Dessert Disappointment ~
After a meal, wanting a dessert and we not liking the options at the restaurant. We settled on “Chicco” on Robson. One, I had already parked at a meter near enough for walking and did not want to risk leaving it to possibly not find another closer. Downtown dinner time on a Friday night is always a gamble to find parking. Two, I have seen others post pictures of their parfaits from “Chicco” on their social media and they looked so good that I had to try it for myself.
It being a small cafe, seating was limited; And apparently in such high demand that the shop owner instituted a seating fee. There was a sign posted up indicating that everyone must order a dessert, with no sharing allowed. We took the last table when we came in. And after us a few more came through the door, too many bodies and not enough chairs and tables to accomodate them all. Earlier, on the owner okayed a group of three to split 2 desserts amongst themselves because then the store was empty. However as soon as the shop filled up this group was told they had to give up their table or order another dessert. The poor server was the one who had to convey the message to the patrons and she ended up being a two way punching bag. She had to do as her boss requested or be deemed insubordinate. And she had to broach this request carefully to the particularly combative guests. Rightfully so the group of three stood up for their right to continue be seated. They bought up a good point, if you agree to something you cannot just take it back if the situation changes. But having had numerous clients and customers yell at me, I can emphasize with the young server who is only a representative of “Chicco” and really has no authority to make any decisions on her own accord, especially with her boss a few feet away. The customer who was clearly upset could have calmed her temper better and address the server in a more respectful manner. Just because you pay for food and a person serves it to you, it does to give you the right to treat them like your servant. After what felt like 30 minutes of one sided banter the silent shop owner called the server back behind the cash desk in retreat. The cafe went silent and eventually the situation resolved itself when the party of three left sooner then they orginally intended to. This situation did hamper our experience and the atmosphere of “Chicco”.
The care in customer service as in the decor of the shop is non existent. Nothing about this place entices you to want to stay and enjoy your dessert with a side of conversation. The lighting is bright and offensive in colour and intensity. The tables and chairs do not match one another and sitting on benches with no back support is no treat on the spine. If you want water it is a self serve jug on a counter by the garbage can. The cups you drink out of are the plastic speckled ones you see at cheap buffets like “Uncle Willy’s”. Considering they put so much effort into the esthetics of their desserts, it would be nice if they aligned this vision with their decor.
As for their trade mark parfaits, it is nothing special. Yes, they look beautiful for pictures, but honestly not worth the $8-9 price point. All it is, is a plastic cup filled with a variety of items, that are not necessarily complimentary. I counted 10 in the strawberry one I ordered. All this is topped up with a scoop of ice cream, syrup or fruits. The base filler was cornflakes and bits of sponge cake. There were some fun ingredient choices like fruit pearls, red bean spread, rice cake chunks, crumbled up pieces of cookie, etc;. The most enjoyable thing about them was taking the pictures. I appreciated all the ingredients that went in to making them but they were hardly the “modernist desserts” “Chicco” claim them to be. Very disappointed that the look did not match the taste.
At “Chicco” you can also order cakes. The strawberry shortcake and green tea cake we had did not measure up. The strawberry shortcake was not close to an actual starwberry shortcake. They were cheap sponge cakes, the kind you would find in a $3.29 Swiss roll or at the bottom of a Chinese fruit cake. This not worth the $7-8 dollars we had to pay for them. We did not even finish it all. If you are out of options and just want to get off of the street late a night, this would be a viable option.
Would I go back? – No, nothing really worth trying a second time.
Would I recommend it? – No! No reason to discredit my reputation for this.
CHICCO DALL ORIENTE
1504 Robson St, Vancouver BC