Dreadful service, below average food, and then a side order of obnoxious bully….
Minor issues we had included staff not being able to understand us. We literally had to speak to 4 people to order wine. We were also largely ignored when trying to get attention to order our meal.
My main issue arises from my food allergies though. I am unable to eat wheat flour, as most of you know. Thankfully I am not a coeliac (gluten free), but wheat flour does make me incredibly unwell. I may as well point out right now that I am very ill today. But, back to my post…
Cheaper Mexican restaurants quite often offer corn tortilla instead of wheat. As O’Cacti is meant to be a very nice restaurant in an unarguably good location, I expected that corn flour tortilla would be used more often than not. When I explained my allergy and asked our server which tortilla was used, corn or wheat, he replied no problem and that there was corn. Great! I even repeated the allergy part to make sure. No problem, apparently. This is literally all that was said.
The meals comes and firstly it is bland, and secondly the corn tortilla were not heated properly so fairly cardboard like. Oh, and can I just mention now that the tortilla ‘fell out’ of the bowl onto the tray, and Youness (our main waiter) just picked them up and popped them back in. I saw this and of course asked for fresh. Given our later discoveries, I doubt that happened which gives me huge cause for concern over their health and hygiene practices. However, this is another matter.
When the bill was presented, it was noted there was a AED25 charge for corn tortilla. I managed to get Youness’ attention after a while, and pointed out the charge. If he had been apologetic, or nice at all, I would have been happy to pay the charge. As it was, he was rude, dismissive and made us feel that we were in the wrong to query the charge. He kept telling me that corn tortilla was more expensive and so I should pay the difference.
For AED25 I would have been happy to do so if this had been explained to start with. The point is that I was told nothing and then charged. It should surely be the decision of the guest?
On top of this, because by then he had been so rude that we no longer wished to deal with him, we asked to see the manager. We were told that he was not working last night. Because of Youness’ attitude, I asked that he be called. He refused and said he did not have the authority to call the manager. Really?!
We then asked for the duty manager, repeatedly. Youness then said that he was the supervisor. As the supervisor, apparently he didn’t have the authority to waive the charge either. He was becoming ruder by the moment, and in fairness, all this did was make us more angry and argue back.
He then, and this is really my favourite bit, told me that since I had been before and had exactly the same meal before with the corn tortilla substitute, that I knew the policy and I was trying to act in a dishonest way. I have never been so angry in my life! I have never been to this restaurant, and despite his barrage of arguments, I still have never been before!!!
We paid the check at this point because I was on the verge of tears. I felt bullied, harassed, condescended and belittled. I was also embarrassed that my food allergies had been the ruin of the first night of a reunion of friends that has been 6yrs in the planning. And, to top all that, I had just been called a liar.
This is my first bad experience in Pier 7. Given how quiet it is, and other reviews that I have subsequently found, I doubt O’Cacti will be there much longer.
In conclusion: If you’re in the Marina and want Mexican food, go to Salsa along Marina Walk for a relaxed dining experience, or Toro Toro at Grosvenor House for an upscale meal.