Our need to support almost everything Ghanaian or African has turned us into the acceptors of all things terrible and mediocre.
I jump at the least opportunity to share my Ghanaian heritage with anybody especially non-Africans. A couple of my friends wanted to try a new cuisine and I was quick to suggest the delightful dishes originating from West Africa but as usual my people did not seize to disappoint.
The embarrassment I have suffered from several African establishments should have served as a lesson but like a sheep being led to the slaughterhouse, I still chose my people and ended up with the worse experience I have ever had in a restaurant.
I have visited three restaurants in the past couple of months namely Fourth Garden and Presidential restaurant, both located in South London with the third being Kate’s Café in East London .
Although there were many faults with all three restaurants, the one thing I couldn’t stand and the main reason why I will not be visiting these establishments again is the zero customer services offered by them.
The least any establishment can do is to recognise its customers when they walk into their premises but that curtesy was not afforded to us in any of the establishment with Presidential being the worse.
At Presidential we stood around for several minutes before someone came from the back to inform us that we were in the take away section of the restaurant. We moved to the eat in section where after sitting for over 40 minutes we were told they have run out of the food we ordered. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the restaurant couldn’t offer more than half of the things on the menu with even a staple of many Nigerian restaurants, jollof rice being unavailable.
Fourth Garden served us an overripe fried plantain with the plantain so soft that they fell under their own weight. The tilapia which accompanied the plantain was clearly taken from the fridge and had to be microwaved again after it was served to us cold. It seems serving cold food to customers is a regular occurrence at the Fourth Garden with one customer lamenting online about the same thing.
One of my favourite starter, turkey tail aka Chofi was not available but again like Presidential the waitress had to inform me several minutes after I have ordered my food and settled down.
I should have heeded to the advice of a reviewer called PhilM-159 on yelp and avoided that restaurant but somehow I thought “well that was in 2017, surely things have changed” How foolish of me to have assumed that.
According to PhilM-159, he will give the restaurant “1/10 (for) service, 1/10 for food (and) 1/10 for manners”.
He complained about the restaurant not issuing a proper receipt, something we also experienced.
The only place where I couldn’t fault the quality of the food was Kate Café but it still suffered from the same disease like the other two.
At Kate’s we had to find a seat ourselves then go back to the counter to order our food.
Although we ordered all the food at the same time, two of the orders took so long that by the time it was served all the other people have finished eating.
We ordered some palm wine and was offered a warm one. Granted the person at the till offered to place it in the refrigerator, he wasn’t able to and had to be reminded after several minutes.
The place looked understaffed and it was clear that they were stretched on the day I visited although having just one person on tills when clearly the place is packed was baffling to me. One person later joined but still he was supporting partially since he had to juggle taking orders and whatever else he was trying to do.
Overall my experience in these establishments were appalling and frankly thought they could have done better.
Would I advise anybody who isn’t Ghanaian or African to visit these restaurants? The answer is an emphatic no but if you are Ghanaian or African and you had no choice then maybe you can visit Kate’s just for the food. I recommend the kelewele as starter with a mixture of friend yam and plantain topped with chofi as your main but my brother or sister be prepared to wait.
Next week I am trying out a Nigerian restaurant on Old Kent road London called 805 and I will keep you guys updated about my experience.
What has been your experience in an African establishment abroad? Let us know in the comments section.