Once an iconic Wellington eatery and absolute Nirvana in the hearts of coffee drinkers all round, Fidel’s is now less than a spectre of its former glory. As an ex-employee of the hospitality industry, I understand more than most that, even in a smooth running restaurant, sometimes the shit does indeed hit the fan. Sometimes, food takes too long. Sometimes waiters pour hot soup down a patron’s back (I didn’t get a tip from that table).

Things happen. And at the end of the night you collapse with a glass of wine and write off the shift as a bit of doozey. Apparently, however, terrible service and monumental screw-ups are stock standard at Fidel’s.

Good food and coffee is obviously vital to the survival of any café. Not to mention the highway to my heart. Suffice to say Fidel’s has left me brokenhearted with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Example number one: You would think that steamed rice as a side dish would not be so complicated. After all they had it on the menu. Like some restaurants who pre-prepare their rice prior to serving, Fidel’s attempt at time saving left something as simple as rice (the basic staple of half the bloody world) completely inedible – a congealed blob of sticky rubbish with a nice hardened crust.

I thought to myself, “don’t be unreasonable – I can let one abominable meal go”. Example number two, however, involved a pet hate of mine: undercooked eggs. Had they been fertilised, the chick would still be alive.

Now I’m not a chef, but I am aware that cooking the perfect egg isn’t easy and I can accept a bit of runniness. What I cannot accept is the “baditude” I received.

I was well mannered and polite but received a pair of pursed lips and a new plate of eggs, cooked beyond recognition slammed in front of me. Again I thought to myself, “perhaps she is just having a rough day – I get that”.

A few weeks later, after craving milkshakes, a friend and I decided to give Fidel’s one more try. Again we set Fidel’s the seemingly unreasonable task of toasting a sandwich. Granted it had ham and cheese – talk about complicated.

Fidel’s once again disgraced itself by not only forgetting about the sandwich in the sandwich press, but served it toasted to fuck. While I found it somewhat amusing to watch her furiously (and I
mean furiously) attack this toasted sandwich/block of wood, the food was indigestible. Shame on you Fidel’s!

Hipsters and the other “cool kids” may still swear by Fidel’s “alternative” style and approach to hospitality but I, for one, remained, at the very least, unimpressed. Bad service is simply bad service … no matter how you try and spin it.

Fidel Castro once said “Revolution is a struggle to the death”. Clearly, he never tried to get through a meal at Fidel’s.



1/5 ●○○○○

LOCATION 234 Cuba St, Wellington

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