An unappealing kaleidoscope of food was dished up when Colin Fassnidge found himself dining at Café de Vie in tonight’s Kitchen Nightmares Australia
Located in the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s Homebush, Café de Vie should be a recipe for success, but owner Virginia is at her wit’s ends after taking the business following a family emergency: “Financially, it’s really bad. I don’t know what to do. I really need Colin’s help.”
When ordering, Colin compared Café de Vie to a restaurant with “multiple personality disorder” thanks to its six menus filled with 92 dishes from around the world.
Despite the laundry list of food, he noted there wasn’t a single appetising dish, instead stating the burger was like “eating styrofoam” and the spaghetti “tastes like regret”.
The menu wasn’t the only issue, with the dysfunctional relationship between Virginia, silent partner Leba, and head chef Tony frequently at each other’s throats.
Virginia confided in Colin saying she “doesn’t trust the chef”, while Tony felt micromanaged. Not one to take constructive feedback, he tells Virginia: “You piss me off all the time.”
On top of everything, the state of the fridge left Colin disgusted, describing the offerings as: “Bad food coming out of a Petrie dish.”
With little time before the restaurant relaunch, Colin closed the kitchen to get it up to health and safety standards, otherwise he threatened to walk.
Rebranding from the French Café de Vie to a more fitting Café Tabouli, Colin said au revoir to the mixed menu by playing to the team’s heritage and strengths with a Middle Eastern cuisine.
The opening night of Café Tabouli saw a full house and phenomenal food, however it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with one customer wearing a plate of cocktails and several tears being shed in the kitchen.
All in all, the feedback was positive with customers describing the food as “genuinely incredible”, finally putting Virginia’s café on par with the bustling hospitality strip it’s located.
“This is my dream, our dream,” Virginia said.