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.