Well, regular readers may recall a post almost a year ago now about my love of Vagabond. I had been absolutely blown away by the place on my first visit, loving the food, the decor, the friendly staff- all of it. I thought that I had found my favorite place in town.
Unfortunately the rotating menu promised by the Vagabond owner on our first visit never materialized, and my wife was reluctant to go back and eat the same cous cous dish over again (the only vegetarian option on the menu. Thus we haven't been back for some time. Valentines day seemed a great opportunity however, there was no pricey set menu and we manged to get an (albeit very late) reservation for the 14th.
Our reservation was for 9.15pm, and we headed over there in a taxi, excited about our rare week night dinner out. We were a little surprised on arrival that there was quite a wait (never seems the point to me of a reservation. Still we were happy to spend some time in the bar. Seeing Caipirinhas amongst the drink specials we decided to order a couple of Caipriroskas, a romantic testament to the drinks we used to share in Brazil together when we first met. Upon ordering these drinks however, the bar tender laughed at us and said in a patronizing and mocking voice 'don't you mean caipirihna. Politely we explained that no, we meant caipiroska, the same drink, just made with vodka, but I was a little peeved. It wasn't the fact that the bar tender was unfamiliar with the drink that bothered me, it was the fact that he assumed we were ignorant fools- and the incident was particularly strange coming for an establishment that prides itself on its international flavor, and has a very' global' staff.
After a lengthy wait we were taken to our table. The menu had changed very little, but there was a least now a vegetable curry for my wife to pick other than the cous cous. ose an asian sampler to start followed by the Thai curry for my wife and some Coq au Vin for myself. After a lengthy look through the wine list my wife settled on a Tempranillo, which both looked good and was of geographical significance to us- well you know- it's Valentines Day!
The waiter came back and seemed kind of sullen with our choice of wine- he certainly seemed to get a bitchy and patronizing tone to his voice. As he brought it out it was only at the last minute that my wife realized that he had understood our choice to be, not our chosen order, but the cheapest wine in the house. I guess this is where his tone came from?
the correct wine in hand we tucked into our sampler- it wasn't good. The lettuce wraps were very fresh, but the peanut sauce just tasted awful, and the spring rolls were rather banal. Unfortunately our main course proved to be none better- the curry was really nothing special- particularly when faced with Vagabond's price tag. We would have done better at Amarin. the Coq au Vin was just disgusting salty, and I can incredibly close to sending it back. this was quite something coming from a guy who always puts far beyond the regular amount of salt in his cooking. In fact I don't remember ever complaining of salt this badly since I mistook salt for sugar in a cooking class years ago.
The food was poor, the the evening could still have been a success if it had not been for our waiter, he was just exceptionally rude and sullen at every turn, in addition to being highly inefficient. It really ruined the meal for us, having someone look daggers every time a course was served.
Everything about Vagabond on this trip seemed pretentious and yet unfulfilling. It seemed like they had got ahead of themselves. Where on our first visit it was all smiles and friendly chats, now it was brush offs and brisk words.