We had one really disappointing dining experience while we were in Beechworth. This was it.
While we’re on our epic drive, I get a call from the restaurant asking us to confirm our lunch at 1.30pm on Saturday. Uh, what? We booked through Dimmi for 7pm on Saturday. The person on the other end of the line tells me this is why they ring to check – but this is weird, because we used Dimmi to book for Provenance and there was no issue. She says it’s tight, but they expect to be busy so they can still fit us in for 7pm. Great – sorted.
We take our seats in the small, very dark restaurant. I like the fit out, with bench seats along the walls and a bar area in the middle which leads into the kitchen. We order our wines and peruse the menu.
Our wines take a long time to arrive. A really long time. We’re also the only table without water, and have to remind them to bring it to us. When our waiter takes our order, she asks me twice but still doesn’t understand what I say (“sirloin”), and we watch her return to the kitchen to check the menu, and then return to ask me how I’d like it cooked (rare). This is fine – at least she checks.
The eventual wine servings are generous, but once we finish our water and ask for more, we’re poured glasses – no bottle is left. These things are fine on their own, but the combined inconsistencies are frustrating (especially when you’re thirsty!).
Maybe it’s due to the booking weirdness, but I think there’s an extra table in the restaurant tonight. Twice, we’re almost served our neighbour’s dishes, and the staff are often counting the tables.
It’s a long wait between our order and being served – we’ve only got the one dish each, after all – but eventually they emerge.
Boyfriend’s pan-seared barramundi is served on top of polenta. For $32, I’d expect this to be pretty special, but it’s flavourless.
The black angus sirloin is charred over pinecones. The potato fondant hasn’t been cooked long enough, and the charring of the sirloin has brought it to medium, not rare. The cafe de paris butter has been pulled straight from the fridge, and doesn’t ooze over the steak like I’d expect – and there’s been no effort in the ingredients. The pine mushrooms add nothing.
What’s worse – the steak is tough and chewy. It’s a disappointing dish.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, the kitchen starts smoking. Really smoking. This happens (and in my house it happens every time the stove is on) to even the best chefs… but it goes on and on; everyone notices, and there’s no explanation. The door’s chocked open, so the freezing temperatures from outside come through, and customers throughout the venue shrug on their jackets. A quick explanation would have been enough – we’ve already noticed it, so you might as well explain it. We could even have a short laugh about it.
I’m not one to leave a lot of food on my plate, but I barely get halfway through this meal. I can’t do it. To one of the staff’s credit, she asks me if there’s something wrong, and I tell her that it’s tough and overcooked, but that’s that. We ask for the bill, and after we get it, wait so long that we find cash, leave it on the table, and see ourselves out.
This is my first trip to Gigi’s, and I get that it might have been a very busy night for the staff, but there’s nothing I can recommend. The menu is appealing but it’s for nothing when there’s a lack of execution on the floor and in the kitchen.
The following day, I get an e-mail – “We would really like feedback on your meal” – and I write them with the above to their e-mail address. I’ve heard nothing since – maybe they didn’t really want feedback after all?
Date: Saturday, 19 April 2014
Where: 69 Ford Street, Beechworth
Cost: $88 for two mains and two glasses of wine
Value for money: Low – these are pretty high prices for not much
Worthwhile factor: Not worthwhile
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