Just a quick post....
Had a friend down from Brisbane over the weekend and at the last minute we decided to go out for dinner on the Saturday night. We were limited to places that didn't accept bookings, and so the toss up was between Cumulus Inc and Mamasita. I've been to Mamasita 3 times and have loved it, but was always keen to try Cumulus Inc after hearing so many great things.
We rocked up to Cumulus Inc at 6:15 and was told there would be an hour wait. No problem with that, we went to a nearby bar and had a cocktail, then came back at 7:15. We were seated at the bar which kind of sucked. Its a fabulous space, but we had our back to the action the whole night. I also don't enjoy perching on stools, but as a twosome we couldn't really expect anything diffferent.
From there on in the night became somewhat disappointing. The service was really inattentive. Once our meals came out we didn't hear from anyone until we asked for the bill. We ordered a bottle of white wine and were dismayed when it was plonked down in front of us, with no ice bucket to keep it cool. As a result, by the end of our meal we were drinking warm white wine... *Errrrggh*.
The thing that saddened me the most however was the limitations faced by being a vegetarian. I notified our waiter/bar tender that I was a vegetarian and whether there was anything that could be done other than the side dishes of vegetables and salads. I was told "no" before they moved away. As a result, I had to assemble my meal out of the sides. We chose the cauliflower, the potatoes, and the freekah salad. The freekah salad was delicious, but the other 2 dishes were just average. Nice enough, but nothing special... Its just a shame when you come to a place because you've heard rave reviews about the quality of the food, and you can't enjoy the same experience as everyone else.
I've told a few friends since that if they ate meat/seafood, they would probably really enjoy Cumulus Inc, as long as they got better service (my dining companion ordered the tuna on crushed peas and she said it was lovely). But as a vegetarian, I just can't waste my time or money on places that don't make any effort to accommodate me. I don't expect a huge variety of choice, but I would hope for at least one option for a main or a starter.
The experience has made me more determined to try Cutler & Co, Andrew McConnell's other restaurant, as I know from other peoples reviews that they cater well for vegetarians, even going so far as to offer a degustation menu.
Being a vegetarian is my choice. So this isn't a "woe is me" style post. I know that its because of the restrictions I place on myself that means I can't get the same dining experience as everyone else, but its still a pity, especially when so many restaurants are starting to make a real effort to offer fabulous food free of meat, that doesn't equate to a bowl of vegetables or salad.