Saturday, December 14, 2002
Service: * * * 1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *1/2
Babe Count: * * * *
"Excuse me!" I say to the waiter, as he disappears after giving me my bill.
He comes back.
"Uh... I'm just wondering," I say, "whether you've made a mistake on this price." I point to the R17.90 beside the entry that reads 'Snapple'.
"No," he says. "That's the price."
"Hmm. That's outrageous," I say, and pull out my 'Coffee-Shop Schmuck' business card, snapping it down subtly on the billfold. "Can I speak to the manager?"
It's a pity, really, this outrageous price. Cos I've just had the legendary Fournos Half Chicken and Salad, which is one of the best value-for-money meals I've seen in Joburg. With one reservation... the size of the salad seems to be dwindling as the months go by. My salad today was really just a few lettuce leaves, exactly two quarter-tomatoes, and three blocks of feta cheese. That's not a salad in my books. That's garnish.
But the chicken itself is unsurpassable. In terms of taste and tenderness, I have no doubt that Fournos makes the best roast chicken in Joburg.
I'm at Fournos cos I've just been to Stax next door to buy tapes. My sports car still has the original tape deck in it, so I have to transfer my favourite cds to tape to play when Heidi and I drive from Somerset West to Swaziland around New Year.
And I'm popping my car on a train on Monday morning before heading for the airport myself.
The manager arrives. She's the woman who came round a little earlier and asked me if I drive a white BMW. I said no, and she moved on.
"You have a bit of a problem with the Snapple price," she says, smiling slightly.
"Yeah," I say. "But first... did you find the BMW owner? Was there an accident?"
"He was parked next to my BMW, and someone smashed it. They thought it was mine. But it's all right. We found him. Insurance will deal with it. But the Snapple..."
And she went on to explain that the takeaway price is much lower than the sit down price, and that she's now paying almost R10 for a bottle of Snapple, and that she hopes with the improvement of the rand that the price will come down.
Which is cool. She's engaging me in a real explanation, and she's kind and concerned. But most importantly, she's not bullshitting me. She's telling it to me straight. And that's one thing I really appreciate in someone. So I end up smiling and paying the bill feeling satisfied by the Fournos ethic.
I'm packing up my various books and drawing books, ready to speed off home to tape the STEALING BEAUTY soundtrack when the manager arrives with a huge smile on her face.
"This is for you," she says. "Because of the Snapple surprise."
She's given me a bag full of freshly baked chocolate croissants. One of the many other things Fournos is famous for.
So yeah. I go away feeling pleased with the service, and delighted to have some tea later.