These are the doors to The Aylesbury. Beautiful aren’t they, guarding the space that until it closed was the lovely pizza restaurant Barbagallo Trattoria E Pizzeria.
It wasn’t any pizza restaurant but one started by Pietro Barbagallo who brought us, and sold, the much loved I Carusi in Brunswick East.
It just goes to show how tough it is on this corner, 103 Lonsdale St.
The original crew at Seamstress a few doors away found it similarly tough and went into administration with massive debts although the venue is surviving under new owners.And by all accounts there are plenty of other places in the vicinity doing it tough at a time that consumer sentiment is at its lowest since the global financial hit 3 years ago.
It’s a time when customer service is paramount yet there are a couple of places in town where staff are consistently rude to customers.
The Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda is one, despite chef Paul Wilsons exceptional Cal-Mex spin on food, where I shall not bother to return unless it is unavoidable after some shabby treatment. I was under the misapprehension that it was a pub, but at 6pm on a Wednesday was informed it was a restaurant and couldn’t have a beer with a pal. To be fair Wilson offered me a meal on their tab via Twitter but I didn’t feel like returning.
The Aylesbury is a newcomer to this poor service club.
On a balmy Friday night, the venue didn’t look that full but two of us were rejected out of hand in an abrupt and very rude way.
I know that menu venues have a door policy to keep the drunks, dags and layabouts out. But it is no excuse for rudeness although it takes skill and experience to reject somebody and send them away happy.
You may have read reports on The Aylesbury in the new breed of gushing street mags and websites. When I revisit some of these so-called hot new venues I often think that all that counts now is to be new, not to have any kind of quality or heritage. It’s a real shame as readers are being let down by gushing prose, the kind that belongs in glossy magazine, which by the way you’ll find never post negative reviews.
And just to emphasise it, you should remember that these new media vehicles aren’t critical revues but just writing about places, promoting them.
Early reports on the food at The Aylesbury from people I trust are that it is patchy. Dishes are inconsistent and some some cases poor.
With so many new restaurants opening each month in Melbourne, I have plenty of other choices where the staff are better tempered and the food consistent.
Back in 2008, this precinct was showing promise with celebrity chef Luke Mangan about to join the throng before it was killed by the GFC.
I hope the arrogance of The Aylesbury won’t burn the owners, who opened Anada on Gertrude St to critical acclaim in 2008.