Saul’s, Strand South Africa

I am leaving the review of Saul’s, Strand on my blog even though the restaurant is closed.

We were invited by Saul to have supper on his account at Saul’s Strand, to asses whether there had been any improvement since our first visit. Our first visit was on a Sunday evening and was a disaster. We were not greeted at the door, and eventually we were shown to a table. We asked the waitress for two bottles of sparkling mineral water and were told “sorry, we only have one”. This coupled with a few other issues made us get up to leave. We paid the bill after having to find the waitress (we were the only table) and walked out past the manager who did not say one word to us.

JULY 2011

Saul's, Strand
Saul’s, Strand

Saul became aware of this after a friend of mine was invited back after her not so great experience and hence the invite. Saul was sent an email after our dinner, describing our evening.

We were greeted at the door, but no one knew of our booking despite us being told by Saul that it had been done. The water called the hostess (Janine) who called Ryan (the manager) and as we were the only people there, we could choose our own table. In my opinion the whole ‘meet, greet and seat’ issue needs serious attention as there is no need for the run around.

Once again there was no sparkling water and this resulted in us being asked 3 times what we wanted to drink – instead the waitress should have gone straight to Ryan to tell him the problem. Ryan sorted this out and went and bought sparkling water for us! However, while he was out running around the staff decided this would be a good time to start chatting amongst themselves instead of overseeing the customers and the front of house.

We were not given a wine list so even if we had wanted to drink wine, we would not have had the choice without specifically asking for the list. A small oversight, but one that is so unnecessary.

The place is clean and light and until the last 5 minutes we enjoyed lovely background music. For some reason it was turned up just before we left – and we were the only table in the non smoking section.

I was impressed with the way our cutlery arrived at the table after our order was taken and that our plates were not cleared until we were both finished. This is something we take for granted when eating out. We had the hot chicken salad as a starter to share and it was really tasty, with a generous portion of grilled chicken.

We were also asked if the chef could start our main course which I appreciate as being a work night it is nice not to have to wait too long between courses. However, there was a lack of attention to detail that did not go unnoticed by us – we asked for no raw onions with our salad starter, and yet got raw onions on our main course garnish! Small details, but they all count. The garnish lettuce did not look great by the way and we usually eat everything on our plates, but I pushed mine aside.

We had the eat as much as you can rib special and I thought that it was too soon to ask us if we wanted a second portion as we got our first one! Our chip order was forgotten and when they arrived at the table we had a large, overflowing plate of not quite cooked chips. These were sent back and half the amount was returned to us (as per the photograph). I am not sure whether the very peppery basting sauce rendered the chips tasteless, or if this is a supply issue?

Ryan was the newly appointed manager on duty the night we went, and he told us that improvements would be seen as he had a lot of new ideas and training to implement. I hope he was right.

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0 thoughts on “Saul’s, Strand South Africa

  1. Pity that it happened a second time. I’d be done as there are so many other places to try.

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    1. We have so many great restaurants here that the second visit may indeed be the last 🙂

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  2. Eeek! You would think if you had been invited back a second time they would have been really making sure everything was tiptop.
    Time to discover some other lovely place I think.

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    1. I agree, they could have at least had some bubbly water for us! We won’t be going back in a hurry 🙂

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  3. It is such a shame when a restaurant can’t make a good impression in the front of their house. Even when the food is great, poor service can ruin the whole evening.

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    1. I so agree with this! The first impression is usually the lingering one 🙂

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  4. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! That’s always a bummer when trying out new restaurants. I feel as though I always expect the best and have too high of standards for a lot of places. I used to work in the restaurant business and all of the things that happened to you were big no-no’s!

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    1. This was made worse as they were expecting us! I think high standards are a good thing to have – I want to feel like spending my money is a pleasure 🙂

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  5. In the days when i was bringing up a swag of kids by myself, after a days teaching I worked at a local restaurant. It was small but we were very well trained. As the years went by all my children worked there in one capacity or the other as well. One of the MOST IMPORTANT things we learned was never to let a diner hover at the door. They are greeted and seated as soon as humanely possible. If I was working the restaurant by myself on a week night I would catch the diners eye, with the required big welcoming smile and let them know that I was on my way. No excuse for an evening such as yours. Loved reading about it tho.. c

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    1. there should be no excuse. I had the most amazing training when I started out as a waitress at 18 – and I reckon I could still pull in better tips that most of the waitresses we encounter 🙂

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  6. When we were in South Africa last year, we never made it to the Cape, but we went to many restaurants. We found most of the service a bit strange, not just in restaurants, but anywhere you would have someone help you. It felt like a bit of a disconnect and like people just weren’t trained properly. Sometimes at restaurants we’d have several different people coming up and asking us if we needed anything. One of our last nights in Joberg. The hotel we stayed at there were so many people working at one point my husband said “can they just stay out of my way”? On the other hand the place we stayed the night before at 800 Us a night, you did not have that but there still was a bit of a disconnect when calling room service or needing something in your room etc.
    I did find service very, very different there than the states. You realize how spoiled we are here, when you travel abroad.
    We did love the food and the people, the country as a whole. I do hope to return one day. I was fascinated and enchanted by your land.

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    1. HI Bexx, usually service is of quite a high standard here, especially in the top notch restaurants and hotels. But, every now and then you come across ill trained people. In most places here it is not a profession like it is in Europe. People are working part time while they study, and I think this has a negative impact. Such a pity really. Hope you do make it make to our fairest Cape 🙂

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  7. Blimey, you were good to go back a second time. Isn’t it weird how management always miss the small stuff which is so critical! Also just wanted to say how much I am still enjoying your posts/tweets etc even though my responses have been sadly lacking!

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    1. thanks bandsmoke, and have a super day 🙂 The restaurants could do with some serious training!

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  8. Sounds like “Saul” maybe a little…”Stranded”, or am I correct in assuming “Saul” is the owner?
    Great post…
    Not a good review for the restaurant however…Maybe the new kid can turn things around. If not, call Gordo Rambo, or Robert Irvine…hehe
    God Bless You
    paul

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    1. love your play on words – Saul a.k.a The Big Man is the owner 🙂

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  9. OH MY! You would think that all these kinds of issues would be dealt with (training included) before they open their doors! What a pity as I am sure you will not want to return a third time.
    Have a happy week.
    🙂 Mandy

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    1. for sure, we are not in a rush to go back! Have a great day 🙂

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