Monday, May 13, 2013

Managual Restaurant…A Review

It is a foregone conclusion that on Mother’s Day it will be very difficult to get prompt seating at any reputable restaurant in Chiclayo, so Maribel and I were surprised when we decided to try a new restaurant in our neighborhood and found it to be only half-full.

Managual opened April 27th and based on the quality of furnishings and large seating capacity in three separate dining areas apparently intends to be a contender in the Chiclayo restaurant scene. The interior has a blue-white nautical décor of the Amazon River variety. A connection to the Amazon was further confirmed when the waiter who promptly seated us served compliments of the house siete raices, a liquor common in Amazon jungle towns such as Iquitos, Tarapoto and Pucallpa. Also, listed on the menu is camu camu…one of my favorite Iquitos drinks. There were an unusually large number of employees dressed in white shirts and black pants and seemingly experienced in their duties. So far this was looking like a pretty good choice.

Maribel ordered Causa Ferreñafana while I selected grilled fish. While we were waiting for our food the restaurant gradually filled to capacity, and we watched waiters place additional tables and chairs in aisle areas, making it difficult for staff and patrons to move freely. We began to hear people who had arrived before us complain about not receiving their food. Maribel and I glanced uneasily at each other.

Exactly forty-five minutes after ordering Maribel’s meal was served. It was attractively presented and Maribel said the flavor was not “wow” but okay. The quantity was surprisingly sparse. Five minutes later a woman whom we assumed was either the manager or owner approached our table and asked if I had ordered fish. Five minutes after that a waiter approached and asked the same question. Maribel and I glanced uneasily at each other.

At the one-hour mark, after Maribel had finished her meal my order was served by the same waiter who had seated us. He apologized for the delay, attributing it to Mother’s Day while gesturing at the crowd. I responded that the restaurant was only half-full when we arrived, and that one hour service was not acceptable under any circumstances.  And what was even more puzzling was that two uniformed employees were outside and kept urging passersby to enter even though they could not properly seat nor serve the people already inside.

I had ordered grilled fish fillet with white rice and fried potatoes. What I received was approximately two ounces of fish, a cup of rice and three tiny pieces of yucca. When I finished my meal we half-joked about where to go for lunch.

I can understand a new restaurant being unprepared for a major holiday. That alone would not deter me from going back. It's the skimpy quantities combined with higher prices, and being served other than what was listed on the menu that will keep us from returning. Their advertisement claims they're open 25 hours. I would hope that they use that extra hour to take a fresh look at their operation.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ushering in Mother’s Day at Todos Vuelven

There were Mother’s Day celebrations last night all over Chiclayo. Our group chose to attend a party sponsored by Todos Vuelven, a restaurant that opened recently near our apartment. The advertisement said the party would begin at 9:00pm and conclude at 5:00am. We arrived at 10:30pm and were the first people there.

The reason we chose this location was because they advertised a type of Peruvian music known as vals. The Pisco sour is regarded as the national drink of Peru, and if there is a national music, vals would have to be considered as a contender. Just as it did last night, hearing it brings out a high degree of emotion in Peruvians young and old as evidenced by lusty hand clapping, swaying body movement and a near fanatical expression of patriotism on their faces.

The music began at midnight when about half the tables were occupied. At 1:00am the place was packed and the staff was placing tables and chairs outside on the sidewalk. Though the prices for food and beverage were high, the service was excellent and the festive atmosphere created by the music and patrons was well worth the cost.

The roses given to each mother was a nice touch. Happy Mother’s Day to Marta, Magali and Maribel, and to Joyce, Cindy, Jan, Natalia, Carol, Mary, Rocio, Nancy and all mothers everywhere.