Pink Peppercorn - The Cannery lives on
Good news for fans of the Cannery!
Mia Stainsbury in the Vancouver Sun:
Remember how loyalists mourned the passing of The Cannery? Well, think of Pink Peppercorn as something of a resurrection. Edward Geekiyanage, who was The Cannery’s lunch chef, has opened a seafood restaurant called Pink Peppercorn Seafood House at 1485 Kingsway (604-569-3626). The menu features many of The Cannery dishes, including the salmon Wellington and steamed lobster — only the prices are about a third less.
Here's a photo of the location:
I drive by there (I rap the Kingsway strip from Main to Metrotown everyday) and noticed the previous Chinese resto (L.J's) sure didn't last long, in fact I wasn't even sure they were ever open at all.
I dunno, this location is interesting in its own right. Maybe he's banking on the Cedar Cottage neighborhood transforming with the establishment of King Edward Village across the street. What will be crucial will be his prices ...... I don't think this area is fully ready for a mid-/high-end establishment at this time.
We had made reservations for 1:30pm. When we arrived we were pleased to see the same server from our last-ever meal at the Cannery, and we were happy to see some of our old favourites from the Cannery as well as other items on the menu that piqued our interest. Prices are deffo not 1/3 less, unless you're doing the unfair comparison of Cannery's dinner and PP's lunch menus. Actually, the salmon wellington was only $4 less than the Cannery's price.
While we were offered to sit and wait at a table where the previous diners' dishes were still, our table was never prepared. So after standing for 30 minutes with no else ever entering the restaurant after us, we left at 2:00pm. It looked like there was the solo server for the 5 tables that were occupied.
We took Mom across the street to the ever-reliable and family fave--White Spot.
My parents wanted to go to the Pink Peppercorn for dinner before Mother's Day (Saturday night). I think they mostly wanted to go because they heard there was seafood, they liked the Cannery before, and they had heard the Pink Peppercorn was less expensive.
Let's start with the positives:
- food was quite good with large portions (salmon wellington and salmon special)
- food came quickly
- chef came by after the meal to ask how it was
- leftovers packed up nicely
- waiter was clearly experienced in serving
And now the negatives:
- mussels were overly peppery, clam chowder was a little too salty
- decor was blah. It felt a bit sterile - booths with vinyl seating plus giant tv in the middle of the restaurant (not on), plus kitschy leftover seafood decor from the Cannery. Just not the feel I would expect if I am dropping $20-30 per entree.
- lastly and most importantly, we waited in the front of the restaurant inside the door for 30 minutes (!!!!) before anybody came to say anything to us
Some further explanation:
The party in front of us were waiting when we arrived. After about 10 minutes, someone came by to ask how many were in their party and they said they had a reservation for 6. He said he'd go and check. Another 5 minutes elapsed where you could see him bringing food to other people and he came back to say that they had accidentally given away the table for 6 (to a table of 2 people) and that they would have to split into two separate booths. Needless to say, they left and went across the street to White Spot. During this whole time, nobody had addressed us, no "hi", nothing. I felt like they purposely did not make eye contact or something. It's not like they could have missed seeing us there. After about 20 minutes waiting, I went up to the bar area and informed the older female server that we had been waiting for 20 minutes and nobody had come to see us. We had a reservation and should we leave or stay? She did not even bother to turn around and said "we know. someone will come". No apology. Basically, she was super rude and if my parents had not been there, I would have walked right out. In 10 more minutes (total wait time now of 30 minutes standing inside the door), the older male server came by and seated us, with a simple "sorry you've been waiting". Really not the reaction I would expect when you have kept someone waiting without even saying hello for 30 minutes! Seriously, how hard is it to plunk 4 people with menus at one of your several empty clean booths? He sat us at a booth, then offered us the booth by the window. We didn't really care about moving, but he insisted as I am guessing he figured this might make up for waiting? So we had to wait some more for him to clean off that booth and move us over. Other people arrived after us and were greeted and seated in a relatively timely fashion, so I don't know what was up with us and the party ahead of us. Maybe because they were short-staffed (only 2 servers plus a bus boy/cashier)? Maybe because it was 7:30? They definitely had open tables, so it's not like they were at capacity or anything. I have never experienced that kind of service in any restaurant we have eaten at in the world. Maybe the experienced servers here need to have a meal at Joey's or Earl's so they can see what type of service most people are used to nowadays.
When the chef came by after the meal, I didn't have the heart to say anything seeing as how my parents did not want to cause a stir. I will probably write a letter to Eddie though - he should know that he needs extra front of the house training/staff if he has signed a 15 year lease as reported elsewhere.
Overall, I don't care how good the food was (it was all right, but not awesome), that kind of negative first impression cannot be overcome. There are far too many good restaurants with good value in Vancouver for me to waste more money and time going back to one that had such awful service. Sometimes you can accept marginal service because you're going for value and quality of food, but at this price point I expect MUCH better service than what I got.
"When the chef came by after the meal, I didn't have the heart to say anything seeing as how my parents did not want to cause a stir. I will probably write a letter to Eddie though - he should know that he needs extra front of the house training/staff if he has signed a 15 year lease as reported elsewhere.
Overall, I don't care how good the food was (it was all right, but not awesome), that kind of negative first impression cannot be overcome. There are far too many good restaurants with good value in Vancouver for me to waste more money and time going back to one that had such awful service. Sometimes you can accept marginal service because you're going for value and quality of food, but at this price point I expect MUCH better service than what I got."
Good on you, you hit it on the nail. If customers don't complain (or complain enough) when they receive mediocre/sub-standard service, then it's only natural that type of service would remain and affect even more customers. Often times we Canadians can be a bit "too" nice and not wish to rock the boat as consumers when we receive poor service/value. If PP wishes to stay in business and actually profit, they'll have to change their ways one way or another.
Write the letter. Complain in person. Do what needs to get done.