I'd been looking forward to the opening of Shores Restaurant in Hornsby for just about as long as I'd seen the construction taking place. Hornsby, an up-and-coming area, lacks consistently good restaurants and pales in comparison to our favourite haunts in Crow's Nest, St Leonards.
Entering the restaurant on a early Friday evening (around 18h30) we were quite surprised to find it quite full already and were wondering if we'd get in without a reservation. First impressions count and they're already down a notch as their foyer leads you to a place that doesn't feel like you should be waiting in. There was no one waiting to greet customers and we had to flag down someone, anyone, to try and get some attention. While they did manage to find a table for us there was no effort to welcome us at all. You're a new establishment in Hornsby where you have to win over the locals as they'll be your only customers. You're not going to get someone coming out of their way from the City to eat here.
A previous reviewer had remarked how cramped the seating was and sitting down I knew they weren't exaggerating. If anything they were giving the benefit of the doubt as they've crammed in too many tables. You actually need to ask your neighbour to move so you can get in which is awful for all involved - interrupting and being interrupted during your meal.
The first thing you see on the menu is the breakfast listing, not something you expect for a Friday night dinner. It's the little things and they could easily re-arrange the pieces of paper so you've got the most relevant bits in front of you. The menu itself looked okay with a few decent main courses but beware that unless you're a fan of seafood there are only two starters listed. And if you're like me and don't like seafood or olives then you're down to no options.
Skipping starters we went straight for the mains which arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Alas the pasta in the carbonara was completely and utterly overcooked and lacked seasoning. The vegetarian pizza (pumpkin, goats cheese, thyme, toasted pine nut & parmesan) had a base that tasted like it came from a pre-made supermarket ready meal and was generally flavourless. All I can say is thank goodness they provide salt and pepper on the tables - someone obviously knew diners would be needing it. Needless to say we didn't stay for desert.
The service is lacking and you're often left to fend for yourself trying fruitlessly to grab the attention of someone. Anyone. Please. Oh and if you'd like to actually pay your bill (because naturally no one came to your table) you'll need to head on over to the bar of all places.
I doubt we'll ever go back there - not unless the management is replaced or they actually decide that they want to provide good service and great food. Oh and whoever is in charge of their social media isn't doing a great job. Not only have they failed to respond to my Tweet asking if they were BYO (two weeks later after we dined and counting) but the first time they sent us an email about actually opening was to advertise their Mother's Day menu which was two weeks after they'd opened. So much for signing up to be the first to know.