Talk of continental restaurants in Chennai and 90% of the people would talk of Eden.
Eden started out as a small outlet in Adyar more than 6 years ago and its food became the rage in a Chennai starved of good continental restaurants.
The food was touted as some of the best in Chennai and its prices were very friendly, friendly enough even on the stretched strings of college goers.
Its reputation soared and its publicity was mostly through word of mouth.
And then the owner had to go and open another outlet at Harrisons, a hotel near the more known Aruna Inn (which was home to one of my favourite discs previously).
Service standards have deteriorated and the food has become passable. Lots of people still rave about it, but these usually are people who have just begun to eat at Eden. For old-timers like me who used to insist on Eden every time I visited Chennai, it is a nose-dive from the perfection we came to expect from them.
The worst experience at Eden however was a recent one. Last week, I decided to go there for lunch with a friend around 12:00 PM (I had a conference call around 1:30 ) and we were shown to a table. The orders were placed and the food was served around 12:30.
I ordered Corn Florentine (a dish that has been eulogised by atleast two bloggers I know) and my friend their pasta with ariabetta.
The waiter came across with the corn florentine and there was actually a strand of hair that was baked to perfection in the dish. I shouted out in dismay as soon as he put in front of me “It’s got a hair in it!” and he looked at me in a way reserved for the really insane customers.
A supercilious sneer in place, he went into a hurried conference with an important looking person by a counter. Another not-so-important person joined them and soon I was subject to glares of accusal, though what they were accusing me of I could not ascertain.
I heard the third person state ,”No, replace the dish!” and this put me on red alert…were they actually thinking of giving me the same dish? My eyes were glued to the hairy dish now and I couldn’t look away.
I waited for a further fifteen minutes and while waiting realised something was wrong in this scenario.
“Did you realise that no one apologised for this?”, I asked my friend who was by now almost through with his food.
“Maybe they want to place the new dish in front of you and then apologise”.
The new dish came through, was plonked unceremoniously in front of me and the waiter stomped off. I was taken aback and wondered why I was putting up with it, but I was starving and had to rush back to the office, so just ate the food, wondering if service standards had fallen that much.
Unfortunately I have noticed that service standards in Chennai are way below acceptable levels in most parts of the country and I wonder if we have allowed them to get away with such customer service simply because we are all too busy to complain/too generous to want to cause trouble/too lazy to even notice!