The Observatory – unfortunately was the location the only thing above the clouds
Another Thursday night often means another review from Servicexcellence, so here we go.
This time we were looking for a special venue, with a nice view, good food and of course good service. Located in one of the tallest tower managed by JW Marriott, we thought that The Observatory would be the ideal place to spend a Thursday night at. A combination of a restaurant and a stylish bar on 52nd floor, between clouds and sky scrapers.
The table reservation was quite easy and we even managed to get a table at the window, however we showed up for dinner only at 9pm – most of the guests were about to finish their dinner and headed over to the bar, when we arrived.
Up on arrival, we were nicely greeted and lead to our table. However we decided to check out the whole floor first and had a drink at the bar prior to dinner.
The bar designed in black, red, and orange colors looked very stylish at the first glance. However we soon realized the TVs hanging on the wall, showing sport programs on one if them and MTV on the other one, as well as the majority of guests in the bar were British tourists and expatriates. Going deeper and deeper into the bar, the stylish location looked more like a Pub than one of Dubai’s hotspots. The TVs showing MTV was also the only thing related to entertainment, as they neither in the bar, nor in the restaurant had any background music playing.
It was loud and smoky, so we took our drinks and went back to our table in the restaurant. The friendly waitress Miss R. came, greeted us and handed over the food menus and one copy of the beverage menu. She offered us some water and left. The choice of food was very limited, and not too appealing unfortunately. We made up our mind and decided to go for grilled Halloumi, lobster chowder soup, duck (medium) on steamed vegetables and sea bass as main course. Miss R returned after a while, took our order and handed over the wine menu.
The venue as said is stunning and the view amazing, this might have also been the reason while guests kept passing by, standing next to our table taking pictures out of the window every other minute. At the time we started our dinner, there were only four other tables occupied, therefore service was fairly quick.
Miss R returned to our table, place a bread basket, with 3 pieces of olive bread – well fair enough it was only the two of us – served our wine and left again. The bread was served warm with butter and olive pesto.
Twenty five minutes later our starters arrived. The Halloumi was up to expectations and the soup was good as well. So far so good up to the point when we got our mains, where it went all down hill.
The sea bass was not as crispy as expected and served on steamed peas and cooked – semi grilled potatoes. The first bite of the duck, ordered medium, was chewy, the second and last bite was horrible. The duck breast seamed to be still rare and tasted bloody. The other piece of the duck unfortunately did not taste any different.
I cannot remember the last time I sent something back to the kitchen, but last night to be honest, unfortunately I lost my appetite. After a while Miss R returned to check up on us. She asked if everything was okay and I told her that the duck tasted like blood and I could not eat it at all. She looked at me with eyes wide open, and left. Two minutes later another waitress came, asked again what was wrong with the duck, I told her it was chewy and tasted like blood and she said: “I will take it away.” , ignoring that half of the sea bass has been left over as well, she shook her shoulders, rolled her eyes, took the duck and left. Problem solved – yes for the two ladies it was. However, being a guest who gives honest and constructive feedback, I would have expected a bit more in terms of complaint handling…
The duck was taken away and the food complaint ignored. We decided to try the bar again and to finish our wine there and headed off.
Unfortunately, it did not play any music still and due the fact that It was packed, it was very loud in the bar. We saw some empty chairs in the other side of the restaurant and asked the first waiter, and then the second and the third one if we could have some chairs at the bar area. The second bar area, for smokers was the former Tepaniaki grill of the restaurant, where the Tepaniaki and the fan were taken out and replaced by bar stools.
Finally we managed to get a second chair and as no waiter took our order, we went to the bar to order one more drink for the night. After twenty minutes and after following up ourselves, the drinks arrived. When we asked for the bill, it came within seconds, and to our surprise the duck was taken off.
The Good: well the location without doubt is amazing. And the interior design looks very elegant yet stylish.
The Bad: the way the food complaint was handled was disappointing. Taking it off the bill was an easy solution, but not what we would expect when it comes to high quality customer service.
Not too sure if we will come back again, but if not for the food or the service, maybe to take out friends from oversees for a picture taking tour out of the window.