Seated on stools in the window of our favourite Spotswood after-golf bakery, Neil squeezes some hot, spicy Kasundi relish onto his lentil and haloumi pasty. I’ve got Kasundi-envy and ask him: ‘Can you put some on my plate too please?’
He points the nozzle of the plastic bottle toward my food. For a moment I feel uneasy as it looks to be aimed at me, however I say nothing. A drip oozes onto the plate, followed by a pause and then a huge deluge of earth-toned sauce. My quiche, shorts, suntop and jacket are smothered.
Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t stand up. It was as if I was frozen to the seat. Instead I sit quietly seething as the relish dribbles down my legs onto the floor. The shorts I wear are among my favourites and the long sleeve sun top and vest are relatively new. Neil’s apologetic and explains: ‘There must have been a blockage or a lump in the bottle to make it come out with such force’.
With small party serviettes thrust at me, it’s nigh impossible to soak up the Kasundi which contains Tumeric, a spice that’s known to stain and gives curry its yellow colour.
Three damp tea-towels appear and I head to the bathroom to dab my clothes and remove some of the food, but the stain and curry-like smell remains.
Neil discusses the incident with the busy but apologetic café manager, who suggests he calls or emails the owner the next day.
Back at my seat, I glance across at the mid-thirties guy seated beside me who’s absorbed on his iPhone. I notice Kasundi spots on his pale blue polo shirt as well as his denim jeans and I feel obliged to tell him. It’s as if he’s seen the marks for the first time and declines any help. Instead, he says: ‘I’ll have them dry cleaned’’. He later confides that his parents are dry-cleaners.
In the car I google ‘how to treat Turmeric stains.’ The recurring recommendation is to use cold water with a number of household detergents. When I get home I strip down to my underwear on the back porch that also houses the laundry and carefully treat the Kasundi-stained clothes. The fluoro pink suntop with its two different fabrics remains stained and a visit to the dry-cleaner the next day proves unhelpful.
Neil drafts an email to the owner that focuses on the faulty design of the sauce bottle. To reinforce that we are long term customers, I add: ‘the Kasundi was previously served in a jar with a teaspoon and you may want to serve it this way again’.
By the end of the week they email back and offer to replace the top. I’m humbled by their generosity and customer service and accept.
Have you had a similar experience that has ended on a high note, if so I’d like to hear?