“Have you been here for long?”, I asked the waiter at “The Loft” earlier tonight. “Four years for the current owner, but about thirty years overall”, he replied. I wondered to myself if maybe I’d been there before, but had completely forgotten. Or maybe it was called something else. Either way, it was a genuine and pleasant surprise to discover such a terrific place in my hometown.
I’m missing some of the culinary variety I enjoy back in Sydney. I’ve been out to eat a few times, but tonight I headed out for a bit of a look around town to see what else might be on offer.
On a few occasions lately, as I’ve walked through Lismore’s laneways, I’ve noticed “The Loft”. I hadn’t read any reviews, and I had no expectations as I popped in tonight, ostensibly for a quick glass of wine and maybe only something small to eat.
I really enjoyed both the wine and the food. The service was excellent, too, being both friendly and efficient. Seated on the ground floor of the restaurant, I also had a view of the open kitchen. They must have had a few tables of people upstairs too, as the kitchen seemed busy, though they didn’t seem overly “stressed”.
A glass of wine and the tofu was the perfect antidote I needed to my “food funk”. “We must all go here next time we’re all in Lismore”, I said to a group of friends on Messenger, most of whom live away.
In contrast, there’s a cafe in Lismore which I’ve decided I no longer wish to go to. Every time I’ve been to the cafe, I get the impression they don’t really want me to come in because I only want to grab a nice quick coffee. On the first occasion, I asked for a table, and when I told them I only wanted a coffee, they told me “You’ll have to leave if it gets busy”. I was a bit shocked, actually, as I don’t think I’ve ever had someone say that so bluntly before. As I looked around, I noticed the cafe was maybe half-full. “I’ll have a menu”, I replied “just in case I change my mind”.
The same thing with coffee has happened twice since then, including today when it was even less busy than on the first occasion.
I realised today it reminded me of the attitudinal difference between what you receive at Heathrow and Dublin Airports. At customs in Dublin they say to you “How long are you with us for?”, while at customs at Heathrow they say “When are you leaving?” A few simple words can make a big difference to your experience.
The coffee is good, so I might give them one more chance. There are a few other places serving good coffee, so if I don’t go back there, I won’t lose sleep over it.
Sounds like I’m starting to settle in, eh?