Pier One at the Casino is Hobart’s premier waterfront restaurant and bar. It says so on the menu. We were there for a Christmas function. Dozens of faxed menus had been inspected before a consensus decision to book. But imagine my surprise when the staff acted as if we’d poohed our pants when we first rocked up. Sneering waitresses who looked pissed off already.
I was less than impressed when our waitress tried to “up-sell” by offering flat bread for the whole table (i.e., pizzas … why can’t they just call them pizzas?). I suggested people could order their own. When she thought I wasn’t looking, she asked someone opposite me the same question. I looked her in the eye and repeated my original suggestion. Surly look. Maybe I really had poohed my pants.
I ordered two entrées and got on with the serious business of enjoying some wine. I sat with my back to the rest of the restaurant looking out at the water. Nice view, but the novelty soon wore off as my gastric juices began eating through my stomach lining in anticipation of food. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Gee, must be packed, I thought. Nope, not even half full.
Finally my entrée arrived. Half a dozen natural oysters. Mmmm. Tasty. Tasty in the way oysters shouldn’t be. Not off, but had that “sitting in the fridge a few days” piquancy. Ever the optimist, I ate one more and then one more, searching for a nice one. Fool. And then we waited again. And waited. I felt sorry for those at the table who had foregone the entrée, imagining the state of their stomach lining. At least my foul oysters were staving off the gastric acid.
Bored and hungry we approached the bar to order more wine. Ahhhhhh, above the bar like a beacon shone a bottle of Craigie Knowe. And it was the 1999 vintage. Ooooohhh, this could perhaps make up for everything. “We can’t sell it too you. We’re out of stock”. But I’ll just have that one, the one up there. “No we’re out of stock.” But it’s just there! “We’re not allowed to sell it to you”. Right. Now I was angry. I sat and sulked and waited for my bloody next course. I scowled over my shoulder from time to time, silently willing that bottle of Craigie to fly to my side. But when I looked again it was gone. Spirited away and hidden! Right! Now I was furious and sulking. But sulking in silence because I didn’t want my Soft Shell Crab to be spat on.
Finally the food arrived. The Soft Shell Crab came as a quarter of a small crab wrapped in an attempt at wonton-style pastry. It was surrounded by a slick black moat of black bean sauce, which was unbelievably strong and salty. The crab wasn’t oily, but tasted like it had been cooked in the same oil as last week’s fry-up at the Mustard Pot. Now I felt sick. This was not going well. I spent the rest of the night feeling queasy, and not even a Red Corvette at the Birdcage Bar could save me (what was I thinking?). At four in the morning I awoke feeling decidedly unwell and lay awake until dawn feeling pissed off.
Pier One … Hobart’s premier waterfront restaurant and bar! My arse!