Thursday, July 13, 2006

Garden Bar, Establishment, George St, Sydney

Garden Bar, Establishment, George St, Sydney
Thursday 13 July, 2006

Spur of the moment lunches sometimes offer up great finds are the most fun - today's experience gives new meaning to 'power trip'. During lunchtime a work buddy and I were walking up George St towards Australia Square when we stumbled past Establishment and saw the crowd. Up the steps into the large open space we walked past the hordes of people on the lounges, three deep at the bar and occupying all of the available high tables. We continued through the main bar area to the Garden Bar. All of the tables were full and there were some eager patrons waiting.

We weren't greeted by anyone so we walked to the kitchen to try and find menus. No luck. We walked back to the bar and struck gold. The menu is made up of Australian and Thai meals (most between $10 - $15) and also offers a lean wine list and impressive cocktail list. We decided to order even though we didn't have a table - I ordered the crumbed chicken breast schnitzel with chips, coleslaw and mushroom sauce and my lunch buddy ordered the crisp beer battered fish and chips with tartare sauce and lemon. We paid at the bar and were handed an electronic beeper. As this was happening my lunch buddy spotted a free table and did the dash to secure it. Nice one!

As I finished paying and collected our drinks I saw the Maitre'd speaking with my lunch buddy. It didn't look good. Apparently, we had defied rule number 1 - see the Maitre'd on the way in & add our name to the imaginary list. Oops! We both pleaded ignorance and stated we were more than happy to wait for a free table - we just didn't know the protocol - it wasn't advertised anywhere, we hadn't seen anyone on the way in & the bar staff who took our order never mentioned anything. Instead of accepting this we were berated by this individual who laboured the point home. I kept smiling politely and explaining that we were more than happy to wait our turn but he just kept at us. He even claimed to recognise me (as a frequent visitor to Establishment) & stated that I should know how things operate here. I politely explained I had never eaten lunch in the Garden Bar before only the front bar, so I honestly didn't know his procedures - jeeeeeez! Finally, he agreed to give us the table we had just vacated - what the!@*!

So, we sat down in the Garden Bar and enjoyed the tranquil atrium setting. It's far nicer to sit there than eat out in the main bar area. Within moments our buzzer went off. You collect all your meals at the kitchen where they pack the plates onto large straw trays for you and then you collect cutlery and transfer it all back to your table. Our meals looked great - fresh, piping hot and hearty portions.

The chicken breast schnitzel was delicious - the chicken meat was lean and the schnitzel coating was light - the mushroom sauce was OK and it was served in a separate pot so you could easily decide not to eat it. The meal was also served with large crispy french fries. The beer battered fish & chips was also good but we both ended up leaving most of the fries - way too much!

Our Maitre'd friend continued to watch us like a hawk for the duration of our lunch but we weren't hurried along - in fact by 1.30pm the place had emptied considerably.

The food was good, the price was reasonable but our experience with the Maitre'd was appalling.

Garden Bar, Establishment - 252 George St, Sydney - (02) 9240 3000


Blogger tytty said...

what an ass. at least the food was worth it.

12:03 pm  

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