Monday, 4 October 2010

What Gavin King didn't say?

It wasn't until this morning that I sat down with my Weekend Post (it's a low priority for KS) and engaged in the rare pleasure of consuming Gavin King's opinion on restaurants in Cairns.

Kitchenslut intends a more detailed response and may even consider direct reply to the Post. There are things in this column I agree with and also some strongly opposed.  Particularly there is an intrinsic contradiction in Gavins request for a ratings system in a rant which disparages awards! Such reply will take further consideration however ......

The reason Kitchenslut first started a few years ago was discontent among a small group of friends who loved exploring food that there was no real independent opinion on food in Cairns. We had a sobering experience of posting negative comments on service only to subsequently be threatened with baseball bats (via unpublished comments)! That restaurant went broke quickly by the way!

However what Gavin didn't say is that the Cairns Post has actually been a problem here, not a solution. Its monopoly combined with an advertorial culture amidst a preponderence of tourism marketing publications has actually helped create what he now finds objectionable?

Guess who?


Gabstar said...

no way that particular restaurants shanks would never be tough or tasteless and doesnt really display many awards on the walls!!!

Chuckie said...

Kitchenslut has hit the nail on the head. The reason Gavin was forced to declare he was not paid or induced with free meals to write favourable comments about the venues he lists is because it is so very difficult for readers to decipher the difference between editorial and advertorial comment. Many miss the 'advertising feature' in 7pt font at the top of the page and believe they are reading genuine opinion - why else would advertisers pay outrageous amounts per column cm to be included in such 'features'?
Perhaps the Cairns Post's new editor-at-large can wield his newfound editorial clout to bring back Terence Trencherman... the last vestige of a genuine, independent restaurant review which justifiably had a huge local following because it was just that... genuine!

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

Regardless of which restaurant offered the tasteless, tough food, the fact is that Gavin is sadly correct (and it always pains me to admit when he's right). Cairns restaurants were failing the locals and the tourists in regard to pricing, quality and service. I have been fortunate enough to have several great meals out lately, with service to match, and was surprised every time. It seems that they have picked up their game, or more likely the newcomers are doing a great job. The older, more established haunts are becoming complacent and relying too heavily on reputation to get customers. With so many new, fabulous restaurants out there, is it any wonder we are flocking to them and leaving the others behind? Here's my picks from those I have recently visited.....Tha Fish (not cheap, but beautiful food, great spot and fantastic service), The Banana Leaf (cheaper but maintains a high standard with it's food) and Wink (both of them). These restaurants also have the added bonus for me of being accepting of my kids, so I could have a lovely meal without worrying about what they were doing while I wasn't looking. There are great venues out there, and this blog highlights them, making choices easy. The ones who are failing, just need to concentrate more on getting back to basics....good food + good service = happy customers!!

Leigh Dall'Osto

Clifton Ratbags Rule said...

We all know who the "slick-o marketer" is that sells the overrated lamb shanks and other off-cuts. I actually have less complaint about this overpromoted tourist trap than some of the mainstream restaurants that continue to serve up overpriced crap. I note with interest the new "Grill'd" hamburger chain, which has quite the reputation down south. They've taken up in some of the most overpriced retail space on the Esplanade, and yet a comparison of their local menu with their southern sites shows only a $1 pricing impost for this higher-priced location. When other restaurants are charging DOUBLE or more for pedestrian food in the same area, it's quite clear we're all getting gouged like so many lamb shanks to the slaughter.

CBD Warrior said...

Ms. Dall'Osto: If you're lauding a restaurant because they "accept your kids without your worrying what they're doing", you're part of the problem. Screaming, unattended children without shoes or manners are a major deterrent to many in the community going out to a "nice" restaurant. You don't see tourist visitors with unruly children, but then again you don't see them walking Cairns Central without shoes or shirts, either. Restaurants are unlikely to "pick up" their game because sadly they're being run by these same uneducated hillbillies.

Leigh Dall'Osto said...

Fair comment CBD Warrior. I was not trying to imply that my children 'run amok' as you put it although after reading my comment again it is not impossible to see how you came to that conclusion. My delight with these restaurants comes as the mother of a 3 yr old, a 5 yr old and a 9 yr old and their sometimes sadly appalling table manners. We have always been of the opinion that they need to sit at the table and eat their meal without running around freely in the establishment and have sometimes resorted to taking the kids for walks to calm them so that they can continue to do that.

What I admired was that we were not made to feel uncomfortable because we had chosen to bring our brood and the children were asked what they wanted for dinner, whether they were thirsty etc along with the rest of us...and generally treated like real people and not as potential hazards to the staff.

I have taken my children out where they have been naughty and am very aware that they do that when they are ignored or made to feel unwanted. It is most definitely the parents responsibility to ensure that children behave themselves but the establishment and their treatment of kids is also part of the success of that.

The only way to teach children how to behave in an environment like a restaurant, is to take them out with you and guide them through the process. The more you do it, the better they respond. My hope is that my children will be those that other diners comment on in regard to their fantastic behaviour and their obvious respect for those around them.

KitchenSlut said...

Thanks for the discussion on children and restaurants. It's very relevant to how to provide relevant information and one of the links I posted today on Cairnsblog the site has a "family friendly" link prominent in the sidebar.

There is room for nuances and common sense here such as don't take tired kids to a restaurant at 9pm? Perhaps given the preponderence of early diner specials there is room for family specials within that space?

What maybe interesting is whether the heightened interest in food will result in more adventurous food tastes in children? I haven't tuned in to junior masterchef but recollect my pre-school nephew confusing his Grandma many years ago with a complaint that she didn't keep olives and fetta in the fridge. Poor Grandma thought all she needed was vegemite and cheddar slices!

Mind you the children were introduced very early to sophisticated food tastes and eating out could happily consume an entree or share a parents mains without resort to a childrens menu!

Just thinking aloud sorry .......

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