When you go to a restaurant like Sydney’s Quay – regularly ranked among the world’s best – you expect a peacable environment and top-class food, right? A friend of the Prick reports that on a recent evening, he and his guest got the latter in spades. But the former? Not so much, as his letter to the restaurant’s manager — shared with this site as three weeks later it has not yet garnered a response — demonstrates. As he writes, “How extraordinary not to receive a reply to this”:
On Friday evening [4 January], I dined at Quay with a visitor from the United States. I chose your restaurant because I regard it as one of the iconic Sydney establishments; perhaps the best from which to enjoy a panoramic view of Sydney’s jewels while dining on first class cuisine.
In these respects, I am pleased to say the restaurant lived up to the high standard I recall from my previous visit. However, there was one glaring problem – indeed, I imagine you already know what I am referring to, as I suspect I am not the only guest from that evening to write.
We were initially seated downstairs on the bridge side, near a function room. Within minutes of our arrival, loud Middle Eastern dance music began blaring from the room. I ignored it for a few minutes, hoping that it might be the equivalent of a ‘happy birthday’ or some other tradition which would be over in a couple of minutes. Alas, it continued. Eventually, I asked the waitress to move us. She said that no other tables were yet available, but she would move us when possible. After a few minutes more, I decided the situation was intolerable, and walked over to complain to another staff member who promised to send over the maitre d’. This prompted a move to the upstairs room, which was somewhat more quiet for a brief period, although music was still audible from the wedding. But soon the music upstairs took on a new level of frenzy, and I could see through the window a man banging frantically on a large drum. This appalling racket continued almost until the end of the night.
The staff on the night were unfailingly professional and apologetic, and the maitre d’ informed us that they had no idea that the wedding would involve such a barbaric cacophony. However, while I understand the reluctance to intervene to curtail the festivities of a wedding reception, the impact on diners such as myself was substantial – as evidenced by the number of other diners I heard complaining to your staff. I paid well over $600 to provide a foreign guest with an impressive experience, only to be embarrassed when the restaurant I advised her was one of the best in Sydney was unable to provide anything resembling a pleasant dining environment. The whole experience was surprising from Quay, very disappointing and, frankly, unacceptable.
The Prick knows the correspondent well and has no doubt that his account is genuine. What do the folk at Quay have to say about this? I know they do weddings all the time, and to be fair, they likely didn’t know what this particular party would entail.
But it also does not seem fair to all the other (heavily) paying customers to subject them to someone else’s racket.