"Sorry, we're completely booked"

23:53, Sep 02 2012

This weekend's lesson was not to leave booking a table to the last minute.

When we decided we should go out for lunch on Sunday, for Father's Day, it didn't seem a big deal. It wouldn't be hard to book a table, surely.

I started with cafés and restaurants to the south of the city, between town and our rural home. My Dad likes Rossendale Restaurant (136 Tai Tapu Rd), and they had two times available for our party of three and a half. Done. Not quite ... it turned out they were offering a set menu, costing either $40 or $48, and we weren't that hungry.

Sticking to the Tai Tapu, I phoned Raspberry Cafe (40 Rhodes Rd) and its answer machine told me they were completely booked. Not too disheartened, I tried The Packingshed Cafe, at 161 Early Valley Rd. Its two available times did not suit either - we couldn't make the first without breaking the land-speed record, and the second was too late to start a leisurely lunch. Even the Blue Duck Café in Motukarara couldn't offer us a seat before 2pm. Word of its new owners and chef (ex-Tiffany's) must have reached the masses.  

I put in a call to Strawberry Fare, not even sure it took bookings, but it does for lunch at its park-view spot at Carlton Mill. Too many people had bet me to the punch, again. What about its counterpart, Café Métro? Success. Finally, we had an option, as the cabinet food and the fact you couldn't book at this cafe on Papanui Rd, meant it was possible we could squeeze in for a bite. Joe's Garage in Upper Riccarton doesn't take bookings for groups of less than 15, so I had two options up my sleeve.

However, we went for neither. My mother-in-law came up with the solution and we pointed our nose to Rocksalt, in Elmwood, but not before making a booking, just in case. The restaurant's latest reincarnation at 7 Normas Rd is its best by far. On this Sunday, we joined the busy restaurant and were treated to great service and tasty food. One staff member even came to the rescue, pulling pretty faces at my tired two-year-old, when she tossed her toys over something insignificant.

We left sated and happy, with tummies filled of seafood chowder, Thai salad or tasty flatbread. Nice work Rocksalt. Thanks for saving my butt. I really should have known better!