We have been going to the Balaclava Hotel since 1992 when we first moved to Balaclava. In close walking distance from our then home, we would slip there for a meal if R did not feel like cooking. The late Dame M used to like going there where she was treated like royalty, possibly because of the $100 notes she used to slip into the poker machines. When Dame M was alive, it was not unusual for her to book for a table of 20 in the smoking area. We have seen its excellent times and its not so excellent times and tonight was a serious fail.
Our Malaysian friend is here for a week in Australia. I have not mentioned it before, but in spite of him only being 34 years old, he is a very prosperous business person in his own country. His $70k Audi and the clothes on his back being worth $1k plus, as against the value of my car, $4k and the clothes on my back, $300, it is odd that he wanted to go there. He ordered up big for his meal, and the hotel obliged with his special order involving a separate prawn dish as well as a normal steak, medium rare. That was what he asked for and I would have been happy with the steak, as it was well done when it arrived at the table. Another person had the roast lamb and was not really impressed by the quality of the meat. I had corned beef and I was not impressed with the quality of the meat.
Personally, I am not keen the Balaclava Hotel anymore, but everyone else, nine people, were happy to go there. And then it all went very wrong.
Our Fijian Indian friend is a Hindu and quite religious. Hindus don't eat beef. Cows are sacred animals to Hindus. They don't eat them. It is not the first time our friend has ordered a curry at the Balaclava Hotel, which surprises me as he can cook his own curry very well. I would never order a curry or Thai in a pub. He chose to order the curry again tonight, a little reassured that he noticed the cook was Indian too.
To get to the point, he ordered the chicken curry. His meal arrived, and he hoed in. After the second mouthful he realised it was not chicken curry but beef. He went off to the toilet to wash his mouth out, while his partner, an ex politician and policeman, called for the manager.
I'm afraid the Balaclava Hotel has not heard the end of this. It like serving pork to a Muslim or a Jew, or meat to a vegetarian and not telling them what it is.
Our Indian friend works for one those large lefty labor lawyer companies.. He intends consulting one of the partners on Monday when he returns to work.
His partner seems to spend half his life on the phone complaining about poor service and products and gets heaps of payola back. He won't let it let it go either.
I was looking forward to seeing our Malaysian friend, but the beef incident cast a pallor over the evening. Manny did not even mention his overcooked steak until I noticed it. It is not like we are in the outback desert of Australia. You wouldn't expect people to understand religious dietary rules there. In inner suburban Melbourne, you really would expect better.