Friday, 13 May 2011

Caterer Shenanigans!

The caterer has been a surprisingly stressful thing for us to organise, mostly down to choosing the wrong caterer to start with.  We actually only booked it with just 2 months to go until the big day!!

We always knew we wanted Indian food for our wedding (although with a non-Indian dessert) and we found a caterer who was on the list of recommended suppliers from our venue and looked great on their website!  We arranged a meeting and although at first they seemed difficult to get hold of, we set a time when our parents would be able to join us as they were all visiting for our engagement party.

Doesn't everyone love a good curry!?
(Image from Indus website)

Our first impressions weren't great as we waited a rather long cold time outside the warehouse door and were then led up the corridor walking on an aisle of bubble wrap!!  We were all (5 of us) led into the office while he fetched more seats and we settled down for a chat.  It all seemed a little un-organised  but after a chat, we felt much more confident in the company.  They said they were able to accommodate everything we asked for and showed us pictures of what they could do and made some good suggestions regarding menu, service, etc.  We left quite happy that if the food was good we would probably book them.  

It then took 2 months to be able to get an appointment for tasting, this appointment was then changed a couple of times after checking with the chef/working around actual catering of events, fair enough.  When we finally got to try the food though, we were both very impressed!  Having had our fair share of bad Indian food, we wanted to avoid the greasy/tasteless/too spicy/sloppy curries but this was really yummy!  The set up was again a little odd eating with the boss in his office at his desk and the presentation wasn't great but we worked around this by deciding to have the starters served like canapés during the champagne reception.  We also didn't love the crockery but figured this was a minor detail and we really shouldn't be so fussy - at least it wasn't multi-coloured, just plain cream but with an embossed pattern on the edge although we would have rather had plain white plates.  So we were told to expect a quote within 1-2 weeks as we had now settled on the menu and were delighted with the way the food tasted.  

My favourite - Tandoori Lamb Chops!
(Image from Indus website)

After 3 weeks, I emailed asking for the quote so we could pay a deposit as I wanted to get it booked.  After a month, I tried ringing only to get no reply and no call back.  I checked the website which wasn't working and was seriously starting to think they had closed down!!  Eventually I got hold of someone who seemed very clued up and apologised that they were very much in business but had some problems with emails going astray and so were rebooting their website (slightly suspicious but was assured the quote would be sent out the next day).  We finally received the quote another week later with a rather pathetic sounding voicemail - it was now 3 months since the tasting and only 4 months to the wedding!  By this time I had started to look for other Asian caterers and was booked to go to an Asian wedding show the next day!  Our caterer was there but either did not notice me or recognise me.  I did find another company that impressed me, seemed very organised and asked if they could quote for us - so I gave him our details and explained the situation we were in.

Indus saved the day!

Unfortunately the new company was just expanding up here from Essex and had not finished building their kitchens yet so we couldn't arrange a tasting for a few weeks.  However, their website was also very impressive and they seemed so organised, we waited patiently and I'm glad we did!  In the meantime we did get asked for a deposit from the previous company who then wanted a meeting when we wanted to change and confirm a couple of details first (the dessert/buffet option from elsewhere was going to be too expensive so we wanted to add this in) - this meeting was changed 4 times by them and then changed again 1 hour before(!!!) and had to be postponed until the week after!  By now we had decided that they really didn't seem to want our business but until we tried the other food, we felt stuck as we didn't want to end up left with no caterer with so little time before the wedding!

2 months before the wedding, we had our tasting with Indus - they have always phoned/emailed when they say they will (give or take a day) and always answer or ring back the same day when I call.  AND.... the food was EVEN better than the first tasting we had!  It was amazing, I ate so much I thought I might burst!!  The presentation was amazing, they had set up a lovely white room with gorgeous black and white wallpaper at one end with a large LCD TV playing a Bollywood movie (nice touch I thought!) and 3 tables set out like for a wedding with table cloths and flower arrangements, etc.  The waiting staff had lovely smart black Asian style uniforms and the food came on nice simple white crockery, just what we were after!  After that, it was a no-brainer!  We still haven't heard back from the previous company with a full quote including dessert and have already paid our deposit to Indus with our new, even better menu in place (more on that next time).  The price is pretty much the same too!  :)

I totally agree!
They've even worked with Gordon Ramsey so they must be doing something right as we all know how picky he is about good food!  :)

Working with GR for Comic Relief (Image from their facebook page)

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