Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sorry, We're Fully Booked

Don't you just hate it when you hear the words "Sorry, we're fully booked" when trying to book a table. Melbourne may be one of the food capitals of the world, with so many varities of food on offer. And the people of Melbourne have fully embraced going out to eat, which is a good thing as it means more restaurants will open and the quality gets better due to competition. However, the downside is that its so hard to get a table at a good restaurant unless you plan well ahead, and I'm talking up to a month here sometimes. Its descriminatory to those like myself who don't plan more than a few days in advance.

My latest episode involved trying to get a table at Movida, for like the 6th time all up for a hit rate of 1, not a good result. I was really good this time and rang a whole week in advanced, still to no avail. I wish I knew someone and could have name dropped like the people who Mellie sat next to at Movida. I wouldn't drink till I vomitted though. Anyway I digress. Small popular places like Movida mean you have to book so far in advance it's not funny. Some of us, mainly myself and my friends, are just not organised enough to book way in advance and then guarantee we can make that date. The last time, we tried really hard and had to book a whole month in advance for Movida. It was worth the wait though.

Its so hard to just spontaneously go, "Lets eat here this week". You have to plan out everything to ensure that you get a table at most good restaurants. Recently, I've had trouble trying to get tables at quite a few places, here's a few I can remember:

*Crown Conservatory - a week and a half I rang in advance and still no table. The best they could do was 3 weeks later, which was past the occasion that I wanted, hence didn't book.
*Horoki - Rang a week in advance and could only get a table for 9pm the second time round. First time there, told to come and there "should be a table", upon which we waited about 40 minutes until nearly 9pm before there was a table.
*Rumi - first two attempts were totally booked. Third attempt, rang a week in advance and got a table at 6pm, "sharp" they said.
*Shira Nui - Third time lucky, got a table there by just rocking up early on a weekday.
*Bar Lourinha - Full but told if I turn up late, there might be a table, a 50 minute wait followed until we got seated.

There are other places I haven't been able to get a table to yet and am still trying. I know one place I definitely won't be getting a book at is Tempura Hajime.

These long waiting list take all of the spontaneity out of life. I guess I just have to plan far in advance and convince all my friends to also plan far in advance. We then need to lock in dates to our calendars and uphold to those promises so that we can go eat at some of these restaurants.


  1. After getting an "all booked out" a MONTH in advance, I put myself on a waiting list for one of Melbourne's higher-end restaurants. Got the call yesterday that there's been a cancellation and we can have a crappy table at the back on Saturday night. Not telling where it is yet, but there'll be a review next week. ;-)

  2. Cindy, its not good to tease a fellow foodie about a great restaurant.

    Can I have a guess, Tempura Hajime? You must have acted once you read the early blog posts and got in early.

    My second guess is Fifteen.
    My third guess is Flower Drum.

    Now I have to wait eagerly for your blog post. I can't stand it!


    You just dunno how to book.

    I got into Jamie's Restrauant in 1 day.

  4. thanh,
    it can't possibly be TH.
    The chef is only a meter apart from every diner. No table is more equal than any other. It's communal table 1/3 the size o YuU U-shaped table after all

  5. Anonymous 1, I don't like being quiet. You should book next time we go anywhere seeing as you think you can get us into Jamie's restaurant.

    Anonymous 2, good detective work. I re-read it and yes, it says at the back of the restaurant and I do remember descriptions from other bloggers that you sit at the bench at Tempura Hajime.

  6. To be more precise, it's both woks NOT the chef that's only a meter apart from each diner. Of course, he needs to switch back and forth to left and right wok, =).

  7. Hey Thanh7580, our review is up! Your guesses were pretty good, but the mystery restaurant was actually Three, One, Two in Carlton.

  8. Cindy, I fee like Andrew O'Keefe when I say "It's on the list". Three, One, Two is also another restaurant on my list of places to eat at. I will be reading your review thoroughly.

  9. They just like to make it sound like they're busy. I've walked in to MoVida, Bar Lourinha, Pizza Meine Liebe and Moroccan Soup Bar and got a table without booking or name dropping. On the other hand, I've been repeatedly rejected from places that are empty and that are in my neighbourhood.

    What gives? And whose name does one drop? ;)

  10. M's, showing up without a booking is fine if there is a couple of you only as you usually can get squeezed in later in the evening. It's also fine if you don't mind where you eat and can go to other places. But when you have a big group with something special on or you really want to eat that particular thing, showing up without a booking usually means you just get disappointed.

    Why they would turn you away when they're empty baffles me. Unless they know that people are coming already who have booked and its only fair that they hold the table for them.

    As for name dropping, I wouldn't have a clue. Maybe if you know the chef or something or say you work for The Age or Herald Sun hahaha.

  11. oooo, i didn't know Horoki was so difficult to get into and I've really been meaning to try it out. Is that just on weekends?

  12. Cindy, I've tried each time on the weekends so its definitely hard to get into on weekends. I'm not sure about weekdays.

    At the time when I kept trying, it had just recently been announced as the Cheap Eats Restaurant of the Year, so hence why it was hard to get a table. I don't know if its still like that now. It is a really great place and I will be going back soon.

  13. I'm pretty sure you are just getting knocked back from all these restaurant's because every-one knows that you are a stupid pratt and by letting you dine in their restaurant, they risk having a load of crap printed on this crappy blog


  14. I would like to brag that I managed to secure seatings for 2 at Tempura Hajime in just 1 day's time. Hehehe!