Saturday, 8 June 2013

Eating out in Tassie at Roaring Grill, June 2013

Today’s sermon is not so much a review as an observation.

Recently I joined a Facebook group called Eating out in Tassie. It’s a page for those keen on dining out, and happy to share their experiences at restaurants and cafes around the state, but mostly focuses on Hobart. It currently has 563 members, and is fast becoming the ‘go to’ local internet page for both hospitality staff, and diners.

Basically anyone can have their say on the food, service and the standard of any restaurant. There are no qualifications on who can join the group, other than a shared interest in, or passion for, good food.

Last night was the inaugural get together of the group, and naturally took the form of a meal at a restaurant which received the majority vote by all potential partakers in this first meal out together as being most popular option for all to try out. The winning restaurant was the new Roaring Grill restaurant, on the site of the former Onba, corner of Elizabeth and Burnett Streets, North Hobart.

Around a dozen of us braved the freezing Friday night chill to meet up and check out the food at this new establishment, which is the brainchild of Tony, of La Porcetta fame.

When the plans for this group meal were being hatched, I publicly empathized with the poor chef, knowing he had a large table of Hobart’s most voluble (potential) critics coming to dine there. I think my very words were, “he must be pooing himself” in that knowledge! Yes – maybe everyone would love everything there, but my experience of human beings (for that, read ‘customers’) added to my knowledge of the hospitality industry meant, to me, that the poor chef would be faced with the certain knowledge that much as he would like it to go the other way, there was never going to be any way all people in a large group booking desiring perfection in their meals was ever going to be happy with everything.

Someone’s steak was sure to be under or overcooked. Someone’s perception of some aspect of the meal was not going to be met. It was a recipe for disaster, from the restaurant’s point of view!

Well – did Roaring Grill ever step up to the plate and meet the challenge head-on! And what’s more, they conquered it all!

Absolutely top marks to all staff there, especially our main waitress Sarah, and the two chefs. Nothing was left to chance. Not one aspect of an evening’s dining out (from the customer’s perspective) was overlooked, starting with pre dinner drinks, timely service, food standard and presentation and general professionalism all round.

Providing the table with chef’s complimentary flame grilled bread with butter, oil and balsamic on the side, was a welcome starter too. The second most impressive aspect was when one of the party complained that her seafood chowder wasn’t hot enough. Not only was it whisked off straight away (to be possibly popped into the microwave for a quick zap, I thought to myself) but I believe another completely new bowl of soup was made!

All our food was constantly checked on by Sarah after we’d all been served, then later by chef himself, who came upstairs personally after service to thank us for choosing Roaring Grill as our first dining out destination as a group, then confessing that he had indeed been pooping himself and was extremely relieved we had all enjoyed our food so much.

His piece-de-resistance was the crowning glory of all crowning glories – he asked if anyone was having desserts. When he’d been assured that many would have liked to have one but had no room at all to fit one in, he made the unilateral decision that he would make up one of each dessert on the menu and send them up to us to sample. What a brilliant masterstroke! If anyone had any qualms about Roaring Grill before that (which they didn’t, by the way), they sure as hell didn’t have any afterwards!

We all like a freebie, and this was a magnanimous freebie – and I think, has ensured and sealed the continued loyalty and patronage of the members of Eating out in Tassie who were present.

As we have discussed previously, social media is so all-consuming and instant. With a negative or positive comment on a page such as Eating out in Tassie, you’ll find everyone takes their cue from that, and votes with their feet. Both chefs confessed they watch that Facebook page like hawks to see daily who has eaten where, what they thought of it, and how any complaints are dealt with by restaurants. As they should. You’re an idiot in this day and age if, as a restaurant owner or manager, you disregard this sort of social media and its power. Just because you yourself disapprove of Facebook and don’t use it, doesn’t mean everyone in Hobart does. You ignore it, or react by being critical in return, to your peril.

So, at some later date I will return quietly to Roaring Grill as a ‘normal’ customer, and an unrecognized recipient of the service and food they would usually serve in an everyday situation, without the pressure and awareness of a dozen people potentially running off after their meal and publicly telling all and sundry how disgusting their experience there was!

Roaring Grill – you have well and truly conquered! My heartiest congratulations! I would have bet serious money it wouldn’t happen, but am more than happy to eat humble pie!
Posted on by Rita


La Chienne Shady Lady said...

Ditto Rita. It was fabulous.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I noticed they'd opened for business recently and I'm really keen to try them out. Hobart is crying out for somewhere other than the Ball and Chain to get a great steak!

I had high hopes for the Battery Point Steakhouse and it never lived up to expectations, and my recent experience at The Manor Grill was...well...let's just say I won't ever be going back!!

I think you've pushed Roaring Grill to the top of our 'must visit' list! :)


ps. thanks for the heads up on the FB group!

Rita said...

Thanks Pattie!
Andrew - lovely to see you commenting again. Glad you are heading off to Roaring Grill soon, and that you probably will become a Facebook group member of Eating out in Tassie! I hope the Grill doesn't let you down.

Anonymous said...

The eating out in Tassie facebook page is operated by a small number of imbeciles who do not understand hospitality, and are more interested in posting reviews of bogan bars and mcdonalds than learning about the future of industry.

Anonymous said...

This is the type of superiority that doesn't belong anywhere in the world, Never mind Australia and our egalitarian philosophy!