All began well enough: a seat by the window, Motown and soul at a low volume, sunshine, and a smiley waiter. The menu reads:
"The mix of moods, genres and flavors is arranged by a French DJ, Emmanuel Santarromama who was also running a restaurant in Paris, accompanied by local socialite Michael Shen. As our Chef Leo Shi, we always take care of the quality and the freshness of the food we serve in our restaurant. Enjoy!"
During the entire dining experience, a man who appeared to be the foreign partner remained parked at the bar, gazing into his laptop. Was this the French DJ? There was one other occupied table in the small restaurant. Not only did this fellow not greet us or ask about the meal, but as the entire burger dilemma unfolded, he remained silent.
A meager chicken Caesar salad came out first, followed by fish and chips. Definitely not bad, but not memorable either. For 55rmb, a Caesar deserves a little more chicken. But these are small complaints compared to the 80rmb burger.
Raw, cold in the middle, black like the hearts of cheating cab drivers, and filled with more overpowering onion bits than actual meat. After cutting this into three pieces and taking some test bites, we sent it back, complaining of coldness. "It's because we took the meat from the freezer", says one of the staff. The whole time, laptop guy is just sitting there.
Then, ten minutes later, they bring back the same burger, still cut in pieces, just slightly more cooked. Most places would likely cook a new patty and offer up something presentable. This is a twelve dollar burger.
No apology, no offer to bring something else out. Nothing. So we just take the burger to go, hoping to find someone in the neighborhood to give it to.
But not even she wanted it. Bottom line, a "diner" that can't do a decent burger is like a graphic designer who doesn't know how to use Photoshop. This is 2016 -- it's not like 1998 where one would accept any simulacrum of a hamburger because that's as good as it gets. You've got a dozen better and cheaper options in a three-block radius, and Xinle needs to step their game up if they wanna survive in this market.