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Bhavani Indian Restaurant
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Simon Stevinplein 5, Bruges, Flanders 8000
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A Restaurant in the business of ripping people off
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
October 27, 2010
We attended this very, very expensive restaurant on Simon Stevinplein in Bruges that claims to serve "authentic" 'Indian' food. The food was extremely overpriced, with everything costing double or triple what it would cost in Ireland. Like most ...
We attended this very, very expensive restaurant on Simon Stevinplein in Bruges that claims to serve "authentic" 'Indian' food. The food was extremely overpriced, with everything costing double or triple what it would cost in Ireland. Like most places in Bruges, we knew this place was expensive when we entered, but as a tourist sometimes you are willing to overlook the price, in an effort to just try and enjoy yourself on holiday, and hope that the food and service will match up to the price. The menu was only in Dutch and (as was later revealed) was intentionally not explained properly to us by the owner. The non-vegetarian food was mediocre and the vegetarian food was less than average (a lentil soup for starter, the cheapest at approx 7 euro, and a curry which consisted of mostly brussel-sprouts). The rice, at an extra cost is just plain white over cooked basmati. Other starters include a vegetable pakora or vegetable samosa for € 13 Euro! The wine and beer were fine but also very expensive. (We have had infinitely better, more exciting, interesting, authentic and cheaper Indian meals).
However the experience became truly horrible when we received the bill!!! Despite the fact that my girlfriend had ordered from the 'al a carte' menu (which amounted to about € 8 Euro less) we were both charged the set menu price of € 33 Euro. This meant that the bill came to approximately € 100 Euro. We knew the prices were ridiculous from the outset but the fact that the owner was trying to extort a further € 8 Euro for a bad meal was too much for us to bear. So we complained. The waiter (who, to his credit, had been very courteous and polite) went and fetched the owner. When the owner talked to us he was immediately confrontational, rude, arrogant and condescending. Instead of inquiring politely about our query he said, "You are not happy?" in an aggressive tone. This immediately forced us from the position of querying our bill into an argument. He stated the he was "not in the business of ripping people off" (from the other reviews on this site we can see clearly that ripping people off is his sole intention!) He maintained that the menu outlined and explained everything clearly. I asked to see the menu again. I explained to the owner that the main problem was the fact that he did not make it clear to us that his restaurant had a unusual billing process that was only explained in a footnote in Dutch. He said he would calculate our bill again according to the 'al a carte' prices rather than the set menu prices, which I thought was an absurd thing to do. Nevertheless he scurried off and did that.
He returned and happily pointed out that if everything was charged at the 'al a carte' prices that it would amount to a difference of €1.50 Euro less than his original bill. He asked if it really mattered or if we had known the policy if we would have ordered any differently. I said 'or course we would have ordered differently', he laughed at me and demanded that I tell him what I would have ordered. By this time the argument became a matter of principle rather than money and his attitude had made thing infinitely worse, souring our entire evening.
I began to explain to him that it should have been obvious that we were not local, especially as I had asked him to explain their pricing policy and how their set menu functioned before we had ordered. I said to him it was not clear from either the menu or his explanation that we would be charged in this way. He interrupted by scoffing and laughing at me and told me how little he thought of restaurants that had menus in several languages. He said that they were trying to be more exclusive than the average restaurant in Bruges. (Apparently this means misleading, overcharging and confusing tourists, who seem to be his main clientele). I found the fact that he interrupted me, laughed at me and argued without one attempt to remedy the situation to be insulting to the point of vulgarity. We were disgusted.
He jeered at me and said, "What should I do? Give you a discount of € 8 Euro?" I answered simply "Yes." He laughed arrogantly for the last time and said in a patronizing tone as he turned his back on us and walked away, "Pay what you want. I don't like people leaving here with a bad feeling." I retorted that this was exactly the feeling we had been left with.
I paid the bill minus the € 8 Euro and we left without another word. This was a horrible experience. He was a despicable man and the meal was a complete waste of money and time. It really ruined our experience of that city. This is a Restaurant in the business of ripping people off! Do not go there!
(The Bhavani website is also a complete deception. Their food, presentation, and restaurant look nothing like what they advertise! It is very much in keeping with the trick they ply on tourists to rob them of as much money as possible)