25 February 2010

Cru Bar and Cellar - Above and Beyond

Sometimes I feel like I’m breaking some kind of unspoken rule. “Thou shalt not like thy mother-in-law”

Sometimes when I hear people whinging about how awful, inftefering and just plain mean their MIL’s are – I want to slowly back out of the room – like the prey escaping a pack of wolves.

The truth is – I have struck some kind of “In-Law Lottery”, where I honestly believe that although she is family by default – she has become a friend by choice.

So it was really nice to be able to have a couple of drinks with her this week while we waited for our class at the James St Cooking School to start (a whole other post…).

We ended up at Cru Bar on James Street where I have been a few times but this time I was struck by just how easily they get it right.

It is not difficult to make a customer feel welcome, to show them to a nice table regardless of whether or not it is reserved for later that night. It is not hard to pound fresh lime into a glass when you know how much better it tastes over that horrible Lime Cordial. And it is definitely not a trial to keep us topped up with chilled water in an effort to cool down the blistering afternoon.

All in all, Cru Bar showed us that it is not hard to give good customer service. As a standard.

What I really liked is that when we finished our Duo of Dips with Turkish Bread and you heard us remark how much we were enjoying it – you offered to get us another serve of bread so that we could finish the remaining dip. Out came a bowl of freshly toasted, crisp on the outside, delightfully doughy in the middle, Turkish bread – free of charge.

It’s nice to be asked if you would like “the same again”. Yes I would, and yes I am impressed that you remembered what we ordered the first time.

The dips? Well they were gorgeous. Of the Duo – one was a house made hummus, zingy with fresh lemon and drizzled with a earthy olive oil. The second was a delicious Basil Pesto and Feta combination – slightly salty but in a way that melded perfectly with the hot bread. Something simple, done well.

Although we didn’t have time to stay for dinner – the way that they treat their “quick drink” customers is a surefire indicator of just how well they run their Bar and Restaurant.

The Verdict: Very welcoming, efficient and personable. It is so refreshing to go somewhere that gets the basics right. After a few lackluster dining experiences lately – this was a breath of fresh air.

Recommendations: The dips were a great nibble and it was a tough choice from the menu. I have had many a cocktail here over the years – pop in and try their Blueberry Iced Tea or their Mojito – they are memorable. MIL was quite impressed with their winelist… so we might need to go back to have another look at that…

Contact: Cru Bar and Cellar

Cru Bar & Cellar on Urbanspoon


  1. I know what you mean. I have lots of friends who complained about their mom-in-law. Like you, I have a wonderful mother in law. Although I can't see us having a drink at a bar like you do with yours (she's not the type), she certainly will share a good book with me, teach me how to cook or bake or knit, help us renovate our house and tidy up our garden. :)

  2. I love hearing about brilliant service! It IS the hospitality industry after all, it really isn't that hard to get it right - I had a recent brilliant experience of service at Beccofino, Teneriffe. They had us eating out of their hands, I'm sure we ordered about twice the wine we normally would because they were so welcoming and the atmosphere so relaxing, despite them being ridiculously busy. In comparison, some venues that really should know better fail here, and it puts a bad taste in my mouth, ensuring I never return.
    Looking forward to the cooking class review!

  3. Man I've got to get to Cru - for years it's been on my 'to-do' list, and I've never quite made it. Love the extra bread - we all know the pain of not enough bread, too much dip.