So I pull into the parking in Fricker Street, Illovo, and head to Grate, the local coffee shop which services mainly the staff at the firm of attorneys nearby, one of the big firms, Webber Wentzel.
I plop myself down at a wet table in the marquee rather than take the few steps up into the brick built shop. This was a mistake. The marquee is the smokers section and it honks every time the man behind me lights up. He is a chain smoker. The waiter also has to go and get a cloth to dry the table. This surprises me. The cloth that every waiter should carry is called a “serviette” (that thing you use for wiping your mouth is a “napkin”) and it should be used for keeping glassware sparkling, but in the event of an emergency, like a wet table, it should be used speedily. The table top is made of very attractive wood.
It is tea time. I order a cappuccino off the menu, and ask for cake. They can’t help me with a piece of cake. No muffin, no croissant, no baked goods. Nothing sweet. A great help for diets, no doubt, but a poor showing for a coffee shop.
I notice that I am offered free wi-fi. I don’t need it, but it is one of the extras one has come to expect of this type of establishment.
My cappuccino arrives. It is hot and not bitter. I am pleased. Bitter coffee is a sure sign that the barista is not keeping the equipment spotlessly clean.
The bill arrives. I have been billed for a large coffee. I didn’t specify whether I wanted a large coffee (R24) or a regular coffee (R20) so I am surprised, more so when I consider the rather small cup of coffee I have just consumed. I ask for the regular size cup to be brought to me. It looks like the one above. I complain. The waiter offers to reduce the price but is sure that the cup he gave me is the large size. He brings the used cup and another clean large one, definitely the size of the cup I used. He assures me that other people have been unhappy about the comparative sizes.
The waiter’s service, and attitude, was superb. Nothing to fault. He is tipped accordingly. There was nothing wrong with the coffee, but the cup size “grated”. Add to that a complete lack of anything sweet to eat at tea time … and all round the experience was not wonderful.
I won’t go out of my way to visit Grate again, but should I find myself there through no fault of my own, I won’t whine too loudly either.