Play along with your tante. Let’s say you meet a beautiful woman (or handsome man). You go on a date, and discover that she/he has a wonderful personality to top the gorgeous looks. But this person smells… smells nastier than an unattended toilet. Would you go on a second date with this hot looking skunk?
We went to The Hamptons Cafe today for lunch. The restaurant occupies a whole villa on Jumeirah Beach Road. The rooftop was fully booked, so we had a table inside. Very cozy and homelike atmosphere. As Kawkab is known for her self-proclaimed, balanced reviews, let’s start with what went right. The food was fantastic. The butter milk fried chicken was crispy, crunchy, juicy and very generous in portion. The seafood pie was flavorful, a great combination of well cooked seafood and baked potato mash. The Burrata crostini wasn’t bad either for an appetizer, and the chocolate cake was moist enough and had a creamy icing. Great food in a very nice setting… but I guess you see where this is going.
The service was abysmal. The kind of service that makes you ready to pay money to get back those two hours of your life and undo the whole dining experience. Upon arriving and being seated on an unclean table, we waited for a total of 20 minutes before anyone showed up to offer us any menus. I have to interject my rant now with one positive comment, which is that the menus (once they do come) are on iPads, a very welcome touch, as you can see the different options visually and read descriptions of each dish – descriptions that would come in handy given how clueless and unhelpful the staff is. After ordering, we of course expected a delay, which we were okay with. The main courses arrived first, ahead of the appetizers. The remarkable thing though is that they both arrived before the cutlery, which the waiters seemed to have a problem with. I never imagined ya tante that cutlery could be such a prominent part of a dining experience, or a review for that matter, but in this case:
1- Cutlery showed up, upon request, after the main courses & their consequent appetizers arrived.
2- Cutlery and plates for three arrived for a total of four people.
3- For dessert, which was also delivered without cutlery, forks were presented without knives after requesting both. Upon re-requesting the knives, only one was delivered. Sikkeene bi zyedeh 3a ra2bitna, lest we use it to lash out at everyone.
4- One of the forks had what I can only imagine is mucus or something like it. (picture attached to avoid bias) When I took it to the attention of the manager/ hostess, she responded that the restaurant is very busy. Because that is always a great excuse for lack of hygiene.
When asking for mustard, the waiter responded that there is none. After some back and forth with his tante, he discovered that he obviously has mustard. When we were done eating, more than twenty minutes passed before anyone came to clean the table. It took three follow ups for that to happen.
The Hamptons Cafe is a very busy place, understandably for the great food it offers. It is however a severely understaffed place, that seems to be terribly managed. Not only were the waiters zoned out all the time, they kept changing. I have to note that we were offered free coffee and tea to make up for our obvious dissatisfaction. But I would rather pay for my coffee anyday, than have to waste the weekend on such a strenuous dining experience.
Some would date people with wonderful personalities and great looks, even if they smell so bad. You can after all shut your nostrils and focus on your other senses. If you have good patience and a tolerance for incompetence, you may have a wonderful time dining at The Hamptons Cafe. I, for one, am a tired tante that has neither such thing.
PS: There’s a sign at the entrance that explains that customers are allocated 90 minutes per table to ensure fair table availability. The lunch took more than 2 hours, not because we enjoyed staying there, but the waiting time between bringing the menus, then the food, then the dessert was almost an hour in total.