Caveau, (non) wines and a lithping waitress

Had dinner last night with some friends, marketing guru and gentleman Lord Chris Rawlinson and a friend of his who I can’t mention because of his close relationship with a magical Ginger. No wait, I could mention his name just not that the Ginger was breaking up with Emma Watson. I don’t know, all very confusing.

Anyway, we dined at the Heritage Square Caveau after a few glasses of wine at Societi Bistro. He-who-shall-not-named is out from England and I was introducing him to some local wines. We started with some Sauvignon Blanc, the Klein Constantia 2009 from the KC range, which is a lovely entry level wine to introduce someone to Constantia Sauvignon Blanc. The Oak Valley 2009 was another excellent cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, this showed a tight minerality which let it stand out from the Klein Constantia. We went on to taste the Raats Original Chenin Blanc 2009 which I love, typical Chenin with guavas, melons, pears and a refreshing acidity. Then we had a quick glass of the Thelema Mountain Red 2008 which is one of my top good-value-go-to-reds. It’ll hardly dent your wallet, offers good fruit flavours and is off the charts on the quaff-O-meter. The Pom was impressed. Off to Caveau.

All was going well until our waitress at Caveau opened her mouth, and I’m not talking about her lisp. This is what happened:

I was casually paging through the wine list when I could sense something behind me, it was our waitress – who was hovering like a fly above a turd – looking over my shoulder. This annoys me. I turned and looked at her, “Yes?” She stared at me for a second and then realised why she was hovering, “Have you dethided what you’re drinking?”

“No, I am still reading through the list, thank you.” Hover hover hover. “I’ll call you when I’ve decided,” I said through a grimace.

She wandered off only to return a few minutes later to resume her hovering. I gave in and ordered a bottle of the Warwick ‘Professor Black’ 2009 and the Grangehurst Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2001.

Now I have had problems with Caveau’s wine list in the past. Once it took me four choices before I found a wine that was in stock (that was about two months ago) and I noticed that the list looked worryingly similar. The wine arrived and lo and behold it was a 2002 and not the 2001 I ordered. I asked the waitress to check if there was any 2001 left. There wasn’t. I was a trifle annoyed as I make sure our wine list (Mama Africa) is up to date, and we do not sell ourselves as a ‘wine bar’. I told the waitress, in a pleasant calm voice, that it is pretty unacceptable for their wine list to be that out of touch with the reality of their cellar. “The ownerth waiting for the end of the month when priceth go up to change the litht,” was her reply.

That was the most piss poor excuse for not keeping a wine list up to date I had heard, until I told her it was a terrible excuse that is. Because after explaining, much slower now, that this is just laziness as the list has been like this for some time, she prattled off this wonder: “Well you’re not the one who hath to keep re-printing the lithth are you?”

I will not abbreviate here. What. The. Fuck.

I, with eyebrow raised and tone hardened, explained that I am indeed the person who reprints a wine list when vintages change or a wine comes off. Not thinking to ask where I work to maybe calm the situation down a tad she simply looked at me and said, “Well your wine lith ith probably not ath extenthive ath ourth.”

I told her that her job as a waitress was not to argue but to nod and smile, take our orders, bring our wine and not to hover. I then kakked out the manager who took my email address and promised to follow up. We shall just have to wait and see if that happens.

The dinner was OK. To start I had spicy Cob strips that were decent but I wouldn’t recommend them. There was one fillet on the table and two sirloins . Mine was cooked properly and had good flavour, but for R140 it was a little over priced. The Warwick which I normally enjoy didn’t show as well as normal, probably because of the excellent Oak Valley we had earlier in the evening. The Grangehurst was a little disappointing, I have had their straight Cab 2001 which was excellent. This one had all the right flavours and the tannins had mellowed with age, but it just didn’t follow through. It started of so well, still a nice touch of acidity, and then the tobacco, dark sour cherry and pencil shavings spread over the palate at which point I thought it would go on and on lingering in the mouth. No such luck. I guess you could compare it to a guy who, all excited and enamoured, begins to pull into a woman and then sees an adams apple protruding. He would pull up short just like the Grangehurst did.

I won’t be going back to Caveau any time soon. It really is not rocket science to keep a wine list up to date, and as a restaurant that prides itself on their wine selection this is really unacceptable. And when a smartass lisping waitress tries to argue with her customers, well then you’ve got as much chance of me coming back for seconds as I would to a woman who gives me crabs.


6 thoughts on “Caveau, (non) wines and a lithping waitress”

  1. Well said! Caveau used to be awesome back in the day. But since Faizel (sp?) and all their decent staff left a while back I’ve heard nothing but complaints from anyone that’s been there. One only has to drive past the place during the day to see the difference. It used to be packed full of locals form the business district and nbow you can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through it. Guess Brendon and Jean just don’t give a damn about the quality of the place any more. I certainly won’t recommend the place to anyone any more – there are dozens of other restaurants in the city with food that is equally as good, service that shines and wine lists that are more extensive and quite often a good deal cheaper too.

  2. Chrithe I thought that was the funnietht blog, pity I didn’t read it before the latter one. Where is Faizel’s new place?

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