Blackbird Cafe

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Let me get this out of the way first: I'm never coming back to this restaurant again. Ever.

The night started out with much promise. We opted to have dinner at Blackbird Cafe because it was somewhat cheaper than the other restaurants at Cockle Bay, and it seemed child-friendly. We were ushered to a table by a seemingly gracious waiter who offered to pull up a high chair for KB. We eventually declined it, as the toddler seemed content to sit on a normal chair, and I'm not one to fuss over something like that; my eating out philosophy with regards to the toddler is to be as unobtrusive as possible. Life tends to be calmer that way.

Blackbird's menu was passable, and I ordered the toddler a kids' meal. The grown-ups ordered nachos, burger and chips, and a pork dish. Our order arrived within about 15 minutes, which was impressive. The food itself was nothing spectacular--let's face it, I wasn't expecting gourmet fare anyway--but it was't bad and the servings were huge. The pork was bland, but the burgers were apparently decent, and the nachos...well, it's hard to go wrong with nachos.

Conversation flowed despite the restaurant's background music, which seemed a little loud. It was great to catch up with Wandergurl, who had just been to a job interview that day, and Andee, who I'd chatted with a few times but knew mostly through blogs. Obviously, we mostly talked about stuff on Blogland. Mostly it was about boys, which was fun. Poor Rob must have been befuddled for most of the night.

So you're probably wondering why I've blacklisted this restaurant.

You see, by the end of the evening KB was getting understandably cranky--it was past his bedtime, he'd had ice cream and was hyped up on the sugar, and frankly, he'd been on his best behaviour for long enough and had obviously had enough. So when he started getting restless, Rob and I knew it was time to go. We asked for the bill and I sent it back with my credit card.

During the time it took for the staff to process my payment--at least 10 minutes, for god's sake--KB upped the tantrum ante and I was forced to resort to drastic measures. Namely, telling him to sit down and behave himself. So he did what sleepy, sugar laden toddlers do--he cried. Not just a normal cry, but a pathetic wailing designed for maximum irritation to hapless listeners.

The waiter who had originally been gracious enough to offer us a high chair came up to our table and started joking around with KB. I wasn't really paying attention, because as any parent would know, ignoring a tantrum is usually the best way to stop it (or at least stop it from happening again...and again and again). I figured with all the ambient noise, it really wouldn't be noticeable. Plus, I was expecting go any moment, as soon as I got my credit card back.

When the waiter left, Wandergurl told me that he was asking me to keep the toddler quiet. I was like, WTF? Sure enough, the waiter came back a few minutes later and asked me to stop the toddler's crying. He tried to say it in a nice way, so I reassured him by saying that we were settling the bill and would be out of their hair in a sec.

Except we were still waiting for my card to come back, and the waiter was back asking me to stop the toddler's crying. What did he think I was doing? Pinching KB to make him cry? By this time, Rob looked ready to explode. When I told him we were just waiting for them to return my credit card so we can leave, the waiter had the gall to tell Rob that the restaurant was not a daycare.

Let me just say that I have never ever experienced such rudeness from wait staff. And we've taken the toddler to swankier places than the Blackbird Cafe. If the harbourkitchen & bar could cope with a cranky toddler, the Blackbird Cafe ought to be able to handle a few tearful moments. Especially since they offer a kids' meal, for goodness' sake.

So anyway, at that point we got really shirty--Rob was looking very grim--and told the waiter that if they can get their act together and give me back my credit card, we could leave. Magically, I had my credit card back within 30 seconds.

And I tipped exactly $0.

To be honest, if you want a cheap but decent meal, you're better off going across the bridge to Harbourside. And if you're bringing children under three, make sure they behave like adults at all times.

0 sips: