The southern end of Chapel St in Windsor (south of Union and James streets) is not known for food. It is however op shop central for vintage lovers. The northern end of Windsor is much busier in terms of food. I don’t rate Ghin Kopi for flavour of Dino’s for service (see below). But there’s a new Americana diner called Parlour that is worth trying (see below).
Perhaps the best place to eat in this area is Minghouse, which is modest in appearance but makes excellent char kway teow (and other dishes), much better at least than at New Wind further north (yes I know New Wind is Vietnamese-Thai, but they have it on the menu and I thought I’d try it).
Parlour is a new diner doing the retro Americana food, like burgers and hotdogs, that is so fashionable at the moment. Their ‘Miss Saigon’ fish cake and Asian slaw burger also has lettuce and tomato is really tasty. The coffee is good too. See another, more detailed, review.
My first experience of Dino’s, a few years ago on the way to seeing a film at the Astor, was of average coffee and indifferent service. I ate an excellent meal there about 18 months ago, but good service was assured as my table was known to management. When I entered a couple of weeks ago, I was completely ignored by the waitress and the barista as I looked around and decided where to sit.
After I sat at a table, it took three passes of the waitress for her to bother making eye contact with me and saying ‘I’ll be with you in a moment’. It wasn’t busy. I don’t expect instant service, but I do expect politeness and courtesy. I was nearly ready to walk out.
I did exactly that at Borscht Vodka and Tears a few days earlier, after sitting unattended for several minutes when it was mostly empty. Young women wait staff seem particularly haughty and indifferent to customers. In my experience young men, like the amiable one who had last served me at Borscht (and made amazing coffee), are more effusive with customers.
When the waitress did approach me she said generically ‘how can I help you?’ I literally had to ask to see the menu, which she then brought with the obligatory glass of water. I felt like sarcastically saying ‘oh, I thought this was a hardware shop, I need potting mix and a stepladder’. The menu should be automatic. Why else would I be there?
I had a smoked salmon bocadillo with red onion and fries with aioli. The food is fine and the coffee acceptable (I think Parlour’s is better) but the service makes me unlikely to return.