In my last piece, I wrote about the University Club of WA, one of two clubs I'm a member of. The restaurant there was very good.
Review: Lunch at The Western Australian Club
This time I'm commenting on lunch at the The Western Australian Club. I'm a member there, too. But alas, my experience was not that good.
Last week I outlined criteria that I use consciously or unconsciously to evaluate a restaurant experience. My ratings of The Western Australian Club against these criteria are as follows:
-Parking – 4
-Fit out – 3
-Atmosphere – 2
-Speed of service – 3
-Informed service – 3
-Appeal of the menu – 2
-Standard of the wine list - 3
-Quality of food – 2
-Price - 3
-Overall experience – 3
The Western Australian Club touts itself as being a prestigious venue. In my view, there is nothing prestigious about it - and there is a complete failure to set a standard. Perhaps this is why there were only four or five tables occupied at lunch on a Friday in the middle of the city, at a location with stunning views.
It is mediocre!
Parking is readily available across the road at the Concert Hall and is relatively inexpensive.
The fit out is sterile and there is a lack of atmosphere. It is presentable, but there is no warmth or theme to bring it all together. It is an upmarket cafeteria.
The service is adequate while not being outstanding. The staff are engaging and there were plenty of them, but the service did not leave an impression. It was okay.
The menu appears not to have changed for some time and was less than inspiring. As a vegetarian, I opted for the only vegetarian option, gnocchi. It was entirely uninspiring. My colleague opted for a more elaborate meat dish, which he described as ordinary. The cheese board, while lacking originality, was very nice. The peppermint tea was peppermint tea.
This was not a meal I would remember or recommend to anyone. It was mediocre, and as Seth Godin asks, "who recommends a mediocre restaurant?" No one!
My colleague described the wine list as good and the wine he drank, a Gilberts Riesling, as outstanding. Judging from the nose, I would suggest it was.
For the value delivered, the meal was expensive. At about $30 for a main course, the food was not expensive, but for the quality of food, service and the overall experience, the cost was too high to describe as offering value for money.
The Western Australian Club restaurant is an opportunity lost!
It is a fantastic location with beautiful views. It is in the centre of the city close to the business community. Despite this, and the financial incentives offered to members to eat there, just five tables were occupied at lunch on a Friday.
This may well have been influenced by the low standard of piano skills demonstrated by the live entertainment. Live entertainment is a great idea, and a real point of difference, but it has to be of a higher standard if it is to attract patrons.
This restaurant looks, feels, sounds and tastes like a venue that desperately needs to be run by a professional restauranteur, rather that a committee that knows nothing about quality. This is even more so when many of the patrons are likely to know a great deal about quality.