A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The calm before the storm...

I took this photo on Wednesday afternoon.
We opened the doors at 5pm without advertising although we had posters in our other restaurants hinting that Casa del Mar would open its doors in 2006!

We refused bookings because we needed to get all the staff used to the new style of service. I was in the kitchen with our young head-chef, plucked from one of the other restaurants. He has been with us for 7 years, from the age of 16! So, to run your own kitchen by the age of 23, is truly AMAZING! He was rearing to go and so was I.

We had invited a few friends, relatives and the guys who carried out the work.
I warned them all that we didn't want compliments. All we wanted was constructive criticism!
They and the handful of customers who had heard of our "secret" opening night were absolutely delighted with the whole thing!
The decor! I made sure that everyone got to know how many hours each mosaic took me!
The food, a bit foreign to our English chef, pleased everyone.
Cordero en salsa, Favada, Calamares, Albondigas, Paella, Pollo al Ajillo, Gambas Pil Pil... and a few other specialities like Algerian Merguez sausages, Hummus, Tzatziki... just to make it a truly Mediterranean restaurant...
So, our first night was a success in the fact that the kitchen coped very well with the unusual service. 15 different tapas to one table alone!

Tonight, Friday, we served around 50 diners one of whom, a Spanish visitor was quite amazed at finding a corner of Spain tucked away by the North Sea.
Everything went like clockwork and we are gearing ourselves to a very busy Saturday. We only take bookings for parties of eight or over. We have around 30 reservations already and I have a feeling we will hit a century by the end of the night.

When I offered our young chef the job, I said that I'd working with him in the kitchen for the first three months until he got the hand of it... Last week I was thinking about cutting it down to three weeks... But after just three days, he has definitely proved that he is able to cope very well... I am really glad because I have a two-week Spanish holiday booked at the end of February.

I thank you all for your best wishes on the opening of Casa! Posted by Picasa


Blogger Hayden said...

I am so delighted that everything is going so well - and the pic of the place! oh, my, it's gorgeous!

congratulations - it's been a lot of work and it isn't over - but you are so truely on your way with this one!


28/1/06 4:27 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Mmmm Calamares!! Why can't you be right around the corner from me?!! *pouts* ; )

Just wow, it looks so comfy. I love the leather sofa's and the table. Very nice touch and a definite focal point for the place! Again, Congrat's my friend!

28/1/06 9:05 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Oooh - calamares...gambas...cordero...takes me right back to Argentina...yum yum...

So glad it went well - congrats! The place looks fabulous.

28/1/06 10:13 AM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Cream, congratulations! This is such great news, I woke up feeling blue and this has cheered me. I love success stories, they spur me on and encourage me.

28/1/06 11:16 AM  
Blogger hobbes said...

Well done cream - we knew you'd make it a raving success!

28/1/06 12:18 PM  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

I was crossing my fingers for a story like the one you wrote here. I'm happy for you Cream. Your guests were not only feeding on the Tapas, but on all the positive energy you filled that place with during the weeks before. Well done.

28/1/06 3:12 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I so wish I could visit! Here's hoping your first Saturday is going swimmingly. I think tapas, like Greek mezethes and Chinese dim sum, is just about the perfect way to eat.

28/1/06 4:03 PM  
Blogger Ale said...

waaaaaw 15 tapas to one table!!! ohhh! BIG congrads on the opening!

ps: ammm, can you post a picture of this ever so talented young cheff?? no- better yet, just email it to me!!! ;)

28/1/06 5:55 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

The little seating area looks so cozy. I would so love to go there!

28/1/06 8:23 PM  
Blogger Viking054 said...

Mmmmmm.... I need to visit! Looks like your hard work is paying off :)

28/1/06 11:27 PM  
Blogger euro-trac said...

It looks just great! I really hope you can enjoy your holiday in Spain without thinking too much about what's happening back home.. you deserve a good holiday!

29/1/06 4:03 AM  
Blogger DCveR said...

Glad things are going smoothly.
Your menu sounds all too familiar... and delicious.
Maybe I'll pay you a visit sometime.

29/1/06 1:50 PM  
Blogger Shyha said...

I wish I was one of these crowd-man :]

29/1/06 2:14 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Thanks, Hayden! It has turned out to be very popular already!

Thanks, Penny. It is lovely and comfy! I chilled out with a Mojito last night! Mmmmm...

Thanks, Wendy. I will post something about Saturday night!

Thanks, Gigi! YOU usually inspire me!

Thanks, Hobbes. I hope it goes from strength to strength.

Thanks, Brian. Everyone said they felt good as soon as they came through the doors.

You are right, Andrea. This kind of food has always been available but now, it is getting very popular.

Ale, you are cheeky! Maybe one day, I will post his photo.

Janet, you are welcome!

Viking, you are right! When I was cutting my fingers on sharp bits of tiles, I knew that the result would be worth it!

Trac, I hope I will be able to. I am keeping my options open.

Smoothly...ish! A few things to iron out yet!
I thought the menu would be familiar and you are welcome to visit!

Shyha, one day maybe!

29/1/06 5:04 PM  
Blogger annie said...


29/1/06 6:12 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Muchas gracias, Annie!

29/1/06 10:04 PM  

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