Friday, 9 May 2014

A little ray of sunshine {Sunrise Indian Restaurant Review}

I am starting to think that Australia needs to go the way of the USA with respect to tipping. For a start, hospitality workers here are not getting adequate compensation for their long hours and late shifts (I have talked about this before), but also the level of service being provided seems to be dropping.

I have had multiple conversations about service lately. Good service is remarked upon as a rare and precious thing. Which it is. I am not terribly picky and I quite like a bit of personality and quirkiness in a waiter/waitress. I don't mind if a waiter doesn't know all the answers or forgets a bit of cutlery from time to time as long as he is friendly and responsive when you try to catch his eye. Food (and wine) are important but service completes the experience.

We had been to Sunrise before and received lovely service from an enthusiastic young waitress, the food was excellent and the atmosphere friendly and casual; we had a fantastic night and vowed to return.

This time we went on a rainy Sunday. There were 3 other tables of diners. We were seated and a plate of papadums appeared instantly with dipping sauces.
pappadum at sunrise indian restaurant

When we ordered the waitress was efficient but there was no warmth. Not a big deal, we poured some wine and a short time later our shared entree arrived.

onion bhuji indian food Sunrise 
Onion bhuji- onion in chickpea batter and deep-fried- crunchy on the outside and moist and spicy on the inside.

Sunrise allow BYO wine so I brought a Pfeiffer's Frontignac- aromatic with a little sweetness, it pairs really well with spicy food.
pfeiffer frontignac wine

Then we had (a lot of) time to observe the decor. The restaurant is well designed in that the till and takeaway area is separate to the dining area. Linen draped tables and linen napkins add a lovely elegance to the room.

As I said, it was a rainy Sunday and there might have been a serious takeaway frenzy that we were (blissfully) unaware of, but we were not expecting a forty minute wait (after our entree) for our mains. We had arrived with large appetites for an Indian feast and were starving by the time the food arrived. At one point we thought perhaps we had been forgotten but could not get the attention of our waitress within the realms of being polite.

However, once the food arrived it was excellent. Perhaps the delay was because the food is all prepared freshly- I don't know. We dived wholeheartedly into:

Bhuna Ghost- tender lamb chunks in a masala sauce with just the right amount of heat
bhuna ghost sunrise indian restaurant ascot vale

Chicken Kali Mirch- A Southern Indian style dish with a peppercorn sauce
chicken kali mirch sunrise indian

Garlic naan
garlic naan sunrise indian restaurant

Cheese naan

The naan was fantastic, fluffy and decadently oily, with great flavour and a good amount of stuffing. The wait, and lack of smiling had been redeemed.... temporarily.

As we were paying, I presented a discount voucher that had specified 'bookings required'. I had made a booking online, as prompted by Sunrise's website. I was informed by the same unsmiling waitress that they don't like online bookings because they have to pay $3 per person (or something like that) to the booking site. I sympathised and said I would call to book next time, wondering whether there would be a next time.

The food is really good and I am inclined to give them another chance, everybody has bad days. But it is terribly disappointing for a lovely place to be let down by a surly staff-member.

SunRise Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Your second paragraph says it all for me, totally agree.

    But I just cannot handle rudeness in hospitality or retail staff, particularly given I worked in both those occupations when I was younger and it was instilled in us constantly to be friendly and professional, no matter what the situation was. I'm not sure tipping would even help, I just think a lot of people don't have manners or pride in their work now (and it's also apparent they hate their jobs, boohoo, a lot of people do!)

    Also, why on earth do they offer online bookings if they don't want you to use them? The booking fee is not your problem!

    Phew, rant over! I must be cranky today ;)

    1. Your rant is appreciated. I don't like publishing bad reviews (and this is not an entirely bad review) but I was so disappointed by the service, given that everything else about the restaurant is so good!
      I used to work in a restaurant where the supervisor would give people attitude (even though it wasn't my place I found myself apologising for him a few times)- I just couldn't stay working there. It really takes no extra energy to be polite particularly when the customer is being pleasant. grrrr!

  2. I love Indian recipe, it looks very delicious and healthy, this sunday i am going in restaurant for eating that kind of food. restaurant near venkateshwar college


I love comments, whether you agree or disagree with me I would love to hear what you think.