14 December 2007

No Happy Returns Fenix

Fenix. Reservation Monday December 17, 2007. Confirmed.

Mr Capaldi,

As a long time fan of yours, my partner Mr Stickyfingers thoughtfully made a reservation in November to bring me to your restaurant to celebrate my birthday on December 17. Although your venue is not usually open on Mondays, he was reassured that it would be on that particular day and the booking was accepted.

Today a message was left on his phone from Fenix. The gentleman who rang said that the restaurant would now be closed and good luck in finding somewhere else to go. No reason was given, no apology, nor alternative time to come was offered. I feel gutted. My birthday is less than a week away and thanks to the usual Christmas festivities we will no doubt find it impossible at such short notice, to secure a booking at a venue of similar standing.

I am most disappointed in the very poor and discourteous front of house service and hope that in future this will be redressed. It sadly has left us with a bitter and unsavoury memory of your establishment.



I'm not one to swallow bad treatment anywhere. I'm not intimidated by dining venues and send back food in restaurants when it is inedible or not what I ordered. I give negative feedback with an iron fist in a velvet glove, apparently in the manner that my uncle hands down sentences.

I learnt to stand my ground from a pastry obsessed, 6'4" cross-dressing, French Canadian Jewish Vegetarian, Hong Kong Restauranteur, who lived on Kraft Macaroni Cheese having survived an education in
Poughkeepsie at Vassar New York. Before that I was timid.

My friend was the epitome of a consummate complainer. He showed no fear and eloquently conveyed the ultimate conviction of his rights.

Armed with ire, I fired off the above email and cc'd John Lethlean and Ed Charles. Neither Ray Capaldi nor staff have responded.
I am so disgruntled that it is unlikely that we will visit Fenix again.

After phoning alternative venues in the wake of my unhappiness, my beloved turned to Geoff Lindsay at
Pearl - a restaurant that has never failed us on service and has always brought great pleasure to our palates. We have been accommodated for
a late evening session on my birthday. Fingers crossed that we have no more dramas.

Have you ever had a row with a venue?

(Addendum: Fenix is no longer a restaurant having changed its focus to being a function venue)


Jackie Middleton said...

What a shame Sticky!
Hope you enjoy Pearl tomorrow and we look forward to a full report.
Happy Birthday as well :)

thanh7580 said...

Happy 21st Birthday Sticky.

That's pretty unprofessional service from such a classy restaurant. I wonder what happened to make they suddenly close on that day. They could have given you an explanation at least.

Lucy said...

Happy Birthday - hope Pearl is grand.

stickyfingers said...

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I had an excellent day.

Pearl was outstanding. The service was exemplary and one of dishes was the best I'd eaten all year.

Much of it was to do with a talented and efficient kitchen brigade and an inspired chef - who I don't believe was there last night.

Another thing that made it shine over other fine dining experiences was the superlative quality of the ingredients.

Mr Stickyfingers remarked that it's becoming difficult to choose from a restaurant menu these days, when so many of the hero ingredients are the same as what I cook at home. In this case the rabbit, barramundi, Shaw river cheeses, the lamb, the Persian fetta etc, etc. He was not disappointed however with his selection.

Ed Charles said...

It is difficult to choose nowadays which is why i prefer to put myself in the hands of the chef for what's his/her best on the day. if only I could persuade friends on the joys of degu...

Anonymous said...

Dear stickyfingers

What can i say ..it is applalling that you where cancelled at last minute ...the problem on that night was that the air coinditioning had to be fixed and as we are usaully closed the only night we could have done this was on that Monday ..the complaints where getting to much about the heat ....The phone call that you received should have not been in those words and knowing the person that was to ring the customers this would not been the way he would have addressed it..and believe me i didn't want to close we managed to fit most of the people in other days..in which we had to give them diffrent prices ...i am so sorry that this happened to you ..in my business my customers are very special and the people who appreciate our cusine and what we stand for are very important to me ...Also if you had called me at Fenix beleive me it would have been dealt with... I had no knowledge of your complaint ..please feel free to contact me at fenix and explain to the sales what it was about and leave a e mail so i can get in touch and sort this mess out

We put a lot into this business it's not how we treat customers
again please contact me at Fenix
have a happy xmas and a great new year and we will make sure you have the best meal in 2008 or please use my e mail

Ray Capaldi on behalf of all the staff at Fenix