A few days ago, I visited Chimmichurri to use a voucher I purchased via Groupon. Being Brazilian – and not having been to any Brazilian barbecue places since moving to Sydney – I was very excited at the opportunity. Initially, I tried booking on a Thursday (I sent them an e-mail on Monday). I was then told that they were booked out for Thursday as well as the whole weekend. Then, I tried Tuesday, at 9p.m. I was told that Tuesday was available, but they could only sit us at 6 or 8:15. My friend might have to work until around 8, so we had to take a risk, but thankfully things turned out alright in that matter.
Upon arrival, we had to wait a little bit to be seated. We were then seated at a table which had no plates or cutlery, and those took a while to be brought. When the plates were brought, mine was dirty. I asked one of the staff for another one, and he told me it was not dirty, it was clay. It didn’t seem like it was only clay to me, and as he saw that I didn’t like his answer, he started making jokes. Later on, it became clear that his style is “extra-friendly”, but at that early point, I was about to get up and leave, had I not already paid for the voucher. By the way, upon discovering that my friend was Swedish, he also tried to be friendly by saying a dirty word in her language. Bold move; she didn’t find it too funny. Also, no one actually collected my voucher number; when we were seated, I asked the lady who escorted us about it, she said she would grab something to write on and return to our table; she didn’t. Later on, I reminded another waiter, who in turn called someone who I presume was the manager, who also didn’t have anything to write on, so he asked to take my phone (I didn’t get around to printing) to the front and redeem the voucher. But the capital offence was none of those: they forgot to put us in the system. For over half an hour we sat there, as the waiters who carried the meat ignored us, and when we finally got one of the other waiters to our table, he said that we would get the side dishes, they would bring it as soon as they were ready, and the meat would follow. A few more minutes, and this waiter (the same from the plate incident), walking past our table, grabbed one of the other waiters and told him to check if we had been added to the system. He asked it in Portuguese, which I happen to speak. So, there it was. We’d been forgotten. From there on, perhaps realising that they had commited a deadly sin in customer service, everyone seemed very dedicated to treating us nicely. I guess that counts for something. We got the side dishes soon after, and when we asked to repeat some of those, we got the replacements quickly as well. We should have gotten garlic bread, which we didn’t, even after asking one of the waiters for it, but at that point, garlic bread was a small detail for an otherwise very eventfull evening.
As a side note, the environment is quite nice. The restaurant does look good.
And I didn’t even talk about the food yet. Well, it tasted good, I must say. The side dishes included rice, potato salad, Brazilian vinaigrette and chimmichuri. I’m not a fan of either chimmichurri or vinaigrette, but the rice and potato salad were alright. There were enough options of meat to keep us entertained, including varieties of beef, lamb, pork and chicken. There was no chicken heart, which is considered peculiar in Australia, but is insanely popular in Brazil. The rump cap took a long time to show up, but it was quite good. In terms of flavour, the evening was not disappointing, if it wasn’t marvelous.
Overall, I must say I don’t plan on going back. I don’t believe the service was unwilling – only understaffed and unprepared. But, with all the problems we’ve had, and with all the other options of Brazilian BBQ places I’ve yet to explore in Sydney, Chimmichurri is most likely destined to be a part of my past.
Chimmichurri Bar & Grill is at 23 Ward Ave. (Darlinghurst, according to their website, Potts Point, according to 131500).