Like most of Gauteng I eventually fled the Christmas box brigade and went off to the coast this festive season. Like most visitors we arrive at the coast with teeth sharpened and looking forward to a good feast. Alas, we forget one thing: most of these guys make money only in the tourist season and so try to pack the tourists in like sardines and then proceed to milk them dry.
Take the Cornuti restaurant in Knysna, for example. Gautengers love this place. On our first attempt to get in for lunch we were told we would have to wait up to 45 minutes. Apparently the Cornuti in Plettenberg Bay is the same. Plus, Cornuti Knysna is in a magnificent setting: the Heads in Knysna have great views of the sea and lagoon. You want to just sit there and soak it in.
Unfortunately the service at this overpriced restaurant is appalling and the food among the worst I tasted this holiday. It took 35 minutes to get our drinks and another hour to get our food. Amazingly, after taking so long to prepare, the food order was completely wrong. The menu says linguine but they act surprised when you ask why you are getting soggy short pasta. We had a waiter who had been on the job only two days and he seemed to have more tables than every other waiter in the house. He wafted about happily, showing off to customers that he could spell: he had the word penis scrawled down his arm. I mean, really.
I blame the management. Even though the waiters and kitchen staff could not handle the huge volumes coming through the door, the managers kept packing the punters in. Service and quality suffered, but that didn’t seem to matter. The prices were shockingly high and the tills were ringing, so I guess that meant things were okay for them.
Happily the East Head Cafe across the car park, though just as busy, was far better staffed for the high season. Service was excellent. The place is busy yet the maitre d’ and the waiters kept on top of it. The food was extremely good and the views from the deck breathtaking. The menu is largely seafood and comes at reasonable prices and is fabulously fresh. My daughters loved the prawns and traditional fish and chips.
My lovely wife and I also discovered a nice rose, the Waterford Estate Rose-Mary 2010. It was recommended by the management, and what a find for a pleasantly hot afternoon of lazing and watching the slow life go by. It is always nice to get the personal touch from a restaurant.
The East Head Cafe in Knysna is really lovely. It is certainly a restaurant to enjoy and toast this New Year.