Haiku boasts an interior reminiscent of traditional Chinese tea shops and a state of the art open show kitchen where the team of international chefs can be watched in action. The aromatic dishes are served Tapas-style and a spirit of sharing is encouraged adding to the authentic Asian experience.
We have been regulars at Haiku in the city centre, but noticed a decline in service and in portion size. When we noticed the new venue in the Waterfront we were intrigued. After last night it makes sense. When your service is terrible, you do not mind exposing once-off clients to it, and will not be able to rely on regular clients. After all, you can upset a tourist, s/he will probably be upset but move on, wheras a Capetownian will not only be upset, s/he will tell everyone s/he knows. So, a shrewd business move on the part of Haiku's owners. And there must be some truth to my theory since a third of the reviews on an international travel blog rates the 'new' Haiku average and below.
We ordered starters, and stressed that we wanted our mains to arrive at the same time (having ordered the same at the previous venue and had to watch each other eat). The starters arrived and was as good as we recalled Haiku in the early days. When one main arrived we asked where the other (orange duck) was. After some time Dean, our waiter, relayed some story about the chef not being happy with the dish, and would I want to order something else. I asked to speak to the manager, expressed my dissatisfaction and told them I will now watch my partner eat her mains. Another pseudo-apologetic manager also arrived and wanted to make amends to a spoiled meal. My partner finished her meal when a dish (no idea what it was, certainly not orange duck) arrived for me which I declined. The manager then wanted to tell me that I will get this (?) dish as a take-away. Again, I declined, paid our bill ( for the first time ever tipping zero - quite simple, my expectation of service not met, waiter's expectation of tip was not met) and left.
A fine venue for a tourist in the mood to be ripped off, but definately not a venue for Capetownians.
An email to the owner remained unanswered, but as speculated above, they do not wish to keep regulars happy, this might all be about ripping off once-off-touristy-could-not-care-less patrons.