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The Chopping Block – Spargo’s Espresso V Mambo Italiano

One thing that annoys me about this show is the critic, Alan Saunders, is in a suburban shopping centre cafe and is bitching that the egg in his caesar salad is poached not coddled. It is not Aria. Which is something Matt Moran needs to remember when advising the troubled restaurants that not all can afford the top shelf ingredients he tells them to when the are selling meals for under $20.

But really not producing a coddled egg on their salad was the least of Spargo’s Espresso problems. The service was abominable, with Ashleigh the waitress really needing to be put on the chopping block. She was dumb or did not give a rats, or both.

The kitchen was just disgusting, no wonder the food was sub par at this Essendon eatery.

Mambo Italiano is not much better, their signature dish the Pizza Napa which is an upside down pizza, which was more like a pie. And did I spot canned pineapple in it?

Also the chef makes risotto with boiled rice. What was that all about? The daughter of the business Ljubliana seems like she may have the propensity of melting down once she was under pressure.

The other thing is when these restaurants get full, which they do the night they are going to get judged, the kitchens who are used to operating with half full premises are unable to cope.

Waiting an hour like Alan Saunders did for his meal at Spargos is not going to get you to go back. He would have been able to do his weekly shop in the nearby supermarket in that time.

When Alan Saunders did his final review he still bitched that the Caesar salad did not have a coddled egg, even Matt Moran was rolling his eyes, but that did not stop Spargo’s taking out the $20,000 first prize.

2 comments

1 injera { 11.19.08 at 8:27 am }

Wow – Mambo Italiano really shot themselves in the foot keeping the “trick” pizza on the menu. Of course Saunders was going to order it again! Why, oh why didn’t they just can it and let him have the delicious swordfish? I can’t believe Spargo’s won, after taking an hour to cook a steak.

Was it just me, or did it seem that the secret of who the reviewer is was let out last night? When he left the first place, it was as though they all relaxed.

2 Reality Raver { 11.19.08 at 12:10 pm }

I know that pizza looked disgusting – did they also have the Matt Moran prawn one on or did they take it off?

They must edit out the bits in the final judgement where he talks about the time taken for meals. Considering he was one of the early customers in Spargos I don’t know why it should have taken so long.

I reckon Alan Saunders would have stood out like a sore thumb in those suburban eateries even though the producers fill it with punters. But anyone who is into food would probably vaguely recognise him. He writes for the Good Weekend on occasion, with little photo with it.