I am not paid to do resto reviews. All the opinions are mine. Sorry for the photos – I used my camera phone.
It started out simple enough: after watching The Avengers (thumbs up, btw!), my friends and I were hungry. We were in town, so there was bound to be a place that wasn’t a fast food joint that could satisfy our boiling hunger. But after throwing around a few ideas here and there, we settled for a place that wasn’t within walking distance because we wanted to try it out in earnest. And Cafe Avenue it was.
I’ve been there two times before, but it was only today that we actually sat down and ordered something. The place seemed decent enough: spacious, air-conditioned and actually pretty inviting. The menu wasn’t extraordinary: sandwiches, frappés, warm and iced coffee. I settled for the spicy beef sandwich with a vanilla frappé. My friends ordered a clubhouse sandwich and a buco pie, with their respective frappés.
The first sign of impending doom came with the frappés. My two friends ordered different frappés (mocha and chocolate), but in all honesty, the two glasses looked the same. My friend asked which was which, and the server cut her off, and said (in Tagalog, in a know-it-all tone) “I was about to explain that one glass has a lighter colored frappé than the other”. It seemed harmless enough, but when he left I did mention that the way he said it was an inappropriate way to answer a customer. We shrugged it off.
We now come to the food. The second sign of impending doom. The spicy beef sandwich looked appetizing – I would assume the minced beef was on a bed of toasted ciabatta, with a mayo and ketchup sauce. At that point I was already hungry. My first bite was a surprise: Nice crusty bread…but the beef was weird. I kept on wondering about the beef. Yeah, it was spicy, but the taste reminded me of something that I couldn’t even consider to be associated with the flavor of beef in the first place. When my friend tasted it, she was more expressive: she made a face and said, “bagoong” (shrimp paste). The beef tasted like bagoong, which meant it was “salty” and “fishy”. Was it expired? I don’t think so. They just probably (with a passion) bathed and pounded it in salt.
My friend’s clubhouse sandwich wasn’t impressive either. The takeaway was the mayo – it was incredibly sweet, which made us realize that they don’t use good mayonnaise.
Now, why all the fuss talking about food that made us unhappy? It’s actually pretty simple. The price ranges from around 60 – 75 pesos. That makes a pretty expensive sandwich. My beef sandwich was priced at 65php. The clubhouse was a little over 70php. The expectation is that the food needs to be good, at least, even so-so. But it shouldn’t leave us wondering why it was worth that much.
Now before this becomes snooty, I’d like to leave the food comments at that, because there’s not much to talk about anymore. This is where it gets interesting/doomsday has arrived:
We paid at the counter as soon as we ordered. The one manning it told us he would bring the change later on, when we were done eating.
When the server brought us the change, he gave as a whole bill. We told them beforehand that we would pay separately. And so we asked if he could give us separate change. He told us that they didn’t have loose change anymore, but there was a store nearby that could probably help us. Then we politely asked him if he could change the bill for us.
Then he said, “Why me?”
Ok….that doesn’t sound right.
My friend told him that the establishment is theirs, he works here, and it’s only fair that since they don’t have change, they should take the responsibility to meet the needs of the customers.
He responded with, “Ah, ganun ba..” (Oh, is that so?). He wasn’t challenging us, but I take it is was more of an…internal realization.
After a few seconds of deliberation, he eventually agrees. He did have the bill changed into coins, and we did thank him.
The only thing that kept us talking about it was how they were not responsive to the needs of the customers. Basically, our takeaway would be his initial hesitation to have our bill changed. Not only that, but the way it was said it made unprofessional. If he only said it in a nicer way, we could have responded to the situation differently.
Can we blame the management? Probably. Are we making a mountain out of a molehill? Not quite. We are, after all, consumers who pay for a good or service that an establishment provides. We can express our satisfaction and dissatisfaction. If we feel that what we’ve been given isn’t our money’s worth, it’s only fair and logical to complain. We just told him to do his job, which was fair enough, because he is paid to serve customers.
Would we go back to Cafe Avenue? After the doom and gloom, probably not. Wait. On second thought, NEVER AGAIN. It doesn’t offer much, and it’s not worth the trip. To each his/her own, of course, so you might want to give them a chance. It’s just that for us, they blew it. Enough said.
Cafe Avenue is located at QNS Building, along Veterans Avenue Extension, near Western Mindanao Medical Center