Scusami

Mid level
Southgate
SouthbankVIC 3006
+61 3 9699 4111

Adam and I have been together for a year now, something that many people may respond “pffffffffft” to but to me it IS a big deal as this has been my longest relationship ever. To celebrate such an important occasion, we went to Scusami to celebrate. We were planning on making a huge night over this but because I’ve been ill lately, we decided that dinner would be enough. Which is why I’m blogging at 10:40pm on a Saturday night. Booooo. But let’s not dwell on that.

The reason why we chose Scusami was because Adam loves Italian and because it was in the CBD. Figuring that we might be going to a show or something afterwards, we wanted to have dinner in a central location (of course, me being sick means that there was no show to get to but anyway…). Secondly, Linda recommended this place because it’s her favourite restaurant so I decided to see if she was right.

We arrived at 6pm when the place was still quiet. Service was warm, welcoming and very attentive. This will be important later on.We were seated at an awesome table by the window, just under a gas lamp so we did not need our jackets. Brilliant.  We ordered some lemon squash and were given some water as we pondered over the menu. No alcohol for me because, like I said, I was sick and said that much to the waiter. We both ordered an entree and a main each as well as a side dish of braised spinach ($12.50) and then proceeded to admire the breathtaking Yarra views and people-watch. We got our complimentary bread with one of the nicest-tasting olive oils I’ve seen (I tried to peek at the label on the bottle but they scratched out the brand. Huh) and waited for what was to come. Our food came pretty quickly though before I started getting pissy:

My entree: Linguine with king prawns ($26-29, can’t remember. It was definitely in the high 20s). Fresh home-made linguine was delicately placed on a huge white plate and spun with a tomato and garlic-based sauce. There was also a hint of chilli in the sauce which gave it that extra kick but without sending me to panic mode (as I am not a fan of chilli) and the basil also gave it a fresh touch. Two HUGE prawns sat atop the mountain of pasta. They weren’t kidding when they said that they were king prawns… they were big enough to be the king of some underwater colony or something.

Adam’s entree: Papardelle with rabbit ragu (also can’t remember the price but it was similar to mine). Adam prefered my entree to his but I think I prefered his one. Both were very very great dishes but the papardelle was a bit more interesting to me. Tender bits of rabbit and a rich stew of peppercorns, basil and beans went well with the delicate pasta ribbons, so good that they could have only been homemade.

My main did not come cheap as it was a hefty $56. They called it “Medaglioni di Manzo” and I have no idea what it means, despite having learnt Italian in primary school but on the left, there is a Jerusalem artichoke skin (a vegetable which, personally speaking, is a tad underrated). Inside it, there is a mixture of chopped artichoke, black truffles and foie gras while the rest of the artichoke is pureed into a smooth white cloud on the right (ohh YUM!). In the middle are some slices of wagyu beef served medium rare and resting on top of some wild mushrooms. Sounds so … fancy, right? I liked it, but I wasn’t sure if I was delighted with it… if you know what I mean. Everything was done wonderfully, the beef cooked exactly the way I liked it, the truffles were flavoursome and the little ball was a joy to eat … but you know there is something not exactly right when the most exciting thing on the plate was the little white foam on the right. (Or maybe it’s just me and my insane obsession with Jerusalem artichoke)

Adam’s main was much simpler (read: less attractive, bwaha!). For $49, he got half a roasted duck with a very very rich sauce of merlot grappa with wittlof lettuce and braised onions. To be honest, I can’t say that I was a fan of this dish. It was way too sweet and too rich for my liking. I think Adam felt the same way, he downed his water pretty quickly while eating his main.. as well as downing half of my water!

I think it was at this stage did things start to get a little downhill. The restaurant was starting to fill up (it reached about 95% capacity) so obviously, the service levels started to detriorate a little. That we could understand as both of us have worked in hospitality/service industries before (Adam still does, poor thing). But what we couldn’t understand was WHY there was about 20 staff members present, some just folding napkins or arranging salt and pepper shakers on empty tables, and not one of them came to help us even though it was obvious that we needed attention (WE BLOODY WANT DESSERT, PRONTO!). However, a loud group of Texans on the table next to us were getting impeccable service even when they didn’t ask for it.
This led Adam to ponder on something: All the other tables were filled with huge groups of people which obviously presented many more money opportunities for the restaurant (i.e. more food, more drinks) so that was a possible reason as to why they seemed to be getting more attention than us. Secondly, the fact that we didn’t order any wines might’ve signified to them that we weren’t worth paying much attention to. I know that Scusami has a pretty high mark-up so when someone orders wine, the restaurant would be getting some serious money from that sale. Not that I order wine anyway but c’mon, I just told the waiter I was sick and therefore had to skip the alcohol! If anything, they should be nicer to us, not colder towards us! I can understand that an Asian couple like us won’t be spending as much as a group of 10 Toorak-siders but seriously, that does not mean you should treat us differently! Hell, for all they know, we both have an extensive social network spawning 50,000 gossipy Asians that we could badmouth Scusami to which will prevent them not to visit. We’ll see who’s laughing after Scusami declares bankruptcy in a few years time, ha! Adam and I might be little people (how ironic, we’re both quite tall for Asians) but we’re definitely not insignificant. Don’t mess with us! So ANYWAY, we finally got one waitress to pay attention to us. We ordered a dessert to share and a short macchiato for Adam. After waiting some time, we finally got our dessert:

 

A baked apple tart was topped with a rich green apple puree (which happened to be blood-red). It was accompanied with some pistachio ice-cream, placed on top of some Persian fairy floss. All for $18. I guess it looked pretty enough but I just found the puree too overpowering and too rich for my liking so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. For me, a dessert should be light to cleanse my palate rather than so bloody rich so that I needed to have coupious glasses of water to break it down.

So we ate the desssert. And waited for Adam’s coffee. That should have only taken 90 seconds to make. It only came after Adam told a passing waiter that we were waiting on a coffee and even then, it took them another 5 minutes to bring out. And when it did come, Adam wasn’t very impressed. Being a coffee “expert”, he could immediately tell that it had been sitting on the counter for quite some time and that the beans were burnt. After one sip, I agreed that the coffee wasn’t that spectactular either. And we paid $4.50 for it. Pffft, may as well get something for Starbucks. Similar quality, but at least you only have to wait 2 minutes for it.Given that Scusami‘s prices are on the higher end of the spectrum, we were expecting to pay over $200 for the meal (and we had to account for the side dish and the dessert that we weren’t planning to have), but we were happy when we saw that it was just under $200. Still, it was a pretty expensive meal for just the two of us. I mean, at Bottega I remember paying around $250ish for four people, and we each had alcohol and dessert too. So yes, $200 for a similar amount of food for just the two of us seemed a bit steep but I wasn’t really surprised. Southgate location = high overheads. Need to get the money somehow. And besides, we were both very full so I  shouldn’t complain (my stomach still hurts at the moment!).So anyway, we decided to pay cash so that I didn’t have to use my card. Gave the waiter $200 and told him to keep the change. He said “thank you”, not in a nice way but in a “geee $2.50 change, you may as well not have given us anything” sarcastic way. Hell, I could have kept it for myself but I was being nice by giving him a small “tip” even though the service we got post-mains was pretty awful. Overall, the Scusami experience was a mixed bag. If we had left after the mains were cleared away, I would have rated it highly. But given that we had to sit through slow and appalling service throughout dessert made the dial steer closer towards the “pissed off” end of the mood scale and away from the “happy” end. On the other hand, the entrees were amazing and that alone MAY entice me to come back again. Maybe.

That and the Jerusalem artichoke foam thingy. Mmmmmm.

I eat too much.

4 Comments

  1. peach_water
    May 24, 2008

    Im sorry you had to deal with terrible service, but I agree with you. The waitors shouldnt have just attended the larger tables simply because you didnt order alcohol.

    The entrees looks really nice. specially the prawns. MM.

    Reply
  2. s_l_v
    May 25, 2008

    Awww congrats on the one year darling! Did you exchange gifts etc? Actually now that I think about it, I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned you guys doing the whole anniversary thing and giving each other stuff (besides your camera on your birthday, of course), you guys seem to just dine out a lot rather than give gifts. Still cool though, I wouldn’t mind doing that either if the food wasn’t too weird for my bogan tastes

    The entrees look/sound sooooooooo good! Not so sure bout the mains, but you’re right, Adam’s one’s pretty ugly haha, I bet it has the lowest self esteem in the kitchen

    Not tipping or maybe not tipping is so not an excuse for shitty service! Considering they’re working in hospitality and the tips pretty much determine how much they’ll be paid, shouldn’t it be logical to assume that they’d work hard for everyone, even the ones that seem stingy, so that they’d be able to increase their tips and therefore their pay at the end of the night? Idiots, all of them. I hate it when I go to restaurants and the staff are too busy doing non-customer related things and just ignore you flat out while doing shit that can be done when no attention is required for the customers. I mean I’m ok if you can’t come deal with me cos some other customer is talking to you, but if no one else requires your attention then you should be looking around at all times to see who might need you, not just piss off and do shit and ignore the customers. How stupid.

    The dessert on the right looks like a fishie

    Reply
  3. KeLlY_Siew
    May 25, 2008

    Your main sounds like something I’ll absolutely love! Maybe we’ll give this place a try. =) This is so not a year for dining out for us because I seriously can’t be bothered after long days at work and other commitments. I’ve changed the bookings at Shira Nui twice because there seems to be event after event clashing with the reservation! Anyway will be there this friday! Hopefully it’ll be good!

    Reply
  4. funky_ass
    June 4, 2008

    hey…( i dont post.. but i do read)…

    i do agree with u about the service. (maybe i neglected to tell u)… haha

    i still think the italian food was quite devine..

    wen we went, we got okay service. (although they did annoy me, but it was because they were too in ur face type people)

    i think we got that kind of service because for 2 people, we ordered as if there was 4 people, plus wine…

    if u think service was bad there.. u should try bistro guillame.. or that other new one in crown..service is the pits

    Reply

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