When you dine out, the experience is made up of a lot of factors. The food is obviously a huge one. When eating out, people want delicious and appropriately presented food. The idea that a talented chef can create flavour combinations and intricate dishes that could never be whipped up in a home kitchen is what people crave.
However, one thing that can make or break a dining experience is the wait staff. If you have a particularly knowledgeable or entertaining waiter, it can turn a pleasant evening into a memorable one.
1001 Nights Restaurant is one of the few authentic Middle Eastern restaurants on the Mornington Peninsula. The food brings together the best produce of the Mornington Peninsula with traditional Middle Eastern flavours in a modern way.
Everything is cooked on site, even down to the Middle Eastern bread.
Tom Cross has been a waiter at 1001 Nights for over a year now. Trading Plates caught up with him to find out what it is like being a waiter, working with such a specific cuisine and what a day in the life of a waiter entails.
- How much training did you undertake when you started and what did it entail?
The training involved was not particularly intense; the atmosphere of the restaurant is pretty casual, which I really prefer to something more formal. Most training was of the on-the-job style, mostly focussing around recommending dishes to customers.
- What have you learnt about Middle Eastern food?
I have learnt a lot about Middle Eastern food, as I had not been exposed to it much previously. A lot of char-grilling, lots of different grains that I was not familiar with and some really interesting spices; it definitely is a cuisine that I have a lot more knowledge of and admiration for.
- How often does the menu change?
The central menu is fairly static, but we do offer specials every day, which rotate around quite frequently. The rate of change on the specials usually depends on how fast they are sold – once we have gotten rid of the baby snapper, the chefs will put a whole chicken tandoori on the specials.
- Do you often get in depth questions about the food/ ingredients from customers?
We do get quite a few specific requests from customers about the food, mostly in regards to the spice content of dishes and also dietary requirements, gluten intolerance being the most common. Fortunately, the restaurant offers a lot of options to cater to specific tastes and requirements.
All of our produce comes from markets in the Peninsula-Dandenong area and the recipes are all authentic Middle Eastern. There is a lot of history behind the food, coming from what the chef assures me is the “cradle of civilisation”, and I have definitely tasted some really interesting, unique things.
- Your recommended must try dish and drink?
It is really hard to pick just one, so I would say that the Swordfish Tikka and Chicken Tagine are an amazing combination. And to drink I would say that the 961 Lebanese Spiced Pale Ale is a particularly interesting and delicious beer.
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|3/86 Mount Eliza Way, Mount Eliza VIC 3930
(03) 9787 5565