sometimes I would prefer the chefs to spend LESS time on plating the food! Mediocre establishments will try and cut costs by serving cheap ingredients. e.g nasty tasting olives and feta etc.”
Americo said that as diners, we need to stop looking at the size and start looking at the quality. “In terms of pricing, some customers underestimate the cost of luxury ingredients so in moments throughout my career customers have complained about dishes not having enough of X/Y ingredient for the price of the dish.”
In regards to getting their money’s worth Americo said that “the long and short of it, yes customers are getting their money’s worth. Ultimately, people should learn to appreciate the quality of ingredients rather than being consumed by the portion size. Learn to eat more mindfully and you will see how quickly it takes to be full.”
Americo said that he believes the difference between quality fine dining and mediocre dining is simply love and has noticed that customers are often surprised by how much they enjoy more adventurous dishes.
“Customers will often doubt unfamiliar flavour combinations and basically say, “No! That can’t work!” then they try it and they are so wonderfully astounded (most of the time…) haha.”
“Over the years, I have also noticed that some diners are very adaptable to an ever-changing gastronomic space whereas other customers like to stick to what they know. I am happy to meet those customers in the middle and tweak some of the old favourites…” Americo said.
The craziest complaint that Americo has heard? That a customer once commented that the beef tartar was a bit too rare.