Barcelona Tapas Bar has been operating for three years in that time we have been there four times. In the early days the service was a hit and miss affair, so my wife & myself, and our son, thought that we would give it another go. I had heard that they had employed a local chef, who has been in the game a long time, and knows his stuff.
A little bit about our previous times at this establishment. The setting in my view would have to be the best in Airlie Beach, its a pity that the service and food didn’t match the setting, but can you get both, of course you can. First time we went there it was for coffee, and a hot chocolate for my son, we couldn’t drink them, and the chocolate was no better, we thought that it was teething problems, as they had only been open for two weeks, no excuse in my books, but my wife has a heart of gold, I am more to the point, why would I waste $4.20 of my hard earned money for a shoddy cup of treacle.
Three weeks later, we went there for dinner, tapas style, they had a chef from Spain come over to prepare the menu for them, should of stayed in Spain. Unappetising, dry, and way over the top pricing. They had employed a local chef at this time, more interested in going for smoke breaks, thank christ he is no longer there.
One afternoon we were walking past, the thought of a glass of shiraz for us was on our mind, so I went up to the bar ordered two glasses, and a hot chocolate for my son, only to be told you will have to order the chocolate at the cafe till and pay there, I was dumbfounded, and politely told him so. First I asked him “is this place two businesses”, answer was “no”, then I said “well I have ordered it from you, you walk over the 8 steps and tell them to make it and I will pay for it here”. I don’t know if that was company policy or not, but you are in business for the customer needs not your own! My son received his chocolate, and we waited 3o minutes for our two glasses of wine, in that time the owner had been over to us twice, to say that it is coming. The owner was more interested in sitting down and drinking with her guests, and it wasn’t because it was busy, only a handful of people there.
One day my wife had decided to go for a run around the boardwalk, I had already gone for my run in the morning, I am sure that is what I dreamt about, but in my view I had already had my daily dose of exercise. So I decided to have a beer, sat down and was totally ignored, should I say something, no I don’t think so. I sat there for Twenty five minutes, yes the people that really know me, say that I am a patient man, My wife had already arrived back, and still no service & no beer. Lets go home, saved myself $7.00.
So we have not been back, until this week. Breakfast, is a difficult meal for us, as why does everyone have the same boring bacon eggs, come on eating establishments and Chefs in the Whitsundays, get creative. We stood in the middle of the restaurant, for two minutes, waiting to be looked after, is two minutes a long time to wait, no and yes, no if they are really busy, but that was far from the case this morning, they had 5 employees all hanging around the coffee machine, and they had looked at us but not one person said anything, until this young guy walked past, who looked like he was still in school, and said “can I help you” sure we would like a table, the reply came back “just sit down wherever you want”. To the management and owners of Barcelona, where does it say just sit down and we will serve you.
We sat down at a table, it was sticky and full of streak marks, come on guys clean with a clean cloth, no excuses here at all. They had four tables in service so not very busy, 13 guests in total. We had a look at the menu, decided what we would have, and had to go up and order it at the cafe, with five staff on I find that pretty unbelievable. my wife choose the Healthy breakfast, with only one poached egg instead of the two eggs, I decided on eggs Benidict with Serrano ham, I asked if the hollandaise was freshly made, “yes was the answer” my son asked for the pancakes with just the syrup, and berries only. I asked for my wife’s coffee, explained how I wanted mine, and my sons hot chocolate, my coffee I am pretty fussy about, in the past I have actually taken my coffee back to an establishment, and said “watch and learn, and made my own”.
The coffee came out, and I was shocked it was smooth, really tasty, and a joy to drink, and for once my wife had nothing to say except praise for the coffee. My son’s chocolate came out, just the way he asked for it no froth on it and just at the right temperature. I was thinking that once we have had breakfast, another cup of coffee would be perfect. Food came out, My wife’s Heathy breakfast came out with ciabatta toast, mushrooms, half a tomato, quarter of an avocado , not one but three eggs. Mine came out, on tasting the hollandaise, is it package hollandaise, I would swear that it was. My son’s pancakes came out, with cream, he didn’t ask for it, just listen to the requests of the customers, they could have dietary restrictions! My son tasted the pancakes, they were dry and old, he had just the one mouthful, I tasted it, dry as well. He couldn’t eat it, tasted more like bread than pancakes.
Not one person came out to see us, even to ask us if everything was alright, a requirement that should be in any establishments employee manuals. My wife’s mushrooms, tasted of lemon, no taste of the mushrooms at all, tomatoes were no different, far to herby, you go out to taste the food, in the Whitsundays we have excellent produce, why destroy it with added ingredients that in my opinion is not needed. Mine, apart from the hollandaise was pretty good, the eggs are just like I like them, soft and runny. We sat there for 15 minutes with dirty plates in front of us, we were going to have another coffee, but where is the customer service, there was none. The school boy, we were most impressed with, we heard him speaking to a couple about Airlie Beach and the area, his knowledge pretty good.
On getting up, a table behind us, got asked is everything alright, so we were totally ignored. Will we go back, for the coffee I will, Breakfast you get what you paid for. Seeing that they have a new Chef on board, I will try out the dinner menu one night, so will keep you all posted. Our account came to $50.50, all in all a very reasonably priced breakfast.
I do believe that they have started a buffet breakfast on a Sunday, from 7.30AM to 12PM, Twenty dollars per adult and Ten dollars per child.