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Jamaica me unhappy

Ilze Dreyer realises that trying to find a decent place to eat in Cape Town without a booking is impossible.

by: Ilze Dreyer | 02 Apr 2008

A month ago I probably had the worst luck with restaurants. In fact, I think I was secretly part of some Monty Python sketch.

It started very innocently with six friends planning to eat out after a fabulous day on the beach. The patron saint of restaurants, St Tip must have laughed his head off at our stupidity.

Our first stop was Jamaican Me Crazy, in the up and coming restaurant area in Roodebloem Road, Woodstock. It's a large restaurant and fairly new, so we thought that finding a spot wouldn't be a problem. Alas, it was booked out for a private function. Next, we walked down the road to Chandani which has been getting rave reviews. However the restaurant was so packed you couldn't even squeeze a chapatti in there.

What to do?
We all jumped in our cars like it was the Amazing Race and sped off to Sea Point Main road. There are tons of restaurants, so we'll find something. Yeah right! I got a call five minutes later from Frank (who screeched off first) saying that we could get a spot at Posticino for six people but not seven.

"When did we become seven," I asked flabbergasted.

Turned out that John, his flatmate, invited his 'potential' girlfriend so we were seven now. Of course I thought we could squeeze in but when I get to Posticino the whole crew was standing at the gate (sans the seventh person). Apparently John opened his enormous trap and told the waitress seven, so we lost the spot.

Then we tried La Perla that was packed to its pretentious hilt and I refused to set foot in either Bravo or La Vie because of their shocking service. This limited our options, so we ended up at The Cedar, a Lebanese restaurant just down the road.

By then I didn't care where we ate, so I turned a blind eye to the dodgy entrance, the Christmas from the 'Summer of 69' decorations and general ambience of rustic gone wrong. I asked the person at the front if they had room for six, no seven, people. (I almost forgot the fictitious girlfriend)

"Yes, but for table of more than six you pay R150 a head," he said with a straight face.

Obviously I thought that this guy was either a joker or two knives short of a set. I mean nothing, nothing in the place screamed five-star establishment with haute cuisine.

So I went for the joker option and said, "You must be joking?"
"No, it's not a joke it's a rule," he answered quite smugly.

I turned to my SIX friends pulled up my shoulders in extreme frustration and said let's hit the road. Under no circumstances will I be bullied into paying R150 a head. What still puzzles me is that they would rather lose six (maybe seven) paying customers than amend this idiotic rule.

At 9:45pm we finally found a spot at Ocean Basket. None of us wanted to eat fish but by then we were ready to eat leftover prawn skins. With our luck we found a waiter who spoke English as a sixth language while John's 'girlfriend' didn't pitch because she doesn't do seafood! Grrr...

Do you agree is it lunacy charging people R150 a head without even showing them a menu? Post a comment below.


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