Nino’s Restaurant – The Chameleon That Changes With The Weather

Nino’s was a delightful experience but also a very simple example of the restaurant culture that most South African restaurant patrons can identify with, it was like a two-headed snake. I love food, great ambiance, service and a touch of something unique about the place – give me that and I’ll just keep coming back. I am hoping this is what most people look for in a restaurant too. I have been told I am too much of a critique but at the same token I am the best customer you can ever get.

I had never been to Nino’s before so when I saw one in town I just had to have a feel of the place. It was morning and I had a couple of errands to run in town. I was early, so I decided to have breakfast at Nino’s in the Mutual mall

The place is very cosy and welcoming, the perfect spot for eating during your work break or just for an escape from the busy bustle of the Durban city. Top of my list was coffee I love good coffee and I think it’s what attracted me to Nino’s in the first place. There was a certain coffee bean aroma about the place. On the day they had a special where you get a muffin with your coffee.

I went in and sat myself, a waitress warmly approached me and offered me a menu I looked through it and the omelette took my fancy it reminded me of an omelette I had had once before I thought why not? Let me try it, although no omelette had ever come close to that specific one to date.

When the waitress returned I had changed my mind and asked for her opinion on what Nino’s specialty was? She said Nino’s specialises in everything, the entire menu is great. I replied but that is not possible and proceeded to explain that every restaurant has the one dish that they are well known for, like Spur is popular for its ribs while Wimpy is known for their burgers. She just smiled and insisted it’s all really tasty, I decided to stick to my guns and order the omelette.

The coffee arrived first in a small cup which was about 2 inches tall; I thought oh well lets just hope it’s good. Boy was it great; my first sip was like heaven, I was happy my day had just been made. The omelette took a bit of time to arrive; it had tomatoes and white cheese if I recall correctly. It was a delight simple, warm, tasty and filling. I thought wow, Nino’s is the best.

Little did I know that the day after I would find myself at Nino’s once more this time the tables were turned. I was meeting with a friend and thought why not go to Nino’s its quite new and a lovely place to be.

I was early as usual so got to Nino’s first I sat myself and waited for a waiter who came 15 minutes after to give me a menu and another 15 minutes to take my order and the place was not even busy. I thought wow is this the same Nino’s I was in just yesterday? The service was terrible. I ordered a cappuccino with chocolate which also took ages to arrive I was like what is this? The drink arrived and that was the last I saw of the waiter. My friend Mbuso arrived minutes after having struggled to find parking and first thing he said was nice place. He sat there forever no sign of the waiter until we managed to get the attention of a waitress who called him to our table. The waiter brought the menu and again disappeared by the time he returned we were no-longer interested in food but the bill.

Mbuso thought he might as well get a takeaway shake to drink on the road, he asked the waiter how long it will take to prepare it? To which he replied 5 minutes, we ended up waiting and decided to get up from the table and go to the counter. Mbuso now wanted to cancel the order because he was running late. They insisted it wont be much longer but the place was so unorganised they hadn’t even processed our bill when they did it was the wrong bill. They asked us what we had as we waited at the counter it was chaos and irritating. Eventually they finished making the shake and gave us the correct bill.

It was like I was at a totally different restaurant from yesterday, everything was upside down. But the worse part of it was the supervisor she was obviously overwhelmed. I remember her disciplining and shouting at a customer who had come to order a meal she explain that the meal/s had to be ordered a day in advance so they have time to prepare it. She added customers end up blaming them for bad service when they are the ones who place orders late or do not know what they want. I was like wow this is not the way to talk to your customers, but kept to myself.

My second day at Nino’s tarnished my image of the service at the place. So, if you end up there make sure you don’t sit back when things take a bit too long because you might just be sitting there throughout your lunch break instead of enjoying your meal.

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