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Brunch, Bonjour Brioche and Bad Service

I finally tried Bonjour Brioche yesterday. I had been looking forward to it after hearing good things about it. I thought the food was pretty good (although it didn't blow me away). The best thing I had out of everything was the chai latte. I think the service was terrible though, and for that I would not rush back. They were indifferent. I know it's busy, etc. on the weekend and you're not paying a lot of money, but service is really important to me. And on top of indifferent service, they only take cash. I think that's really silly in 2006. I went after my run and I only had plastic on me, so I had to borrow from my friend. Not a big deal, but adding to the bad service, I would rather go down the street to Pulp Kitchen, where I always have great food and great service.

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  1. From my recollection - they have 1 or 2 server(s) for the entire place (apprx 25 tables) in that tiny space. It's incredible you get any service at all. To be honest, I've been there a few times where my silverware were actually dirty!

    BUT, having said that - I still go back because nothing warms the heart like the smell of fresh baked bread and the buzz and energy on Sunday morning of a packed house.

    1. yes we went there on Friday morning for breakfast - ahhh summer hours - anyway they never acknowledged us when we arrived - they were all busy and milling around behind the counter so we just took a seat - there were tons of empty seats - not like the weekend. After we'd eaten no one came by with our bill and we figured it was more relaxed than on the weekends when they are busy, by this time we were one of the only tables so went up to the counter. She greeted us with a smile and rang us up. I handed her $30 and she handed me a takeout bag. I was like I'm sorry this isn't mine I'm just paying my bill. And she acted all irritated and was like well who's bill is this? I said I don't know no one brought us ours we were sitting right here. Then we had to watch her bicker with staff to figure out what our bill is and then she looked at me like where is your money? I pointed to the $30 on the counter and said there it is. And she looked like we were trying to rip her off.

      Finally she believed that was my money that I'd just handed it to her 2 mins earlier and then we left.

      Upon leaving I asked my SO why do we go there? The food is amazing but the service........yikes. I'd posted on the board back in January about my experience buying a dozen pastries one morning to take to the office when I was chastized by I think the same woman (owner maybe?) about calling ahead next time I wanted such a big order. 12 croissants! A big order. Wow.

      1. I don't care how great the food is in a restaurant if their service is bad!

        I second the comment about "Pulp Kitchen," that place is great and has time for their customers!

        1. I agree. Service is part of the experience. The staff at Pulp Kitchen always make you feel welcome in a very low key, casual way.
          At Bonjour Brioche, we had to ask for a glass of water twice (they remembered the coffees, I guess they only care about the items you pay for). Due to the busyness, 3 of us were squeezed into a table for 3 on the patio. I ordered the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. I asked that they not include the caviar. There was a half scooped off blob of caviar on it. I guess they remembered after they added it that I didn't want it. Would have preferred not to see the sloppy leftovers on the eggs. The potato rosti on the bottom was greasy and a bit soggy, not crisp. I would say that the scrambled eggs were nice. He looked at me like I was a heathen when I requested ketchup. The baguette was ok. I've had better. I am the type of person that "mmms" a lot when really enjoying a meal and I don't remember being inspired to do that. As a said before the chai latte was good.
          All and all, and especially because of the service, I am not running back. Unfortunately, they are probably too busy to care.

          1. Pulp Kitchen - where is this beautiful spot of sunshine where they're always glad you came???

            1 Reply
            1. re: josamania

              Queen and Logan - it's a simple place, nothing fancy and it's vegetarian, so if you are looking for bacon and sausage, not the place, but I've been with meat lovers who enjoy it there as well - they do have a "bangers and beans" dish that is yum.

            2. Bangers are sausages typically. Does bangers in this bangers and beans mean something else?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Aardvark

                yes, it's a vegetarian restaurant - the bangers are made from a soy product

              2. Sadly, I agree. After braving the appalling service many times for the great food, we finally had to find another downtown croissanterie after we had a baguette with rancid flax seeds in it. Vile.

                Haven't been to Pulp Kitchen before - will have to check it out!

                1 Reply
                1. re: AmandaEd

                  Pulp Kitchen rocks. The menu is amazing. The service is gracious and attentive, but not overwhelming. www.pulpkitchen.ca

                2. I still enjoy Bonjour Brioche every other week or so (its at the top of my street), but strictly for takeout only. I love their croissants, brioche, foccacia, sandwiches, tarts, etc... agree that the service is pretty crap though, hence it being a takeout only spot for us these days.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Vise

                    I agree. I never eat in. It's simply less of a hassle to take out.

                    1. re: mummy2Luna

                      I third that. I always only do take out and it has never been a hassle.

                  2. Haven't been to Bonjour Brioche in quite a few years. The cafe looks quaint and the smell of fresh baking is always a bonus. However the last time I was there we purchased some croissants to take home after our brunch. The brown bag was handed over. When I looked inside they had given me all overcooked croissants. Dark past the point of being acceptible, i.e. kinda burnt. I told the waiter, and they gave me a new batch. Just felt like they were trying to pull a fast one, handing over a rolled up bag, that they had filled while I was eating my brunch, with overcooked goods.
                    As a result I don't think we will ever be back.

                    1. It's really too bad. I wonder if industry people read these forums? I mean things like service and logistics should be an easy fix - no additional $ investment is required. If only they knew about everyone's negative experiences - it would make it such a more pleasurable to place to go on Sunday morning!

                      1. I don't know... I might be a bit twisted but I think that the poor service, surly staff, and cash only policy adds to the charm of the place. :-)

                        Call me crazy but they have sort of a Soup Nazi thing going on... the table service is pretty bad and you can definitely get some attitude from the staff, but if you're grabbing some of their great baked goods for takeout I think the overall experience makes it a unique spot in a world full of bland chains and same old same old. I wouldn't expect a small bakery/cafe to equal the service at Splendido and it certainly does not... but whatever they are doing must be working because its packed almost all day every weekend.

                        End Random Musing...

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Vise

                          I might lean towards "I might be a bit twisted but I think that the poor service, surly staff, and cash only policy adds to the charm of the place" in certain cases if I was blown away by the food, but I wasn't, and anyways, I think good service is much more charming.

                          I'm not expecting Splendido service either - I think there's a happy medium between a bland chain and a fine restaurant. Most of my enjoyable eating experiences take place in family run places with good reliable food and pleasant service.

                          1. re: Vise

                            Adding to the charm? Interesting way of looking at it! I just read through this whole thread and I've seen two recurring themes: 1) bad and rude service, and 2) food variously described as rancid, burned, soggy, and greasy.

                            I've never been myself, but I gotta say I'm really not being sold on this one...

                            1. re: Gary

                              Couldn't agree with you more Gary. And I can't understand why people continue to frequent places that offer bad service. There's a reason it's called the HOSPITALITY business. But if people continue to return to such places (and this one is very busy) they'll never get the message.
                              Our one experience there was awful. Do try Pulp Kitchen. The food and service there is a breath of fresh air compared to Brioche.

                          2. Voice of dissent over here. We actually like Bonjour Brioche. It's one of the things we look forward to doing on our rare weekdays off - breakfast at Brioche.

                            The food is always delicious. The eggs are light and fluffy, the quiches and flans offer a range of taste combinations and sensations, and where else can you have pizza with sardines and call it breakfast?

                            Plus the smell of fresh baked goods - intoxicating, to say the least.

                            I would agree that it's not the most attentive service in the world. But - as a previous poster pointed out - more annoying is the cash-only policy. Get into at least the 20th century, please.