It is a Friday afternoon. The sun is shining and the weekend feels so close. Tiger arrives late, somewhat after 3 pm and takes time to pack and relax before the drive.
The journey to the east Germany is exhausting, the city is full with cars, accidents, traffic jams - something you dont want to start your weekend with.
Finally we are on the highway, it is quicker and feels like freedom after the conguestion of the hansa-city.
We arrive late at the hotel in Kühlungsborn and check into our room. The voucher in my bag, we head straight to the restaurant to dine. A young garcon asks if we've booked. "No," Tiger answers. The waiter makes a sign of "hold on" and heads towards a table to prepare it, when an elder "ober" arrives. Thin and exchasted, each movement sharp and quick, he double-checks the situation. "Not booked?, he shakes his head. - we are fully booked."
I turn around and half-open the door to exit.
Tiger still debates and checks other days for lunch or dinner: tomorrow, the day after, lunch… or dinner.
"Ober" does not negotiate. He is burdened by Tiger as a customer and the only answer he is repeating over and over is "no". Then he adds: try Sunday after 8 pm." I am frustrated.
On our way towards our second choice, I check on opentable and it seems to be right - no free tables till Sunday late. Well, it is not an option, I dont dine that late.
Instead of going to the Italian, I call them. My third call is answered, the man on the other side of the line is busy. "No, senora, not until Sunday. We have tables ourside though." Somewhat customer-friendly, in comparison to Brasserie.
Last try, the restaurant inside the hotel. A young waiter meets us, and I look my nicest to get a favour, yet his answer is "no". Tiger asks for a tip re. Bookings or where to dine that night. "You ve gotta be lucky to get a table, we are fully booked as the rest of the places. Corona does not let us accept guests without reservation - other guests prebook in advance."
We end up in our hotel room and order some cheep-supermarket-looking pizza and some wine to our room. I sit there online, not giving up checking options on opentable and forks.
I am lucky to find various tables for the restaurant in the hotel. How can it be, that the waiter sent us away and did not point towards this booking option, I wonder? He was explicitly asked for advice.
Well, maybe the waiters do not see tables, which are given to opentable, I guess.
Next morning, whilst Tiger is at the barbers, I am passing the Brasserie again and their website catches my eye. The advert says "book online at…" so i go online and click myself through to the restaurant. I am being persistent due to how rude the waiter was and how we had that voucher running outa date! Guess what I find: numerous options to reserve a table for lunch, I do not check dinners as we've booked at the hotel yet I bet there is a choice in the evening too. I am happy to reserve. We arrive in advance to grab a warm tea, as it is cold outside and we prefer to take breaks often. We sit down in the cafe, the waitress is very friendly; the cafe leads directly into the restaurant.
A family enters the cafe and carries on directly to the restaurant. They enter and I wonder if the same waiter is there again to send them away. They stay somewhat and I am about to change my mind about lunches being more spontaneous and friendly, yet no: the family exists soon and I am confirmed! No reservation - no table.
We enter on time and a different waiter welcomes us. I hurry to drop: "we have a reservation…" and the waiter invites us to pick a seat in an EMPTY! Restaurant. Ther is an old family sitting in the middle and a couple, who arrived bit later, at the ver yother end of the conservatory. There are places inside and on the 1st floor too.
First course was very good, soups are delicious at brasserie. Second course was a flop: how can you serve mash, made of powder. What type of a cook are you?
The voucher is used fully and we exit the restaurant, somewhat glad about how it ended up. If I could rate waiters, I would rate -5 stars to the old waiter last night.
Dinner at Brunshaupten
The young waiter cannot believe his eyes, as he sees us at the entrance of the restaurant that night again. I bet he was prepared to say "we are fully booked" once more; he rushes away to check our reservation before offering a table. He is artificially friendly if you know what I mean. He is irritating me. He's got no gravitas towards a respectable waiter. I just want him gone with his menu and his "dish of the day" speech, and prefer to scan the menu with my phone to check it online. We decide on the order, the waiter serves us drinks then disappears to look after 2 more tables. The rest of the small restaurant stands empty at the time that we arrive.
Another man is taking our food order, fully calm, not friendly but experienced. He acts authentic and he's doing his job well. Gravitas.
I've gotta smile at how the young waiter just repeats everything he said to us, when other guests arrive, how he bows andhow artificial his whole nature is. It is entertaining and whilst I smile to myself, I catch another guest's eyes on me as in "what is happening?". I do not stop smiling and turn my head away to continue with my funny thoughts.
I've gotta admit, our special order was executed brilliantly, and the restaurant was somewhat fully booked later that night. Not a surprise - on a Saturday night. But do not tell me you are fully booked and there is no option. There was an option!
Pricewise, there is no value for money if you compare Rome or Hamburg to Kühlungsborn. They claim on offering gourmet food and charge accordingly, yet such prices go beyond just food to me, the overall service (including "I am not your customer yet but would like to be").
After this weekend away, I am curious about how opentable works and check with the company on whether the restaurants are able to see tables "to be reserved" and able to book those tables for the guests. If not, I would accept Brasserie's and Brunshaupten's unfriendly behaviour. I should have thought about booking in advance. Yet, the answer from opentable is the restaurants are able to see tables "to be reserved" and book those tables for the guests. There is little excuse for Brasserie's and Brunshaupten's; just too comfortable and unflexible.
Brasserie's old waiter Friday night gets -5 stars. Young waiter at Brunshaupten gets -3 stars, as he's still learning to be friendly in an authentic way.