This post’s not meant as a specific criticism of either, because this is something I’ve noticed in a majority of restaurants in Melbourne: secret pricing.
The waiter comes to your table. “We’ve got a special today: a two-day roasted venison cutlet served with foraged distressed shard and some embarrassed heirloom vegetables served with a pinot reduction.” OK, you’ve got me interested. But with so many adjectives, couldn’t you have given me a description of the price?
I wonder whether restaurants or waiters think this is tactical. I think some do: the ones where the secret prices are markedly higher than the other items on the menu. But at the two restaurants above, there wasn’t anything predatory about the secret prices. But you did have to ask. And asking is, well, uncomfortable for the patron. It also creates distrust.
If you’ve got prices that you think your customers will be uncomfortable about, that’s probably a problem for your repeat business. If your prices aren’t a dirty secret, there’s nothing to be lost by telling people what they are. Indeed, when waiters do tell me the price of the specials I find it refreshing and a sign of good customer service.
We made this curry last night, mostly improvised. It’s really good! Would be awesome in winter. Enjoy.
Makes 6 good serves
1/6 Japanese pumpkin
1 european eggplant – medium
2 cans of chickpeas – drained
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup hot stock (i.e. Massel “chicken” stock)
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 bottle Patak’s Tikka Masala paste (according to the internet, this is vegan)
100mL cream (if not vegan)
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
Cooked brown rice, to serve
Roughly chop the onion, mince the garlic and fry for a few minutes with the curry paste and some oil.
Dice the pumpkin and eggplant (maybe 1.5cm cubes). Add more oil (quite a bit) and sauté the vegies in the pan to seal for a couple of minutes.
Add the can of diced tomatoes including the juice and the stock. The vegetables should be well covered. (You may need to top it up.)
Bring to the boil then simmer for around 30 – 40 minutes, until the pumpkin is very tender. (For quicker cooking, slice the pumpkin more finely.)
Add chickpeas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add cream (It actually looks quite nice without.)
Serve on a bed of rice with a sprinkle of chopped coriander.