I went to dinner with some people to celebrate the birthday of my friend, Dionne, and we decided to go a new restaurant called Zanzibar. The layout and ambience looked really enticing so we ventured in. We were first accosted by a Security Guard who said that hats/caps were not allowed inside the restaurant. I was not wearing a cap but someone else was with us was and since I was determined to eat there, I looked inside the place and saw Caps and T-shirts marked Zanzibar on sale at the Reception Desk. So I turned to the guard and said:
Me: No caps allowed? No caps Allowed? You have them on sale inside. Steups…Leh we go in please my blood sugar low. I real hungry.
He looked at me with disdain and we entered the place. It was nicely laid out but it felt more Bar-like than an actual restaurant. More Woodford Cafe but just with more space for drinking. We settled in nicely or so I thought. Who knew what the night would turn out to be?
Enter Abiola (our waitress). Not a portly girl but there was a bit of handles along the sides and she had a nice smile and seemed eager to please. Then she spoke:
Abiola: Hello g’d nite I is your waitress for the evening. Can I take your drink orders.
Me: Do you have Grapefruit juice?
Abiola: No sir but we have Passion Fruit, Strawberry, Banana; yuh know the Banana good yuh know. I thought it would’ve tasted bad but it actually good…and then we have orange juice.
Me: Ok I’ll have passion fruit.
Abiola: Yuh doh want to try de banana? It real good.
Me: No thanks Passion Fruit juice for me. Oh and an order of Zonster Wings please.The others ordered fruit juice, another passion fruit and strawberry.
The Zonster wings are just fried spicy wings that if i were in London I could get 6 for a pound from any Non- KFC friend chicken outlet. I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t get grapefruit juice. It reminded me of being in Barbados and going to Restaurants there. I would ask what kind of juices they had and they would always say Orange juice and Fruit Punch. When I asked why they didn’t have a wider selection, I would get a look of death and the waitress would repeat the list of juices available. Hmmmm so much for service in the Caribbean.
It took her ten minutes to return and she only brought the fruit punch and strawberry drink.
Abiola: I sorry. We are all out of Passion fruit Juice. Yuh see yuh should try the Banana now
Me: This restaurant is 2 weeks old and you all running out of stock already?
Abiola: (Sigh) Well sir, it have great demand for that juice so we have no more right now. Yuh trying the banana?
Me: May i have orange juice please? When are the wings coming, it’s been over ten minutes?
Abiola: Oh it coming just now. I didn’t go for it as I wanted to get the drinks first. Ah coming back just now.
In less than a minute she returned with the wings and asked if we were ready to order.
Me: Quick Question. The menu says Spicy shrimp Wrap but can I have chicken in the wrap instead of Shrimp.
Abiola: Why you giving trouble? We only have it for the shrimp. yuh can’t get it with chicken.
Me: Ok boss. I will have the Grilled Chicken Supreme instead. But tell hm to go easy on the butter. I don’t want it too oily.
Abiola: Ah go ask him.The others order Pasta and Lamb.My drink came 5 minutes later and then we did not see her for half an hour. Drink glasses empty and a headache coming on, I felt I was about to misbehave. But I knew the Golden rule:
NEVER complain before you get the meal.
This is a wise rule, otherwise your meal may contain some “surprises” from the kitchen that you didn’t expect and that are surely NOT on the menu. As I was about to get up to go and find her, one of the hosts approached the table to inquire if all was well. I let someone else speak as I would’ve exploded on the person and I wouldn’t have been able to eat my meal out of sheer fear.
She returned two minutes later with the food in tow and then walked away. The birthday girl called her back and asked her for another drink. She took the order and left. At this point I could stand it no more.
Me: (Loudly) EXCUSE ME!!!!
Abiola: Yes? (with attitude)
Me: Yes, Hi…..Do you not see that everyone’s glass is empty? Why not ask everyone if they would like another drink?
Abiola: If allyuh wanted another drink then why allyuh ent say so?
Me: Because my dear, most waiters are more attentive and take up the empty glasses from the table and ask for another drink order. You are obviously too busy doing something else that you cannot be nice enough to attend to us. If you have a problem serving us then please switch with someone else. Otherwise, take our drink orders and make sure you not too far away just in case we need something else.
Abiola: What yuh want to drink then?
The meal was really good. My Grilled Chicken Supreme was the oiliest thing you could ever have but I was hungry and certainly wasn’t sending it back. Not so with one of the guys that was there. He ordered the lamb (well done) and it came medium rare. He asked for them to take it back to the kitchen as you could still see the pink in the middle of the meat and it smelt uncooked. Abiola and the host came back this time and told us that the chef said that Lamb looks that way “well done”. I tried to hold back my shock but Dionne jumped in and asked if the cook was trained at “Breakfast Shed”.
This received a hearty laugh from everyone at the table.In the end the guy said he didn’t want the lamb anymore and just took some more wings as the freshness of the burger put him off having another. Then came dessert time and since I was not having any, I just asked for a glass of water.
Well everyone else’s’ dessert came and they ate it but my water never arrived. When she came back to clear the dessert plates, everyone else asked for water. She returned promptly with glasses for all of them except me. All of their glasses were beastly cold and had a lime on top. I said nothing. The host passed by and I told him that I needed a glass of water. He returned with a small glass with warm pipe water and no lime. When he put it down and smiled, the table erupted in laughter. All except me.
Me: Excuse me, but why does my water look different from the others? Can you please call Abiola over here because you in a mess right now.Abiola returns and I ask for a glass of water.
Abiola: Yuh want more water?
Me: No you never gave me the glass of water I asked for at first.
Abiola: Really? I should’ve been more attentive. (Big Grin)
Me: (Me seething at this point) No I know you kind of slow. Next time I’ll sign it for you (I do the sign for “water” in sign language as well as for “dumb”). Oh and if you think you getting a tip yuh better forget it.My water came promptly.
I said a short prayer over it for protection against any harm that may come to me from drinking it. (I was really really thirsty at this point).
She brought the bill not too long after and was equally shocked when I pulled out my card to pay for it. She brought the card machine and didn’t look up at me at all while she processed it. She left me alone to sign the slip and everyone begged me to allow them to leave a tip. I told them that if anyone left as much as a penny for her I would run them over with my car.
I left $40.00 for her on the table after they all left the restaurant.
Hey I’m not a complete ogre. Or Am I? hmmmmm