Monday, January 26, 2009
Fat Larrie's, January 25, 2009
We had our regular Komikero meeting yesterday beside Sampalok Lake. It's an artists group that meets there every last Sunday of the month. And ever since we discovered Fat Larrie's across the top of the stairs more than a year ago, we've been going there regularly at lunchtime.
Jonas wrote about them here last July 2008:
And when I have guests from Manila, I would bring them there. I brought my French comics friend Ivan Brun for a snack and a drink there last January 2. See this video? This was shot there.
The last time I was there before yesterday was January 13, 2009 where me, Jonas and Johnny ate and hung out.
I always thought it was one of the better places to eat at San Pablo because the food was great, the service was nothing to complain about, and the ambiance beside the lake was something you can't get anywhere else.
Yesterday we had a particularly large group of people from Manila for a visit and as usual, I brought them to Fat Larrie's for lunch. And it turned out to be the single worst eating experience I've had in any place, be it San Pablo, Manila or abroad.
For one thing, the waiters weren't sure if they could allow us to connect our tables. That was puzzling because connecting tables should be typical for restaurants that receive a large amount of patrons.
They later agreed to connect two tables together. I kept wondering why they were hesitant to do it and later we learned it's about the billing, but more on that later.
For one thing, the waiter had little idea of what was available and what was not. And every order we gave, he kept going back to the kitchen to ask if it was available or not. And it was kind of frustrating that more and more items on the menu were not available on that day.
A friend of mine was kept waiting for 10 minutes before being told that his order wasn't available. Even worse, two guys was told their order wasn't available AN HOUR after they had ordered.
The waiting time was frustratingly long. Some were getting their orders 45 minutes to an hour after they ordered. We were starting to wonder if they were just using one stove in there. Frustratingly, they even brought out an order than nobody ordered. Take note that during our entire time there, nobody else was eating there except us. So we should have had their entire attention.
A few of the guys who had already finished eating wanted to leave and explore the lake and wanted to pay. However, the waiters billed the entire table, including those who haven't even been served their food yet.
I had mine an hour and 15 minutes after I had ordered it, a grilled tuna steak. And even though it took them that long, the steak wasn't even close to being cooked. Only the surface was singed and browned. The inside was still red and bloody all throughout. I thought about returning it and have them cook it, but how long will it take them this time? I decided to eat it. I eat raw tuna anyway whenever I eat sushi. Since it wasn't sushi, it was horrible, but almost everyone was already finished, and I didn't want to hold anyone up.
My friend Jonas got his order an hour and 20 minutes after he ordered it, and he said that it was not completely cooked. Jonas is a normally patient guy, but he was really steamed by this time and was really ready to cancel his order go and eat isaw down the stairs rather than wait another minute. He was already miffed about there not being any softdrinks that wasn't lite earlier on. He had to go to a sari sari store nearby just to get his regular coke in a plastic bag and straw.
To be honest, if we weren't with friends, enjoying each other's company, allowing us to keep our cool and humor, it would have turned really ugly.
I don't know what happened to Fat Larrie's yesterday for them to be so incompetent and lousy with their service. Understaffed? Regular chef called in sick? What? It's never happened before, and I'm really scratching my head over it.
In any case, Fat Larrie's chose the wrongest day of the year for their service to suck because a lot of these guys are bloggers like me, who will not hesitate to write about this experience online.
Me, as a San Pablo resident and host to these group of people, I felt terribly embarrassed. I will no longer be eating there, and neither will my friends.
Fat Larrie Sunday Experience