Review: Old City Bank Brasserie, Katoomba

On our recent visit to the Blue Mountains, K and I visited the Old City Bank Brasserie, which is part of the historical Carrington hotel. It was highly rated on Urbanspoon, and recommended to me by a few different people. The atmosphere is very old-fashioned with dark walls and antique ‘bank’ lights on each table – a really nice touch in honour of the name.

We ordered three dishes – an entree to share, and two mains. For entree we shared the Char-Grilled Kangaroo with a pear, hazelnut and beetroot salad – the meat was lovely and tender and the salad had quite a light dressing that complemented the dish well.

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For mains, K ordered the Porterhouse Steak with fries and a mixed leaf salad, and I ordered the Braised Rabbit Ragu with Pappardelle.

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We were halfway through our mains when horrifically, a caterpillar rears its ugly head over the edge of a lettuce leaf in K’s salad and we promptly lose our appetite. The waitress offered a replacement, but by then we really weren’t in the mood for anything more from the kitchen.

When it came to settling our bill, we were informed that they had subtracted the cost of one of our beverages from the final tally as an apology for the unfortunate caterpillar incident. We accepted this as matter of fact as we are fairly easy-going people (though in hindsight, I feel indignant that we weren’t offered more) and we weren’t going to make a fuss in the restaurant. I’m still trying to decide whether to report it to a food safety authority.

My question to you is – is the cost of a single drink considered sufficient compensation for a bug-ridden salad? What is the protocol when it comes to compensating for an inadequate or unacceptable meal in a bistro-like environment such as this?  What do you do when you find a nasty surprise in your food?

Overall, I rate the Old City Bank and Brasserie in Katoomba a 3 out of 10. The food was fairly standard bistro/pub style food, but it’s hard to get over the caterpillar incident. We won’t be back, and we won’t be recommending this restaurant to anyone we know.

Old City Bank Bar and Brasserie on Urbanspoon


11 Comments

  1. I would have thought that they would deduct the cost of that dish from your bill, not a drink. That just seems odd taking off the drink?

  2. Amy Tong says:

    Sorry about your incident. I consider myself an easy-going person as well, and I don’t think subtracting just a drink is sufficient for an incident like this. I mean, the server could at least deduct the charge of the main course that had the caterpillar who wanna join your dinner party! I have been to a restaurant that waved the whole dinner charge for us (only charge the cocktails) because the wait time was too long for the entree. And the thing is, the server came to apologize already and we told him not to worry as we were not that hungry and we were simply enjoying the time and the cocktail we ordered. At the end, that was one restaurant I would definitely go back, of course, there food was great too.

  3. only a drink? wow… I would of screamed in terror if I saw a head pop out of no where..

  4. Food lover says:

    How precious are you ? I recently found a little ladybird on a salad and accepted that occasionally when eating products that come from the garden these things can happen. It certainly didn’t put me off my whole meal and have me screaming for maximum compensation…

    • Amanda Chan says:

      Good for you. :) I was bothered by having a large caterpillar in a salad that should have been washed, and I would expect compensation for something that doesn’t conform to food safety standards. If that makes me ‘precious’, so be it. If you feel differently and would happily pick around a live caterpillar in your food, that’s your prerogative.

  5. Miss Piggy says:

    I’m a gardener and I suspect that I’ve inadvertently eaten a few bugs in my time using home grown stuff. If a bug crawled out of my meal in a restaurant I would’ve told the staff and at time of payment would’ve said I wasn’t paying for the meal….a free drink is hardly fair. Afterall you drank the drink but didn’t eat the meal.

  6. Alan Thompson says:

    Some things in life just happen, get over it. Everything else looked good why did you not just leave the salad, enjoy (review) the rest of the meals. and leave a realistic review

  7. Chris says:

    ‘A’ single caterpillar constitutes ‘bug-ridden’?

    That is my problem with these non-professional review sites. Anyone is suddenly able to profess indignity at any volume with or without prejudice.
    I acknowledge that the appearance of a caterpillar in a salad is a potentially disturbing scene for some. Despite the fact that the natural environment for a caterpillar is amongst fresh, healthy, green leafy things, which it appears is what your salad consisted of; it could indicate an oversight in the thoroughness of the washing of the greens. Ok. Points against. It also indicates to me that the greens have been freshly sourced and most likely haven’t arrived prepared and vacuum sealed in plastic from wherever. Points for.

    There was a time when things like this weren’t such a big deal, and for you to proclaim loudly that people shouldn’t eat here because a caterpillar avoided detection does indicate a degree of adjudication that is, I believe, out of step with the incident itself and your sense of justice. I do agree that a refund of the salad possibly should have been given if you had been quite disturbed by the incident, but a scathing overarching warning against anyone dining at the establishment is ridiculously arbitrary and out of step with the incident itself. Cheers.

    • Amanda Chan says:

      We clearly have different standards. I have a platform to give my opinion, just as you have one too. People aren’t stupid – they can take an aggregate of different opinions and reviews and decide for themselves if they want to go or not.

      • Chris says:

        Indeed Amanda.

        And I am sure that they do.

        Consequently, I take umbrage at the language you have used to describe the incident. Words like ‘horrifically…rears it’s ugly head’ and ‘bug ridden’ are overly emotive in describing this common, and natural event.
        ‘Bug ridden’ in particular, is about as serious an allegation that you can level at a restaurant. The connotations and consequences are very serious. Places are closed down for these sorts of allegations.
        This restaurant is not just a business for some people, it is a local employer and livelihood for many.
        You are (I assume) writing this as a hobby, so nothing hinges upon the weight of your words to you except the impact of entertainment.
        As a blogger, you are removed from the constraints of journalistic integrity, and this review shows this.

        Please, consider your words more carefully next time you choose to review a venue, and avoid the floral exaggerations. Thank you.


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