We were staying at the Hotel Balalaika ... as the reataurant had an entrance/exit from/to the Hotel and was close by ... to save time trying to find a decent retaurant near by ... and, liking the Hotel style ... we decided to try it
The first night ... served by Ronald ...we chose the day's special ... double burger with chips ... and a large local draught beer each... the burgers arrived, they looked and tasted GREAT ... the service was good and the food delicious and filling ... the decor is welcoming with high ceilings and chandeliers ... the ambiance is conducive to relaxed dining ... everything was superb!!!
The second night we chose to eat there again having enjoyed the previous meal ... we decided on the T-bone steak ... it was the day before Valentines day so they had a "Valentines Special" menu available ... we did not want the whole 4 course deal ... but the Sparkling Wine with Creme De Cassis sounded a nice drink to have with my steak ... my companion had beer ... not being a wine lover, i do like the occasional glass of Champagne or sparkling wines like Prosecco and Rose.
I think there was a bit of confusion and a communication breakdown around this order because, when the wine arrived at the table i could see straight away there was no creme de cassis added ... i tried to explain to the waiter but was not being understood? dont know why? .. so i took the glass to the bar myself and asked for a shot of creme de cassis to be added to the wine ... i was told they had NO creme de cassis ... i was very surprised and a bit shocked ... it was on the special menu and supposed to be available for the whole week around the 14th of February ... very remiss of the restaurant not to have any in stock ... the barman told me they would have some tomorrow!!! this info. was of no use to me!!! i was leaving the following day.
The point is, i should have been informed of this before the wine was served to the table ... cause i would have ordered a BEER instead (which i did later as the small glass of wine was not enough to refresh my tastebuds)
My companions steak was OK ... mine was a bit sinewy and chewy, i ate around this... so a bit "hit-or-miss" there!
The whole point of this saga is, when it came to paying the bill i asked to see the manager to ask for the wine to be removed from the bill as it was NOT what i ordered ... The manager was rude and a bit nasty saying "did you drink the wine!... if so you have to pay for it!" in an aggressive manner ... i was a bit taken aback ... for customer relations, it was unacceptable to be spoken to this way ... in an attempt to calm the situation, i told him if i had sent the wine back they could do nothing but pour it down the drain, as you cannot pour sparkling wine back into the bottle to serve it up to someone else ... am i righrt or wrong!!! ... WRONG apparently ... payment of the bill was demanded!!!
There is a twist to this Tale ... I left the restaurant in hot pusuit by the manager and went to the Hotel Reception to complain about the treatment ... it was then i realized the Bull Run Restaurant is an independant operator ... the Hotel is not responsible for the restaurant ... the restaurant manager continued to harangue me waving the check and demanding payment ... i caved in and paid the full amount ... the small glass of wine was 62 rand! a heafty price for something i did not really want! Could have got a whole 750ml bottle of 5th Avenue sparkling wine for 58 rand from the off-licence ... lol
SO ...Thereby hangs another tale ... When i returned to the UK i wrote an email to the restaurant with all the above detail ... it took a long time for a response ... only after i mentioned reviewing the Bull Run here ... i now have a sort of resolution and can only hope that the manager concerned has been sent on an intensive "Customer Relations course" ... so other clients will be treated cordially!
It is a shame the Hotel is sometimes subect to the bad reviews of the restaurant by some other guests comments ... as it is within the perimeters of the complex it can sometimes affect the combined reviews of both the Restaurant and the Hotel ... which i think is uhfair ... the Hotel is top-class and should not be judged by uninformed reviews.
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