I always like to review a restaurant few months after it opens as a full paying customer rather than reviewing it when it opens or when I’m invited for a food tasting. I’ve always found that the true quality of a restaurant can be best judged once it is in a business as usual mode. Unfortunately, last night I visited another cafe which hasn’t been able to keep up to the hype it created in the last few months…
I’ve been hearing about Where Else Cafe for a few months now. Fellow foodies from Pune have spoken highly of the place and it’s chilled-out ambiance. It has 2 sections – like most restaurants/cafes/bars these days have. Outside section is non-AC and an AC section with some nice art work on the walls. What I loved about WEC is that they allow you to bring your furry friends to the outside section. And they have a special pet menu as well. How lovely!
I had stepped out for late dinner so only walked in to the cafe around 10.15 pm. Occupancy was about 50% at that time with most tables only waiting to finish off their dinner. In spite of this, it took the waiter about 15 mins to clean our table and hand us a menu card. Sadly, this was just the beginning of the poor service we were going to be rendered all night. The waiter struggled to take our orders even after I slowly repeated the order twice in 2 languages. Just to be sure I pointed out to the items on the menu card so there was no confusion but was quite amused to see the waiter come back to me after 10 mins to confirm the order. The confusion prevailed for another 5 mins until another waiter stepped in to help the situation. I don’t blame this on the waiter as it looked like he wasn’t too familiar with English or Hindi. How I wish the cafe owners would put some more time and effort in training/coaching the staff. At the end of the day, customer churn is due to poor service!
Our order of a portion each of Where Else Special Chicken and Bacon Wrapped Chicken took over 35 mins to be served. With the kind of occupancy there was in the cafe, the time taken was not justified at all. Our orders came by 11.15 pm, 1 full hour after arriving at the cafe. My first reaction was that they were smaller than average portions especially Bacon Wrapped Chicken. There were only 3 pieces of chicken the size of chicken tikka pieces with about 2 strips of bacon wrapped around each of them. I would have expected a steak piece served with a good helping of bacon. Only saving grace was the garlic sauce it was served with, and yes an additional portion of garlic sauce was also provided which was a nice touch.
Where Else Special Chicken had a comparatively better portion size but had too much pepper for my liking. Most people don’t like a lot of pepper on their food so it would have been nice if the waiter would have let us know while placing the order. Small things like this stay with customers and influence their decision to go back.
Iced tea was nice and refreshing. No alcohol is served, yet. For dessert, I had a very tiny portion of Rich Chocolate Mousse which had 30% whipped cream 😦
Pricing is moderate but value for money is low. Good part is that all prices all inclusive of all taxes (incl service tax) but there is a 5% service charge. WEC has a special corporate menu for lunch and an exclusive menu for Symbiosis students – a sweet deal I say. They also offer discounts if you go there for a 2nd time on the same day. Live music and other small events are planned through the week as well.
Sadly, in spite of getting a lot of things right (especially the pets and pet menu!), WEC is a laggard in it’s core business – service and food!