Restaurant Review: Breakfast at The Granary Café in The Silo Hotel disappointing, room for improvement!
Wednesday 12th April 2017 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Yesterday Bella Bauer and I went for Breakfast at The Silo Hotel, to try its breakfast in The Granary Café. We were disappointed with many aspects of the Breakfast, and were able to share the feedback with Restaurant Manager Dylan van Blerk.
I have been to The Silo Hotel six times now, twice for dinner at The Granary Café, twice for lunch at The Silo Rooftop, and once in The Granary Café for an excellent Afternoon Tea. To date we have picked up inconsistency in The Granary Café in the food preparation and presentation within the period of the six weeks since it opened.
We were greeted in Reception by Duty Manager Wes du Plessis, and he took us through to The Granary Café. We had not made a reservation, but at 10h00 this was not a problem, with only one other table with guests. I noticed immediately that a leopard print couch had been removed, and more tables had been added in its place. On our first visit to The Granary Café at the beginning of March we had noticed the couch, and felt that it jarred with the rest of the decor, and it worried us that the seating space may have been too restricted. That concern has now been removed.
Kudchi had served me both at The Silo Rooftop and the Afternoon Tea, and was efficient in fetching and carrying what we needed and requested, but was not proactive in a number of respects. I was surprised when Kristi came to greet me as if we knew each other, and she introduced herself as the Breakfast Manager, having previously worked at The Royal Portfolio properties of Liz Biden, i.e. Birkenhead House and the apartment at the One & Only. Given that she carries the title of Manager, we were surprised at her dress, which did not match that of the other managers, who wear navy blue blazers. She just wore a white shirt, sneakers, and Levi Jeans, the latter a standard issue for all staff at the hotel. The waitresses wear waistcoats over their white shirts, and look far smarter than Kristi did. Kristi proactively told us that she only works in the mornings, having a baby at home.
Kudchi took our cappuccino orders, and brought us a beetroot, apple, and ginger juice, while Kristi brought a stand with a number of items (photograph above), which she called the ‘Harvest Table’ (it was placed on a small side table alongside our table). The stand is the same on which the many delicious items were presented for the Afternoon Tea I enjoyed with a friend recently.
The Breakfast stand contained a glassful of berries (strawberries, gooseberries, and raspberries), a glassful of muesli (without spoons to dish up from the containers), two small jars of branded Bulgarian yoghurt (which had expired), small plates of smoked salmon (well presented with a slice of lime, but hardened at the edges, possibly from having been plated too long before the stand was brought to our table), a poorly presented plate of charcuterie (with two hams, and two types of salami), a very badly plated plate of cheeses (one with cumin, another one with a rind, and very poorly cut Camembert pieces floating in the syrup of ginger on the same plate. On the bottom shelf was a platter of thinly sliced fruit, including pineapple, mango, watermelon, and spanspek, with passion fruit which had lost some of its pips. I was dishing up some pineapple when a few slices slipped off the open side and fell onto the floor. As the staff working close by did not react to it, I picked it up, and put it on the table, alongside the stand. Only shortly before our departure was the pineapple removed. The fruit on the fruit platter looked as if it had been standing for quite a while already, looking wilted and it was unappealing.
Kristi did not explain which types of cheeses and hams were on each platter. The content of the pastry basket challenged her, as she did not know the names of the items in it, other than the chocolate sticks and croissants. She had to call to someone behind the counter from our table for assistance with the pastry type names, and my guest Bella was more knowledgeable than Kristi was in identifying them. I wanted to check with Kristi about the ‘Harvest Table’, as it is charged extra on the menu (R205), and Kristi explained that it is free of charge to accommodation guests, and assured us that we would not have to pay for it.
Whilst eating the muesli, fruit, and yoghurt, it quickly became clear that the Mervyn Gers bowls and the Buddha rose gold cutlery are not aligned to each other. The dessert spoon was so large that one could not eat with it nor rest it in the bowl, as it fell out of it. The muesli, berries, and yoghurt containers had no spoons in them with which to dish out of the containers, so we shook the contents into our bowls. The salmon, charcuterie, fruit, and cheese containers had forks, once again too big to not have the danger of them falling off the dishes or stand. Cake forks would have been more suited for this. We found that the Buddha teaspoons were also not aligned to the Mervyn Gers cups and saucers, and a teaspoon fell onto the table when the waitress collected an empty cup from the table (without checking if we would like another cup of coffee).
We did not see Kristi for a long time after this, and we were left in the care of Kudchi, who took our cooked egg order. No toast was offered, and it was only after the order was taken that we realized that we could not eat the cheeses, the charcuterie, and the salmon without toast. We placed the order, and it took at least 15 minutes for the four slices of toast to arrive, two of which were badly burnt! The Toast arrived with our egg orders. We had to request jams for the pastry, as well as butter!
The size of the cooked breakfast dishes was very generous, perhaps too much so for two ladies. Bella ordered the Eggs Royal, served on two soggy muffins, smoked salmon, and a very generous portion of hollandaise sauce (R90). Bella could not eat the muffins, but enjoyed the rest of the plateful. I ordered an egg white soufflé omelet with a filling of salmon and avocado, which was served with a light portion of lime aioli (R125). Both egg orders were plated with pea shoots.
We felt the staff to be friendly and welcoming on our arrival, but not very proactive in removing used glasses and plates, which would have created more space on our table. We found the description of ‘Harvest Table’ to be a misnomer, in that it did not reflect a Harvest or freshness. Kristi did not execute her position well, not knowing the pastries, nor checking on our table regularly. Odd was her over-familiarity on our arrival, yet shaking hands with us on our departure. We observed her drinking a beetroot juice in the restaurant while she was on duty. The cheese presentation was exceptionally poor, and we observed a chef unwrapping cheeses out of a plastic container on the guest side of the restaurant counter as we were leaving. The crockery and cutlery dissonance should be addressed. I would like to return in future to check if the problems we experienced with our Breakfast have been ironed out. We did appreciate Restaurant Manager Dylan van Blerk sitting with us to receive our feedback, and even bringing Chefs Veronica Canha-Hibbert and Devin Jones to our table for the feedback. Dylan kindly showed Bella The Silo Rooftop.
The Granary Café, The Silo Hotel, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 671-5502 (The Royal Portfolio central reservations) Tel (021) 670-0500 www.thesilohotel.com www.theroyalportfolio.com Twitter: @TheSiloHotel @Royal_Portfolio Instagram: @thesilohotel_ @theroyalportfolio
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein