After a lovely Sunday Beach day over Heroes Weekend about week ago, I was adamant that I had to stop by Spring Garden Seafood and Steakhouse on the Bypass Road, Ocho Rios. My visit was well overdue and after a very recent, teasing picture of their Shrimp pasta, I could not let another weekend in Ochi pass without stopping by.
So my friends and I were not in our Sunday best but entered Spring Garden at 6:45pm. Our greeting was alright and we were asked if one of the gentlemen had a shirt with sleeves. The hostess said she would check if it was ok to still enter and came back and said it was fine and directed us to sit by the bar until she was ready to have us seated.
We figured we definitely would not want to go indoors as that would be more formal and had no problem sitting by the outside deck. So when asked our preferred option, we indicated just that and we were seated at 6:52pm and issued our menus.
Our waitress was Regina. She was not pleasant at all. Waitresses should also know how to pronounce ‘Fillet’ fish. We ordered at 7:04pm and no medium-sized (~1 pound) fish were available, so even though I did not want the large, I ordered that. A few minutes later we were told the large had finished as well. Come on now, it is a holiday weekend where it should be expected that Ochi would be flooded with both locals and tourists. I ordered the Grilled Salmon with a side of Baked potato. We also ordered the Crayfish soup and Jerked Salmon. My other friend was not hungry but requested their wine list. He was not impressed at all by the selection. So he didn’t order anything. It was quite limited and most of what was available could not be ordered by the glass. Only Zinfandel and one other were offered by the glass. But in all fairness their bar with rum and other liquor looked stocked!
Anyhow, it took a while to be given water and there seemed to be a roll ration. Instead of putting the basket of bread rolls on the table, Regina walked around to us one by one with the basket and asked, ‘Would you like a roll?’ Hilarious. This was not even done in Jerusalem. So clearly when the answer was no, she moved on to the next person. I regret this choice because what happened if we changed our mind or the food just took long to come out?
Well well well, 7:45pm and not even a soup?! The restaurant was only 3/4 full, not packed. There was only one other table with persons on the deck and they left a long time ago. Do you see anyone else on the deck? I don’t.
Why did we even wait so long? Under normal circumstances we would have voiced our disgust already and left. But it was a holiday. We had friends visiting. There was a lot to catch up on and we were just in relax mode. But this is where it got ridiculous and inexcusable. Regina, our waitress who did not have the decency to follow up with us even once in the past 45 minutes walked leisurely up to the deck, passed us, looked at an uncleared table, said nothing to us, did nothing about the table either and just passed us right back.
At this point we were ready to leave. It was approaching an hour and no food. Not even soup. Not even an apology for having us wait. I walked to the bar to ask for the supervisor/manager. Regina was blending a drink at 7:55pm and still said nothing to me. She was the only one available to ask for the supervisor so I did just that. The manager came and apologised for our wait and said they were plating our food as we spoke. So I said ok but forget about the soup. That would not make any sense now.
Then after an hour, here are our plates!
How filling right? Now I am aware there is a shortage of the usual sized potatoes on the island but I was paying the same price for my dish including that side. They should have put the same serving, hence 2 small potatoes to make up for the shortage.
Disgraceful service and serving size. If we were allowed to dine in casual wear at the restaurant, we should have been treated like anyone else if that was a factor any at all that triggered inside Regina’s head.
The quality was decent. I appreciated that they did not overcook the salmon like most restaurants. The sauces were good as well to complement the salmon.
Spring Garden doesn’t seem to have a bad reputation out there but I have no desire to return or recommend them. Hopefully they can get it together within the next two weeks and have a serious talk with and/or train their staff.
The silver lining? Usually after such horrible service where diners are not pleased, something complimentary is offered. Nothing was offered. But thanks Pop-Up Gourmet Jamaica for my Advantage card, giving me my 10% discount. We dine out very very regula!