Eating out sucks…
at least in Australia. And let me tell you why.
When MJ and I decide to eat out at a restaurant, it’s usually a spur of the moment. Well not totally spur of the moment. Basically if by 3:30pm, I don’t have any idea of what to cook we decide to eat out. Our dinner time is set at 5:30pm. We do have some leeway (give or take a half hour) but we like to be consistent because LJ goes to bed early and he is a fussy eater so we need to make sure that he eats at the same time regularly so his belly is hungry at the same time regularly. And therein lies the problem.
In the US, most restaurants tend to open all day long or open for the lunchtime crowd and stay open or for the really unique restaurants they open around 3ish to prepare for the dinner patrons.
In Australia, most restaurants open for service at 5:30pm the earliest but usually 6pm. For those that open at 5:30pm, there are a couple of issues that may arise. You need to book a reservation ahead of time. Mind you, we probably decided to eat out at 3:30pm and, of course, they’re not open at that time. While cooks and manager may be preparing their meals at work at that time, they’re not answering calls. So how are we supposed to let them know we would like to be at their establishment in a couple of hours? Also, most of the places we have eaten here have very, very slow service i.e. 45 minutes to get the appetizer out (by the way, appetizers are called entrees here). So let’s say we go to the restaurant at 5:30pm, we may not begin eating until 6:15, 6:30. By that time, LJ is cursing the wait staff off in his baby language. As a result, if we know of a place that has extreme slow service we have to be sure we’re there when the doors open that way we can eat dinner at a decent time. Oh, and what really, really makes this whole eating out experience extra-special sucky, is while Australia tends to be family friendly in every other aspect of life, dining out has been overlooked. Kids menus tend to be non-existent or if there is a menu for children, there are some limited and strange choices like a prawn (shrimp) quesadilla. Come on, really??? It’s great to have adult food choices as part of kid’s menus but how about some normal stuff like grilled chicken and mashed potatoes as a kid serving? Also, whether there is or isn’t a child’s menu, highchairs may not exist or if they do exist, they may have only 1 or 2 highchairs, so guess what, they may be occupied by the time you get there and then you’re stuck with a hungry, tired toddler running around screaming his head off.
And, before anyone says that can’t be possible, guess what – all this happened to us tonight. We went to 3 different places today and we ended up coming home and having leftovers because LJ was hungry and couldn’t wait any longer. Thus, eating out in Australia sucks.
Eating out sucks…