Customer service?

‘Hello’ I said, as the mobile rang. It was clearly Partner asking me whether I wanted two or three potatoes. Yes, I had sent him shopping again.

There was just a loud burble. Or babble to be more precise. I see. In a bar. I turned it off.

An hour or two later, it rang again.

‘Hello’ I snapped. Only to be answered by a stranger. Uh?

‘Do you speak Spanish?’

I don’t even know why I continued, but I said yes.

Then, ‘habla español?’


So the conversation continued in Spanish.

‘Who owns this phone?’

‘Well, me obviously, that’s why I’m answering it.’


Then, I looked at the number. Wait, why was some stranger ringing me on Partner’s phone?

Realisation dawned. Ding, drop of Gibraltarian penny. Not my phone they were asking about. The one they are ringing from.

‘Ah, it’s my husband’s.’

‘OK,’ conversation reverted to English, as happens in Gib, ‘please tell him to collect it from the Roxy.’

‘Vale. Gracias. Thank you very much.’

So, the idiot had gone to the Roxy for coffee and left his mobile.

On his return, complete with four potatoes, I informed him of his missing mobile.

‘Oh, it’s this jacket,’ he said. Nothing to do with the idiot in charge of the mobile, obviously.

Off he went back to the Roxy to collect it.

The Roxy, the Splendid and the Toby are owned by a Moroccan family. They don’t attract a large gathering of Brits, but do get Gibbos, Spaniards and Portuguese. And Moroccans, obviously.

Partner first went to the Toby with another Moroccan. The firm Partner was working for were refurbishing M’s bar. Some of his British co-workers lacked respect for M and were blatantly racist. But one morning, at breakfast time, M invited Partner for coffee. So off they went to the Toby.

Like a lot of bars they all use coffee from the local firm, Sacarellos. Unlike a lot of bars, they only charge a quid for a coffee. Most of the others are £1.50 upwards.


They are also extremely honest, as this anecdote shows. Highly recommended, and not just for their coffee, which can’t be beaten in Gibraltar. Oh, and if you want a shot of anis with your morning coffee, it’s not measured on the optic either.

Meanwhile from the cheapest coffee in Gibraltar to one of Gib’s rather more expensive restaurants, La Sala, based on the floating hotel at Ocean Village, the Sunborn.

I received, as did another Gib blogger, an email saying they would like me to review their restaurant.

Very nice, methinks, although I suspected Podencos might not be allowed. However that wasn’t my biggest issue.

I explained that we are vegetarian/vegan, and for the benefit of the dull ones, I mentioned animal rennet and free-range eggs. I then pointed out that I didn’t want veg lasagna, veg stir-fry, or veg curry. Seriously, I’m not prepared to go out for a free meal for something I can do better at home.

Did they send a swift, no problem, reply? I’m still waiting.

How many days does it take to come up with vegetarian/vegan options?

La Sala. In terms of customer service, take a lesson from the Roxy.

Gib at night, just down from the Splendid bar. Busy Saturday night …

109 comments on “Customer service?

  1. I too tire of the vegan/vege options that a place offers when I ring up to ask if they prepare their own food, and do they cater for myself and my friends. I’ll never eat risotto again I’m so tired of it, and here the mainstay seems to be roasted vegetables and hommous on some form of flat-bread/ciabatta. I like that, but I won’t pay through the nose for it. My preference when eating out is Chinese/Cantonese/Japanese food. I can fill my boots several times over, and they usually have a sorbet on or a dairy free ice cream sometimes. I had a marvellous aubergine dish/stew at a Turkish restaurant a few months ago too, so I’ll be back there. I’m just gibbering on about places to eat now, so I’ll stop because you don’t even live here, so how much use it will be to you is obviously negligible. *laughs*

    I really enjoy your shots of Gib, the evening ones transport me back to Barcelona, the buildings looks so similar, How’s the ankle doing?

    – sonmi eating udon noodles upon the Cloud

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I was doing my infamous au pair thing near Torino we had rather a lot of asparagus risotto. Vegan father grew it, while carni mother continued to serve Parma ham and me,on for lunch. At the time I ate both :) I do a good veg paella, although I’ve never seen it out. Our classic rice eating out tale was in Alicante where we went to a veg restaurant to be informed she did great roast beef and Yorkshire pud. No. Just no. OK then, what about arroz muy delicioso? Sounded good. ‘Very delicious rice,’ I said. We got a bowl of boiled rice with a few frozen peas chucked in. Well, they’d warmed up by then.

      I go emerald with envy reading American vegan options. But there are a few decent places in Spain. I just don’t want to travel to Barcelona, Tarragona, Málaga, Fuengirola for a meal out.

      Hmm, I don’t think Gib looks like Barca, more Italianate here. It’s ok ta. No worse. Udon noodles, hmm.

      Liked by 1 person


    This is hitting the headlines here in UK. Sounds like a good idea….

    From 1/ 45th of the Squad who dug out the basis of the tunnel in 1961, now known as Keighley Way, between Little Bay and Europa Flats.

    Just as a “By the way”… I have recently had 4 BCCs (Basal Cell Carcinomas) removed from my forehead and upper shoulders which were formed there 50 plus years ago when I was instructed to remove my Army shirt and become all bronzed / tanned just like the rest of the Squadron as we prepared the approach road to this tunnel… Unfortunately my pure white Anglo Saxon / Celtic skin did what it always did… turned a bright pink and produced some quite large fried eggs of blisters all across my manly shoulders! This painful condition was largely ignored by the PTB as it was considered to be “contrary to good order and military discipline” and could lead to a charge of ‘Self Inflicted Wounds”, if one dared to report sick and take time off to get the severe burns treated. There was no such thing as a Health and Safety at Work there and the individual would have been classed as a right wimp if any kind of protection was used to guard against this sunburn.


    • Thanks for that link Abuelo, missed that. Sounds a bit speculative, but that was ever Gib.

      I’ve walked Keighley many a time, and next time I’ll be thinking of you. It’s bloody long. It is safe, isn’t it?!😧

      Sorry to hear that, and hope that’s sorted it for you. Australia seemed to wise up faster to the dangers of Anglo Saxon skin in the sun pretty fast. How things change. Macho shirtless men digging away get bronzed and … BCC. Not good. Seriously, best wishes for no more, but do keep out of the sun. We had a neighbour who was in Africa, got cancer on her face and after it had been removed was still out sunbathing in the garden.

      Take care Eddie :)


  3. what’s not to like in this post?
    wonderful pictures of Gibraltar
    a bumbling partner (I can totally self-identify here)
    a neighborhood bar…(well, there is that)
    Coffee (always a great addition)
    and Vegetarian/Vegan ‘Angst’ at the lack of options/sensitivity. :(
    we’re just starting out on the Vegetarian Journey, but we’ve made good progress and my health is better for it.
    I always enjoy reading your posts and the great photos that come with them. cheers from Arizona

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Common cuisinary(?) change, I suspect, is not too unlike common electronic-technological changes… in their post R&D stages. When it first hits only a select number of markets/restaurants, it is much more expensive than it is when it becomes much more common and popular.

    Change and trends can be a tricky-finicky lot at first. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was blogging about life in rural France I used to be invited to join blogfests…go to meetings…do reviews.
    I used to reply by suggesting that the PR organisation running the event try to read the content of my blog…
    Result? Dead silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The importance of customer service cannot be over-emphasized. May you get your dream meal at that other place — when they finally figure out what it might be.


  7. This reminded me of two incidents. The first when I was in Japan with a colleague who left her handbag in a resturaunt and we had got back to the hotel, a serious route march away, only to discover that it had been left behind. We went back, and there it was, in the same place she had left it. I may have mentioned this before – it’s also one of the times I twisted my ankle very badly.) The other, more recent time was after we move here, and The Husband forgot his debit card when he paid the cashier for the weekly groceries. After searching high and low, and the regular process of elimination, he came to the conclusion that that’s what had happened. He rang. Sure enough, safe and sound ready for collection when he next went to do the weekly shop.

    And I’m so with you about paying or going out to eat food you can make better, yourself (also at the risk of sounding arrogant) :)


    • Actually, a zillion years ago I left a purse in a restaurant and it was still there. Doubt it would be now.

      The eating out thing. My mother dug her own grave. She was a good cook to start with, as was her mother, and when she bought the Cordon Bleu Cookery Course magazines (4/6 each week) we suddenly stopped eating out … And did I learn?! But, a home atmosphere is more private and relaxing anyway, so who cares apart from the washing up?


  8. I had been wondering where to get a decent coffee on the rock, now I know! As for a vegan meal, I am pathetically grateful if there is ever ANYTHING I can fill my belly with that is vegan… :-)


  9. The round the corner, local joints always take the cake, don’t they? The joints that don’t necessarily have the sea views and shiny-wear. Somehow the coffee and beer always just seems to taste better!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love reading stories of honesty. It’s all a matter of having respect for other people’s property. I’m sure there are far more honest people in this world, than dishonest. It’s just that it’s the baddies that make the headlines. Love your ‘busy Saturday night’ photos. :)


    • Yes, I can imagine. Chips can be a staple. In Spain, we can manage chips, olives, pimientos, mushrooms, for tapas dishes and then it gets tough, oh, a basic salad, SIN ATUN. I wouldn’t mind but Spanish can be dead creative with tasty tapas they just insist on adding dead animals/cheese/eggs. Cooking in Gib is not vegan creative. At all. We had a good veganburger, chips, salad some years ago. Place closed. Wasn’t vegan, but at least catered for vegans.


  11. I’m still worried about the potatoes… were they what you wanted?On customer service, there’s an article in the press about a manhatten restaurant trying to change the tipping culture in NY away form excessive tipping. How does tipping feature in Gib? In the British ‘oh well, I suppose…’ way? Or a more strident, ‘so what’s wrong with my service?’ way? Or none at all.


    • I don’t really care. He’s the one who loves potatoes, I just cook them, chips in the oven, pommes Anna, julienne potato cake, roast, boiled, sauté, dauphinoisish etc.

      No idea about tipping. Don’t remember giving any! I’m of the view people should be paid a decent wage in the first place but I realise that puts me in the past. My dad always used to tip. I found it embarrassing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You know where we are. We work so hard to keep the small local places in business. With the tourists, come the big players – with their glossy “cozy” and their drive thru. (and their crowds).
    We lost one that was here a long time, another just closed across the lake ( they had musicians an d lived up to their name “Oasis”). Another opened, but it was really a front for animal shows twice a day (and you had to buy tickets/ or cups of really bad coffee…not a fan of monkey staring at me across the table looking annoyed – or paying for bad coffee…glad that place closed.)
    With your and partner’s skills, I’m surprised you two aren’t feted residents. Tourist items. Still say, you should do an Uber-type guide to Gib. No one could give a better tour…but you’d have to put up with annoying tourists. Maybe you could have them submit applications and you could screen them – which would make your tours even more exclusive and desirable. Of course they would have to carry you on their shoulders in a chair like Cleopatra. And they would feel privileged to be allowed to do so. Snowy could sit at your feet. Then maybe restaurants would offer real fare in an attempt to get you to bring the tourists to them.
    And yes, the comments are getting more odd…doing my best to help with that.
    Glad the phone was returned. That wouldn’t have happened here. Ebay and thieves market.
    (Barks to Snowy as it was 58 F this morning and Molly is finally willing to get off the couch and go outside.) (Oh, Snowy, we saw a dog downtown that reminded us of you. Oh, Ok – it was white and alone – but it did remind us of you. Picture’s there if you have time. Paws up for pups!)


    • I think you win the prize for the off the wall comment. Thank you.

      Nearest we get to animal shows are dolphin tours and the monkeys. Not seen them for ages. Monkey harassment officers must have sent them back up the Rock. Because, why pay for a taxi tour up the Rock if you can see a monkey down Main Street. Taxi drivers wouldn’t like that would they?

      Nobody pays for anything these days. Fact of life. Cheap wins out.

      Maybe Gib isn’t too bad after all then. Although phone has been returned in Spain too.

      We’ll try and paw our way over. Trying a catch up on comments first though … paw waves Molly

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hehe, interesting isn’t it – my husband can’t go food shopping without phoning me to check on SOMETHING. He manages to keep going in a high pressured job but somehow initiative goes out the window in a food store.
    T’will be interesting also to see if that restaurant ever gets back to you. They’re probably quaking in their boots. But I’d go for the chance not to have to cook for a change, even if what’s on offer was something I’m fairly able at … might turn out to be better than expected.


  14. Local places for locals are gold. That they took the trouble to return the phone speaks volumes.
    Sunday morning found our neighbor and the G.O. both having a cigarette, on the footpath, as strata laws now prevent them from smoking on their respective balconies, commiserating about Saturday evening’s dining out ventures… as the G.O. summed it up, there’s a hundred places to eat up the road, and only 95 are worth bothering with. And all of them, regardless, are packed on a Saturday night. Sigh. And coffees in a café are at least A$3.50 and the odds are barely 50/50 on getting something drinkable. I have to deduce the majority of punters are not discerning consumers. More vegan dining options though coming along locally at least, but as you say, most you could make at home. But then, I think we’re among the fringe who actually know how to make decent food ourselves.


    • It was the effort of ringing. Not just hanging onto it, or taking it to the police station, actually ringing the last number called (I think). Mind you, we had one returned in Spain too, that he’d dropped in the street. Bit of a pattern here …

      Can’t smoke on your own balcony? Evil habit, but still!!

      Interestingly the three bars I mentioned always turn out good coffee, unlike some of the dearer ones.

      Vegan dining? Do. Not. Make. Me. Laugh.


  15. I’m still furious at the pants company (still in business for some reason) that designed the pockets of their pants to empty its contents whenever I sat down. Had an excellent pocket knife — one that I’d had for some time. Still fuming.


  16. Of course it’s the jacket’s fault. What did you think? They leave phones all over the place. Silly jackets! LOL!

    If Podencos are not allowed in that restaurant – no review! Forget it! No dice! How can you review their food if Snowy haven’t tasted it as well? I’d rather go to the bar and have that delicious coffee. :D

    I just love your night shots of Gib. It looks so peaceful. Just the way I like it. You really have a knack for night shots. They are gorgeous!

    How’s the knee, ankle and Snowy? Please give him lots of hugs and kisses from me. ♥


    • Absolutely. It doesn’t have a closing pocket, although it does have an inside one … but still, silly jacket.

      Not much chance of taking me, let alone Snows, they still haven’t replied. Such is life. Pippa loved his restaurant reviews too :D

      Gib is lovely at night. So quiet (unless there’s a navy ship in) and thank you so much :)

      Not bad, not bad and feisty! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very silly jacket. LOL!

        Then they’re not worth your review at all. Their loss.

        Yes, darling Pippa did love his restaurant reviews. :D

        It sure is and you really take such great night shots. I do love to see them. :D

        Glad to hear and feisty is good. :D


  17. I can always tell when you’ve responded to comments, because my email fills up with notifications :) You have been busy! And I have enjoyed reading the comments and replies. Just wanted to add a few more comments:
    – I like to eat out when I can afford it, because some of the things I like to eat require ingredients I don’t keep around the house, or things I haven’t developed skill in cooking. I also don’t mind the “no dish-washing” benefit.
    – an article recently appeared in one of our local papers about the lost and found department of our transit company (Translink) — and apparently there are something like 5000 cell phones turned in every year — and a huge number of owners (when contacted about their found phones) are not eager to come collect them. I thought that very odd. Another article ( ) mentioned that “… wallets are virtually always completely left intact with nothing missing when returned to their owners. Not even cash. This is possibly an indication of the remarkable honesty the average Vancouverite holds.” I believe that most of us are honest, but I am also aware that the wallets “found” by the less honest crowd are not ones that are likely to be turned in to the lost and found.
    – regarding husbands and shopping — you may enjoy this youtube video of a female American Comic (Jeanne Robertson). I’ve watched it three times now, and I still find it funny.

    (I don’t know how you feel about links in your posts — so won’t be offended if you remove them)


    • Links are fine, and sorry for late reply, I wanted to read the links then forgot, the van city didn’t work and … I loathe vids. I should prob add it to my comment thing. I hate vids!! I did listen fir a few seconds, but no. I just don’t have the patience.

      If you were vegetarian, you wouldn’t like to eat out. The meals have far less than I have at home. It’s a total disgrace :(

      Nice about the wallet thing. Not the same in Spain. After we had everything stolen, and I made a report to the Spanish police, we heard. Jack. Shit. Nada.


      • I shall try to remember the “no vids” wish. I find I am caught up by too many of them, but I don’t often hate them. Well, maybe more often than I like to think — there is a lot of questionable material available online these days.


  18. You drop or leave your cellphone anywhere here, baby, and it’s a case of go and buy a new one, baby. After frantically closing down everything your phone possibly has access to.
    I wonder if you’ll ever get to do that review?
    Oh, the rush hour in Gib on Saturday nights positively gives one claustrophobia! (It’s a bit spooky, actually.)


    • Yeah I can imagine the chances of getting it back in your part of the world aren’t high.
      Somehow, I doubt it.
      I like it. It’s nice to wander up and down the street as the only person around. Spooky? Possibly but in a good way. Sets the imagination going!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Lmao! Could you review my restaurant that I might be opening in a couple of years if fortune favours the brave? I’ll send you some curly fries as a treat! ;) Might be time for A to get a mobile watch so he can’t lose it. ;)


  20. I have had a similar lost mobile story. Mine fell out of my pocket just a couple of months after arriving in Gibraltar. I didn’t even know it was missing when the finder phoned our home number saying he’d picked it up and wanted to return it. Restores your faith doesn’t it? :-)


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