Restaurant reviews

The HoS reports:

Critics are amazed a magazine has named a restaurant as one of Auckland’s top 50 within days of opening for business.

Botswana Butchery opened to the public on March 22. Eleven days later,  included it in the magazine’s annual top 50 list.

The restaurant, which has received lukewarm , is a branch of a successful establishment of the same name in Queenstown, and Metro editor Simon Wilson conceded it was in the top 50 partly on faith it would succeed in Auckland.

Personally this devalues any worth from having a list of top restaurants. Maybe for McDonald’s restaurants you can judge one restaurant off one in another city, but how on earth can you for what is meant to be a top restaurant?

“They have a universally highly praised restaurant in Queenstown. We would be surprised if Botswana Butchery in Auckland fell apart.”

So the Metro list is based on assumption?

NZ Herald reviewer John Gardner gave the food an eight out of 10 but the service a six. He wrote a waitress couldn’t tell him about a dish without first returning to the kitchen to ask about it.

Herald on Sunday food critic Peter Calder gave it 3 stars and noted two dishes destined for his table went to a neighbouring one. “It all seemed a bit Fawltyesque for a branch of an established operation,” he wrote.

This week Calder also said he found the restaurant’s email-only booking system “colossally rude and unprofessional”. Another critic, David MacGregor wrote on the Unscrewed website: “When quizzed the waitress wasn’t able to answer a single question about the dishes.”

Which is why you don’t judge on the basis of a sister restaurant in Queenstown.

Russell Gray, chief executive of the Good Group, which owned Botswana Butchery, said he was pleased to be on a list, despite being open only a short time. “We are not new to the industry, we have been successful in the hospitality game for a long time.”

He said the eatery made the list by passing an “acid test” of a Metrojudge’s visit.

However, he agreed that they were working on improving standards of service.

“We are not trying to be a fine dining establishment, we are a fun dining establishment.”

I did not know the two were contradictory.

Anyway the main point is it is silly to be listing any new restaurant as in the top 50, when they have barely been open a week. A credible list is based on experiences over time.

UPDATE: Another bad review for the “top 50” restaurant here. This really dent’s Metro’s credibility. It is fair enough to have differing views, but if you are going to put a restaurant in your top 50 after barely a week of opening, it should have out of this world service – rather than what appears to be consistently poor service.

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