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Finally got around to eating at Jess's restaurant tonight. (If you're up this way, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction)

I managed to get a heap of co-workers to come along as well and the general feeling was that they enjoyed the food. One thing I noticed was that everyone seemed a bit skint, and it provoked a conversation between me and Jess later on. I mean, nobody said anything specific, and maybe I'm reading a bit too much into this. But no-one had an entree (I had to get a couple of appetisers to keep everyone going) and only me and one other guy had a dessert. Basically everyone had a couple of drinks and a main. Thats it.

I mentioned to Jess that maybe the prices are a little steep at the moment, what with a lot of people feeling the pinch (so to speak) with floods and high interest rates. This pointed toward a deeper issue: maybe Mackay just isn't really ready for decent restaurants.

In my opinion, a reasonably priced meal is one that is less than $150 for two people. Any less than $100 for two, and you're probably eating at a pub. More than $200, and you're getting into the realm of fine dining.

Last night cost me about $65 all up, which is well within that $100 - $150 price range. I actually was prepared to have a three course, but after chatting with the waitress decided to skip it so I would have room for dessert. Chatting with the Head Chef later, though, I should have had an entree.

Pubs in Mackay have always offered food. Unfortunately they are probably a bit popular now with the boom in mining here. (Mines leads to ignorant men leads to lots of drinking at pubs)

I imagine when you're younger, its difficult to see the point in paying $30 for some perfectly cooked steak and complementary sides, when you could go down to the pub and get a huge meal - say crumbed steak with chips and salad - for less than half that.

The result is that pubs offer cheap, decent food, and make a killing. Restaurants in Mackay, to compete, end up having to lower their standards again and again until they can compete (and start making some money). If you've dined at Sorbello's in Mackay when they first began compared to what they are like now, you'd notice the difference immediately.

It is annoying, but I guess there's really not that much to be done about it - Mackay just isn't really ready for decent restaurants.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 12th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Okies, so which is Jess' restaurant?
And how often do you eat out?
Because I have to say, I am one of the "skints" (that's cheap/thrifty etc right?), and $150 for a meal had better be one awesome special occasion meal.
We didn't eat out much as a family, and then I've been a poor student for so long spending that much on a meal, I'd be thinking about what else I could/should be spending/saving that money on.

But in general, is it because people are wanting to eat out more, that they expect to pay less for it, and so aren't looking for the "decent restaurant" experience?
They just don't want to cook for themselves?
Apr. 12th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
We eat out all the time - just not at restaurants. Maybe once every six months or so?

When we do go to a restaurant tho, we are prepared to pay for whatever it is they offer - and expect a higher standard of service/quality/freshness for that.

I imagine a lot of people in Mackay (well in Australia ...) are getting a bit tighter with their cash at the moment. So floods and interest rates.

I'm sorry I've come across as highbrow - that was not my intention.

I'll let you know via IM the place.
Apr. 12th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Nah that's alright.. Just figured I'd throw in my 2bob as well :)
Apr. 12th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
the restaurant at the end of my street, 'two small rooms' is what i'd consider to be expensive, and that generally costs $150 for two people. four courses + drinks.

usually eating at the port office or the morrison, both well-known and well-respected restaurants, you can expect to be set back about $100 for two.

i don't know what prices are like in mackay, but that's the state of play here. $100 usually gets you something good.
Apr. 12th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
Well they must be over-priced here. I've since been talking with Jess and suggested she tries to get the prices lower somehow.

Last year we tried Church on Palmer, it was about $130 for us, 2x entrees, 2x mains, d'agustation (sp?) dessert and drinks. Overall excellent, was worth the money.

Also last year (Jess's birthday in Oct) we went Sorbello's. Just under $100 for both of us, and everything was good. Basically we got what we paid for, is what I remember thinking about it. I'm not sure if we had entrees, but we shared a dessert, maybe tiramisu (because they claimed home-made? I dunno).
Apr. 13th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
yeah i agree, lower prices are a good idea. there's not much of an upmarket demographic in mackay that will go somewhere just because it's expensive i dont think .. better off trying to do great food at a mild premium rather than cut above. if i walked out of a restaurant paying $150 for two people and wasnt blown away i'd be a little disappointed. but thats just me, i fucking love food haha.
Apr. 14th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
home saturday?

might come right
Apr. 14th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
err round that is
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah fo sho.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )