This isn’t really a review of Friends of Mine which has been a strong cafe for years now and is one of my favourites. It does relate to a midweek morning breakfast at Friends of Mine on the way to work though.
The restaurant business is no different to so many others, especially those that are service oriented. There are rules of engagement; a list of commandments if you will. The separation of powers between the floor and the kitchen is what maintains quality at some of the best places I’ve worked at. While the floor can’t live without the kitchen, it by no means unimportant. Service often is the largest ingredient that divides a great experience from an okay one. But there is more to service than delivering food to tables and the best floor staff question the chefs if there is an issue.
That’s where the quality control comes in. In the best restaurants there are more than two points at which mistakes can be identified and rectified. At many cafes there is only one point before the customer receives their meal. Which is why my main question to the cashier at Friends was “when you order a croissant in the cafe is it done here or in the kitchen?” to which she replied “it’s only done here if it is a takeaway”.
This leads me to question why the kitchen thought it was appropriate to deliver a really burnt ham, cheese and tomato croissant; and the waitperson didn’t tell the kitchen it doesn’t look good enough to deliver to the customer? That is two separate functions that believe a mistake is fine to provide to a paying customer. The reason I was disappointed is that every single other time I’ve had a croissant here it has been excellent with the best ingredients used in a quality pastry. It is perfect for a quick breakfast on the way to work because it doesn’t take long and is delicious. I can confidently order as I sit down without looking at the menu along with a coffee and be out in twenty minutes having browsed through the paper.
This experience won’t stop me going back, but it brings to question the entire approach the cafe might be starting to take. The fact they delivered a ham and cheese croissant with jam and butter goes to show that they were not on their game.