The disappointment of being disappointed

Ok, so yes, I was warned. But I also saw it listed on the top 20 restaurants on Eat Out’s website. And perhaps that in itself is a lesson, although I really hope not as I have a few more on that list to tick off. But Jardine on Bree was unfortunately, a disappointing experience. With all honesty, I can give both the food and the service almost full marks but in my desperate attempt to put my finger on what exactly was missing, I find myself more and more disappointed

While not as bad as my disappointment when I watched the final episode of LOST, the fact that Jardine didn’t live up to my expectation has left a rather sour taste in my mouth. I don’t want to give them a poor review, which I believe they don’t (and couldn’t possibly) deserve… but in my quest to be polite about the experience I’m finding myself making excuses (perhaps Bree street is busier during the week?) and even tempted to give them another chance. I mean SURELY, a restaurant on the Top 20 list must obviously tick all the boxes of food, service AND atmosphere?

I was looking forward to a welcome drink in the bar downstairs, but being empty our hostess (was that a real british accent?) immediately took us to our table upstairs without even asking if we’d like to lounge. Minus 1.  The restaurant is stark, there’s no doubt about that with interesting (and by interesting, I mean I really liked it) pieces of art. By my own admission, we booked a balcony table to have a quiet dinner, but as a result it didn’t allow for any of the welcome buzz from the open plan kitchen that both Jardine and Jordan Restaurant both have.

Call it the end of the month, but I’d had a peak at the wine list during the week and noticed a bottle of Graham Beck Brut Rose bubbles for R490. I had bought this same bottle at the Robertson Wine festival for R95. The rest of the list is similarly inflated, although I would’ve had the Lammershoek Roulette Blanc (R220) if we didn’t have bottles of it at home compliments of the owner and winemaker. I know it’s not very pc, but we opted for the R50 corkage and took a bottle of Springfield Whole Berry instead. (I checked, and it wasn’t on their list).

We had booked for the Spring Special menu – R180 for three courses. Of which there are no options, just three courses. Even after we had looked at the a la carte, we still thought those three courses sounded the best and so after our amuse bouche (which was a gorgeous start) we were served our Duck Terrine. The restaurant filled up, and our waiter excused himself politely before interrupting us (at every course).  Rump was for main. While initially shocked at the size of the portion, it was excellently prepared and tasted heavenly. However I think it lacked creativity and was rather unmentionable. Even though I just mentioned it. Two icecreams and a sorbet for desert later, we were onto our cappucinos.

We left by 10 ish, without even a thought of a whiskey in the (still empty) bar downstairs. We were disappointed. I still am. And while the “told you so’s” and nods of agreement confirm that noone has had an amazing experience there, I still feel let down. Perhaps we can blame the prices, or the part of town – but even with the great food and friendly service, the lack of atmosphere is what fails Jardine in my books.

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