Pugg Mahones Irish Pub, Carlton

As I’m the ‘foodie’ in the group, people always turn to me for suggestions and ideas on where to eat. But in actual fact, even though I am a ‘foodie’ I am quite indecisive. It always makes me nervous when they ask me these questions since what if my suggestions can’t live up to their expectations?

This is one of those moments when I felt bad about suggesting a place to eat. Even though the food at Pugg Mahones Irish Pub was quite delicious I thought, the fact that they had to turn away one of my companions ruined the night for us. Let me explain.

When we arrived at the restaurant, it seemed quite empty in the front of the house, even though the back room was full of people. It didn’t occur to me at the time that there was a function on. We proceeded to order our meals at the bar counter to which the waiter accepted and we paid and sat down. At the time, one of my friend had not yet arrived. Almost one hour on, our meals still hadn’t arrived and we were starving.

Just at that moment, the last friend arrived and went to the counter to order only to be shockingly turned away due to the kitchen being ‘too busy’. I’m not sure if they would have accepted his order if I had gone up and told them he was with us, but my friend ended up leaving to eat at home instead. This was the first time this had happened to me.

Shortly after my friend’s departure, our meals arrived and we all ate in an awkward silence.

I know this wouldn’t usually happen since functions shouldn’t be on every day, but it did leave a nasty feeling in my mind and I was a bit upset that we couldn’t all enjoy the meal like we should have.

Like I mentioned, the food was not bad. I had ordered the roast lamb special for roughly $19. It was a big meal, with delicious carrot and potato mash and baked potatoes, perfectly al dente boiled greens (asparagus, snow peas and broccolini – my favourites) and beautifully seasoned and tender lamb to boot. I thought it was value for money. They also didn’t cheap out on the gravy which is always a plus.

Yuye ordered the seafood basket ($16) which came with Kilkenny battered fish, prawn cutlets, squid rings and battered scallops with chip, salad and tartare sauce. It was slightly oily, although to be expected since everything was deep fried but the seafood was still tender and not overcooked.

K’s chicken schnitzel burger was small but juicy and tasty. So all in all, everyone thought it was an enjoyable meal. If only the awkward turn away didn’t happen.

We should have ordered more beers to sober up and forget about the unhappy things. I’m sure that would have made things better…

I would still return to Pugg Mahones for a good dose of Irish and Modern Australian fare if I have cravings for this type of hearty food though as there wasn’t much to fault with the tasty food and nice atmosphere, I Just have to be wary of big gatherings before I sit down with my friends next time.

Question time: Has this kind of experience ever happened to you? Would you have stayed for your meal even if a friend got turned away?

Pugg Mahones Irish Pub
Phone: (03) 9347 0202
175 Elgin Street, Carlton VIC 3053

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15 comments… add one
  • cquek November 25, 2012, 10:54 pm

    Totally irresistible and extremely sinful.

  • Lilly Sue November 26, 2012, 6:01 am

    Well it sounds like the food at least made up for the kind of awkward experience. It is a bummer that the waiter didn’t just let you know that there was a function going on and the food might be delayed. It sucks how certain experiences can just ruin things even if it was a random occurrence. I know how you feel about people always asking for recommendations…I feel like I have to try every restaurant in my area! lol

    • Lilly Sue November 26, 2012, 6:02 am

      Oh and I probably would have enjoyed an extra beer to lighten the mood 😀

  • Choc Chip Uru November 26, 2012, 7:44 am

    I’m sure the awkward experience just came from the function, after all the food looks delicious! But I think they should not over extend themselves and shut off to other customers for the night!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet November 26, 2012, 9:01 am

    Oh gosh…that’s not very nice for the kitchen to turn your friend away like that….At the end of the day your friend is also a customer and it was only one person I’m sure they could have managed to make his meal.

    But then at the same time I understand that it is quite awkward for you to leave as well, especially since you already have food.

    Glad you still had a good time and enjoyed the food ~

  • Carolyn Jung November 26, 2012, 10:26 am

    Sounds like the restaurant would have been better off to close that night because of the private function. Or to at least tell people at the bar that drinks are available, but not food that night. Hopefully, the place learns from this experience.

  • Georgia November 26, 2012, 11:01 am

    Awk! Sounds like a case of bad time/resource management. That sort of customer service (or lack thereof) would definitely leave a sour taste in my mouth!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 26, 2012, 11:29 am

    I can’t imagine that happening, especially after you telling them it was someone in your group. I would have felt very uncomfortable. They should have told you upon arriving that there was a function and service would be slow or not have served any “public” customers at all. Eating at a restaurant is way more than the food — it’s the experience.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella November 26, 2012, 12:25 pm

    Oh no, that’s no good at all and how uncomfortable for all of you. I’d imagine that usually functions are pre booked so they have the right amount of staff on the floor and kitchen to accommodate the function and regular guests.

  • yummychunklet November 27, 2012, 9:58 am

    Looks like a fun pub. We have one in Chicago called “Poag Mahones”.

  • kitchenriffs November 27, 2012, 10:33 am

    That’s awful! Even though this sounds like a nice place, I wouldn’t be inclined to go back — their behavior to your friend was so inhospitable. Really sorry this happened to you. I’d definitely have a sour taste if my mouth if this happened to me.

  • Parsley Sage November 29, 2012, 9:23 am

    Ohmigosh, I would have been MORTIFIED! I hope you put this review up on trip advisor or yelp because it is unacceptable for a restaurant to turn away a customer if there is no signage warning of an event. That’s just terrible management, nothing to do with your recommendation!

  • Libby November 29, 2012, 6:31 pm

    Eeeek I find it weird that they would turn away one solo diner like that?! Sorry to hear that it ruined your experience. I think if this ever happened to me and my friends, we would have all left and headed elsewhere so we can all have a meal together.

  • Ali November 29, 2012, 9:04 pm

    That’s never happened to me, but I wouldn’t have been impressed at all. I think it’s also bad that you had to wait for an hour for food. If they knew they had a function on, they should have let you know there would be delays. Shame, because it looks like a fun pub.

  • choux choux December 2, 2012, 10:50 pm

    Oh that’s awful! I went to the Pugg Mahones in the city and the food was OK, but nothing spectacular. Just your average pub food. I reckon the one you went to probably has better food.


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