Stacked Dorado and Service Experiences

Just had a real pleasure here while still in Umhlanga, South Africa. I have a few hours to kill before starting the northward journey and headed to the mall here near the hotel. I had wandered a few times though the 400 or so shops the Gateway offers and it is impressive too but also very busy which is a good sign of course. There are food courts like I know from other places and the section with more sit down restaurants as well but so far I had not found anything which actually excited my palate. Not that it takes too much to do that at times…

This time I found the Cape Town Fish Market which is a chain here in South Africa and since I am at the sea I thought I’d change tact and try some other animal. It is lunchtime here and a bit quieter than the evenings are I can guess but sitting on the veranda overlooking one of the water events the mall offers is nice since it is drizzling out as well. So looking for a place to sit, enjoy the last 90 minutes of my stay here and perhaps something interesting to eat I chose this  place. 

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Sushi appears to be really popular here but I did not venture to the many sushi bars with their belts passing by with numerous plates of great looking food. That is something I seem only interested in when with others. Sitting there alone just seems kind of, wrong. So a table it is and I quickly chose the Stacked Dorado with the vegetable side. It read well on the menu and I knew better to stay away from the platters although they may have been equally delicious, just the amount of food would have been too much. Portions here in Durban are very generous. Not quite the American style or size but they are not small. My dorado was two pieces with spinach in the middle and topped with a dried tomato mix. Wow. The grilled fish, the lightly brown vegetables and with the sourness of the dried tomatoes was just what I needed. Truly a pleasure which I will go to Tripadvisor and add my comments to as well. 

Perhaps on top of the food and the taste lingering in my mouth now is the level of service in this establishment as well which has impressed me. As my personal and professional interest of quality of service offered to clients I am always looking, observing and collecting experiences all the while. I must say I have not been too impressed with the focus or interest on providing service to customers while here. From the hotel to the restaurants and other places I have been there has been a general “yes I have a job” approach. Service personnel generally meandering through a place but rarely making eye contact with customers or offering to help. Yes, the small shops and stands have the general hawk eye type of staff always looking for its prey but in general it has been pretty poor. 

Now, this is not a blanket pass at South Africa. I have seen far too little while here. This microcosm of north Durban is not enough to pass judgement on an entire country. But the staff here has been the total opposite. Actually, nothing special, just doing the level of job I would expect in a normal place. The waiters here, although the food impressed me still come at times to the table with trays and the food or glasses on them and times just carrying the plate in their hands. Probably it is just easier? Nevertheless, I have seen another side of service in South Africa. I must see more. What this tells me is that those individual experiences people have with businesses do count but they can be overcome. Service is never perfect every time but having a general definition of the quality of service is necessary. 

Bring me some more food!

posted in Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa (near Durban)

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