Sep 8, 2018 —
I’ve heard great things about West and expected them to be at the same level at Nightingale, AnnaLena and Forage. But like every scale, you can’t have a top without a bottom and West firmly sits on the lower end.
The food was excellent. The flavours, the imagination and the presentation were all on the mark. I have nothing but positive feedback for the kitchen.
The issue was the service. We were a group of eight and as we arrived, we stood at the bar waiting for our table. The two young hostesses stood by, but neither offered to take our coats. Throughout the evening, we saw them take other guests’ coats and hang them up, which seemed odd as that courtesy hadn’t been offered to us.
Our server, Markus, had an undeniable attitude which set a mood from the start. It came to the fore when two members of our group couldn’t decide between the lamb or the sablefish, so decided to order both and share. They asked Markus to have the kitchen plate it that way and he couldn’t hide his disdain, which remained painted across his face for the remainder of the evening.
At the $40 entree level, they need to be more professional and there’s no room for an attitude. The level of service was diminished, but not just by Markus. The manager and assistant manager made the rounds looking at the tables and folding napkins when guests got up to use the bathroom. But two of us had empty glasses and we had to ask for more drinks as it hadn’t dawned on anyone to offer. I finished my drink during my appetizer and the glass was only removed when the table was being reset for dessert. No offer of another drink was made until that point.
One member of our group asked for her water to be refilled, since no one had come by, and Markus obliged but didn’t fill the other half-empty glass on the table. As a point of reference, even at White Spot they would know to fill all the glasses on the table.
Overall, there was a real lack of attention to detail on the front-of-house side. They keep up appearances well, but many of the details you’d expect at this calibre of restaurant – the kind of details they probably pride themselves on – were blatantly missing.
I judge restaurants based on how they price themselves with my expectations rising and falling accordingly. We were all light drinkers (1-2 drinks each) and our bills ranged from $75-$90 each. At that price point you must nail atmosphere, service, food and value. Unfortunately West doesn’t.
At West’s price point the type of experience guests should have is the seamless one. The kind of evening where you are not aware of time passing and everything is effortless. At the end you leave happy, satisfied and relaxed. Our experience was the total opposite and for that reason I will not return.
Alistair is a real lover of food having visited 250 restaurants around Vancouver over the last 2.5 years. Passionate about sharing food while connecting with people, he is the founder and the host of the Dinner Devils. Having spent 10 years living in Europe, he is bringing some of that food culture back home with the creation of this group.