Please excuse our phone pics!
We ordered the Gohon Nori rolls for entree because we were intrigued by the idea of cooked sushi. Instead of the usual rice, it was filled with a mixture of vegies, seaweed and roasted black sesame seeds and was served with a miso wasabi sauce and salad on the side. The salad wasn't particularly special but the sushi and sauce were awesome, I think I'm a cooked sushi convert!
I ordered Tokyo awaken, don't you love their corny names? This consisted of a mount of red rice, mashed tofu salad and braised pumpkin and daikon. This dish reminded me a lot of the dishes we used to eat at cheap buddhist places in HK and while I enjoyed it, Toby enjoyed it more than me. He particularly loved the seaweed mixed in with the rice and the tender daikon.
He ordered the GF spaghetti which I ended up enjoying more which worked out well, so we swapped dishes. This included loads of mushrooms which he ate, soy cheese, beautiful pesto, and really lovely g/f pasta. I think it is hard to tell that the pasta is g/f which is always a good sign and I really applaud them for using some sort of superior g/f pasta from Italy.
Here comes the BUT part...
So we went to pay for our meal and handed over the voucher. The man said that since our meal didn't cost $100 and he couldn't give us change, maybe we should order dessert and a bottle of wine. We explained that we were full and asked if we can get another voucher with the remaining amount. He suggested us to pay cash and use the voucher next time, and maybe pay for friends.
He then looked in a cupboard and said that he didn't have any vouchers anyway. We suggested that maybe he write it out on something else since the original voucher was handwritten. He refused. We asked to speak to the manager and he said that he was in charge for the night. We complained that it didn't say anything on the voucher about having to use the full amount and he continued to say that he couldn't do it. I explained that I have had plenty of vouchers for nice restaurants and have never had this issue. We stood there dumbfounded and angry. He said to pay cash and come back another time. I lied and said that we didn't live in Melbourne, not sure why I was just so frustrated at this point. I explained that if my mother was told when she purchased the voucher that perhaps she would have got two $50 vouchers but she wasn't advised.
The bill came to $54 and Toby offered to pay the $4 cash so we could get a $50 voucher back to make it easier. He eventually agreed to go look in the office and returned stating that we were really lucky he was able to find another voucher. We gave him the $4 and the whole time he was filling it out, he continued to complain that we should have just paid cash. Toby said 'that's ok, it's all sorted out now' to try to get him to stop arguing but he just had to have the last word. Our whole argument went on for at least 10- 15 minutes, it wasn't just what he said but they way he treated us like we were idiots. Also it would be different if we had spent $95 or something and were asking for a $5 voucher, but we only spent half of the voucher.
So I went home fuming. I've been to Shakahari more times than I can count and given it good reviews here and here and here. Also I rarely get annoyed at restaurants, I'm the type of person who doesn't even complain when I find hair in my dish.(It's just hair, right?) So I googled consumer affairs policy on gifts cards and vouchers and discovered that it clearly states that gift cards (and vouchers) can be used more than once.
It left me feeling so frustrated that I'm thinking about donating the $50 voucher to someone else. It's such a shame too because I was planning on celebrating my birthday there in a couple of months but I really don't want to go back.
I actually had another issue with their customer service when I tried to make a large booking for my birthday a few years ago and they gave me a hard time about it. For example, the woman continued to state that perhaps my friends would cancel or not show up at the last minute before insisting that we all arrive 5.45pm (15 minutes before they open) and that we pre-order our meals because there was too many of us. We followed her instructions, arrived at 5.45 and was told quite rudely that the restaurant was shut and then they messed up my pre-order and we ended up sitting on two different tables. I really had thought that there customer service has improved since then, but maybe not.
See other non angry reviews from Veg in the West, Vegan about town, wheres the beef and easy as vegan pie.
201-203 Faraday St