Like Ravenholm, Urban Kitchen might have once been a sole beacon of shining hope for the famished and the hopeless. But, like Ravenholm, it seems to turn into a pretty hellish environ with less-than-hospitable inhabitants in the evenings. A few friends and I used to go there quite often, we’d end up there after some loitering about after work for a beer and some pizza. Even back then, service was always a bit spotty. It seemed that weekday night-shifts were when they brought out the new recruits. “A pitcher please” “A pitcher? we don’t have those ” was an exchange that was had nearly weekly. This was always followed by “those big jugs of beer. you have them, go ask the bar”, and a pitcher at the table a few minutes later. Food was incredibly slow, but we stuck with it. The waiters weren’t bad people. Or, at least, they weren’t downright hostile.
For some reason or the other we switched to other, actual bars after a few months. Aside from the occasional short visit, it was abandoned. Till last week. Last week a group of us decided to go to Urban Kitchen partly because of Malinthe’s insatiable lust for duck pizza and partly because, hell, it was right next door to where we were. How bad could it be? -he thought, while ominous music played in the background.
I couldn’t have been more wrong if I’d chucked a vinegar dipped cat into a vat of baking soda, and then stayed in the same room. Since this is not a local newspaper restaurant review, I’ll list out the details in an orderly fashion, untainted by useless details and ridiculous boot licking.
First, getting the attention of a waiter. It was a fairly average night, not overly crowded but not deserted either. After about fifteen minutes of faffing about, a waiter comes over. We start to recite our orders and he says he’ll be back with his notebook. I haven’t attended hotel school but I’m pretty sure if a table of seven calls you over for the first time, it’s not to ask you about the weather, is it? Maybe we interrupted him in the middle of his bar tending class right before the section on beer containers and pitchers. So we wait.
Another ten minutes. I wave over a waiter after furious gesturing(which, I admit, might have scared them off) for another three minutes at random employees standing around trying to look busy. You know the type. With the expectant look on their faces. I’m waiting on something important, you peasant. Go away with your orders and things. So after the second waiter comes over, I ask him if we can order yet. He says “yes, but you’ll have to wait for your server, because I have to go stand over there and look meaningfully at the pizza oven while occasionally glaring at customers who dare to ask for attention. Gawd, it’s like their parents never hugged them”. Maybe not all of it, but you get the gist.
So we wait for the server to return, later. We order. I try to smile and be polite, maybe he’s having a bad day, be nice to people making your food, blah blah. He goes away, we go back to talking and, our new national pastime, waiting. Hunters are sent out to hunt wild fowl, foragers go in search of herbs. Things are set in motion for us to receive our meal. Soon. In the meanwhile, a manager looking sort comes over to the table and asks, in that tone, if we’ve ordered. Yeah, you know that tone. I know that tone, the dude knew that tone. Oh he went there. “Have you vagrants ordered yet or will I need to call security?”.
I scowl and say yes. I would have liked to kick him back into a pit à la 300, but alas, there was no pit to speak of other than the growing chasms caused by our collective hunger. We could have tried to drown him in stomach acids but that could have gotten a bit messy. Besides, what would we eat with if we dissected ourselves to drown a mere cog in the complex machinery of Urban Kitchen’s inefficiency?
The food actually arrived faster than before. We ate, paid and left. Well, some of us stuck around for about an hour outside because it was raining heavily. In other words, the rain reflected the weight of the burden placed on our minds by the suckage of urban kitchen.
So yeah. Urban Kitchen’s gone from bad to worse in my experience.