Hede came up trumps again with the food. I ate the eel which was really nice. It's a good job the food was up to scratch because the service wasn't and it made up for it.
They have upgraded their menus, which creates a better feel.
The service was not very good, and it wasn't busy. The waitresses were not interested in serving us, and when they did, it seemed like it was an inconvenience. The waitress also kept knocking into me when passing food plates over the table - a simple 'excuse me' would have been appreciated and I would have happily moved to the side.
It would appear that they often have problems with large groups and how to work out the BYO fee, as a really big fuss was made at the time of ordering our food about how many bottles of wine were open to be drunk, how many people were drinking, which people (and their names) were having wine, how we were going to pay for etc. If it is the case that they have problems with large groups not paying properly, I'd suggest another solution - be creative with how you can solve that!
As per everyone else's review, the food is incredible! Seriously, so scrumptious. Wow. But that's where the good stuff ends. If 'going out' to dine was simply about the food, then this would be a 5 star review. But eating out is just as much about the 'experience' as it is about the food.
We made a booking earlier in the day for 7.15pm. When we arrived, we were told to come back in 15 minutes. It was freezing Wellington night, so we kept ourselves warm in a Fix convenience store since there was no room to wait in their establishment.
We returned 20 minutes later - just to be sure - and were pointed to a window table. The restaurant was still very full and bustling, but guests were starting to leave (there were tables with big groups and well as smaller groups). We waited half an hour to be given menus and water, while the staff concentrated on clearing tables and processing the paying customers. It got to the point, after about 20 minutes, that we kept looking around to try and get their attention but were still ignored.
Finally, after all the staff had cleared roughly 5 or 6 tables, they asked us "what are you waiting for, did you just here?". Not so impressed. They brought over a menu and water for us. Then we ordered appetisers + mains - they came out 15 minutes apart which was good timing.
The food was incredible, and very good portion size (Chicken + Japanese Mayo, Tempura Prawns, Teriyaki Chicken, Teppanyaki Beef). We couldn't finish it all. As soon as we were done eating what we could, all the staff were sitting around at the tables with their jackets on, and using their phones. Obviously they wanted us to leave. They kept staring at us. And big bowls of food was being brought out to one of the group tables where they were sitting - so obviously they were about to have staff dinner, and wanted us to leave.
So we did. Full (and with the leftovers in tow) and satisfied by the food, but very bemused by the non-existence of any customer service whatsoever.