Our one day Dubai experience came to an end. The dessert smelling clothes we wore during the day were changed for clean and fresh ones, and just after sunset we went up the Burj Khalifa followed by having a romantic dinner at restaurant Serafina, an Italian restaurant overlooking at the amazing fountain.
I don’t know if it is really necessary to reserve a table, but we did. When reserving a table, the waiter will ask if you want to drink alcohol. The question feels weird, but is also understandable. Since Muslims don’t drink alcohol, many places do not serve this. Those restaurants that do serve alcohol, such as Serafina, are split up in two sections: a non-alcoholic section for the Muslims and an ‘alcoholic’ section for people that would like to have a glass of alcohol.
A moment of silence and joy
When we took place at our table, it slowly started to get darker and darker. My mind was focused at the waterfront. We had seen the fountain by daylight, but now I was curious about night. Will it be as magical as I thought?
The waiter we had, was very friendly. I am sure he has seen that fountain a million times, but still he could imagine how it was when you see it the first time. He wanted to make this an unforgettable experience for us and so he asked for our camera and made pictures of us in front at the stunning fountain. When the fountain played, everybody was silent. Everybody enjoyed its beauty and its perfection. The fountain dance was choreographed to the music. Every half hour a new song was played with a different choreography. It was amazing to see. The music of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion with the choreographed fountain gave also a touch of romance to the night.
An experience breaking dinner
An amazing view, great location, nice and informal waiter, good weather and nice company; nothing could ruin this night, I expected. We started with ordering some drinks. We sat at the alcoholic section, so alcohol was part of our menu. However, alcohol is rather expensive. One beer costs as much as an ice watery cocktail. The beer was good, but my first cocktail was also my last one.
My boyfriend took the Carpaccio as appetizer, which was according to him good. Since he was satisfied about his dish, I expected that our main course would be as good as the appetizer. And besides, what can go wrong with a salad? Nothing, I suggested, but at Serafina in Dubai, you will be flabbergasted. I ordered the Chopra Salad which contains mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, corn, pear, asparagus, walnuts and lemon vinaigrette dressing. Actually I can better say “should” contain. My salad could be best described as a bag of lettuce, which you buy at the supermarket. Open the bag and put it in a bowl. Use some dressing and ready is your salad! ENJOY!
My salad became a search game. I only saw green leaves. During my search I found a quarter of a cherry tomato, 1/25 part of a pear (I was happy to find something fruity) and no more than a teaspoon of corn. My intensive search did not deliver any asparagus and walnuts. My salad was not more than a bowl of lettuce for which I paid 65 AED (about 16 EUR). In the supermarket I pay not even one euro. Those take-away salads at the supermarket are way better than the salads at Serafina. This salad wasn’t worth a dollar. I cannot believe that such a salad was served.
It was not only me but also my boyfriend who was disappointed. He loves pasta very much. In a good Italian restaurant he expects that the pasta is home made. Before ordering he asked the waiter if the chef made the pasta himself. The answer was yes, it is home-made and fresh, but the truth was that the ravioli was not more than ready to eat pasta. But this was not his only disappointment. The dish was small for a main course. Compared to the carpaccio the ravioli could have been an appetizer too.
Bad behavior hurts
While I was busy doing my salad research, my boyfriend finished his small plate. A waiter picked up his plate. I waited for a few minutes until I quit my research. My bowl of lettuce wasn’t empty yet, but lettuce with too much oil will hurt my stomach. A waitress picked up my bowl. I was expecting a question like “Did you enjoy your meal?”. Of course, she could guess that it wasn’t since my bowl was still half full. Still, I thought it would be polite to ask that question. Maybe I felt sick, maybe it was too much or maybe it was a huge disappointment.
Just when she wanted to leave the table, I told her that I was very disappointed about my dish. The salad I got was not the salad mentioned on the menu card. Veggies, fruits and nuts were all missing. The waitress was shocked, but told me to pass the message to the chef and the waiter who was responsible for our table.
Since we had a nice conversation with our waiter and also with the Dutch manager who was happy to welcome some Dutchies at his restaurant, I thought one or maybe both will show up at our table to say sorry, but neither of them did. They both disappeared. Staff and management completely ignored us. We even had to take effort to ask another waiter for the bill.
It could have been so much different when the waiter paid attention to his tables. He could have asked us about dinner while we were eating, so he could fix whatever was not right. My disappointment was not his fault. He could not control the quality of the salad, but he could have made feel us better by listening. All the time we were polite. I know mistakes happen. If I make a mistake, I would be happy to have the possibility to make it right. Ignoring dissatisfied customers is the worst thing to do and make things worse. A bad review is a result of this. If the manager or our waiter would have said sorry and would have tried to resolve the situation (maybe by offering us a free drink, dessert or a discount on the bill) our experience would have been different. As Bill Gates said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
End of our Arabic journey
With a disappointed dinner we ended our Arabic adventure. We took the penultimate metro to the airport. The last one goes around 11 pm. Our flight was at 02.50 am. We had time enough to check out the stores and restaurants at the airport, but we lacked the energy to stay awake. We walked back and forth and ended up at a sushi place. Maybe it was good that I was still feeling hungry after our Dubai dinner, since eating keeps you away from falling asleep, but …. unfortunately, not for long….