Strawberry Meringue Cake and…Dinner on the Pavement

My friend Miss Bee likes to eat out.  She recently had a dining experience of a different kind and sent me an email telling me all about it.

A few weeks ago her father let her know that he would be in Sydney for a few days and so she organised a booking in a restaurant close to home with some of his friends.  It was a Mexican restaurant they hadn’t been to before but they’d heard good things about the food so thought they’d give it a try.

Strawberry Meringue Cake

Their booking was for 6.30pm and they arrived on time as scheduled.  They found the restaurant to be dark, cramped and horrendously loud.  Miss Bee sat down at the table and realised she couldn’t even hear the person next to her.  The waitress approached and they ordered drinks and entrees but weren’t given the menus for mains.

The entrees arrived but not the drinks so they again had to order their drinks.  When the drinks arrived they asked if they could see the menu for the mains.  The waitress forgot to bring over the menus so they asked for them again.  They then ordered mains and by then had finished their drinks so asked if they could order more drinks.  The mains arrived but not the drinks so again they asked for the drinks they’d ordered.  Miss Bee was exhausted from continually having to gain the waitress’s attention and ask for things.

They finished their mains and asked if they could order desserts.  The waitress brought over the dessert menu but the drinks hadn’t arrived so they again asked for their drinks.  They ordered desserts and the waitress disappeared.  Five minutes later another waitress approached and said, ‘You will have to go’.  Miss Bee was confused and said, ‘What?’  And the waitress said, ‘We need the table.  We do two sittings a night and so your table is booked so you have to go’.  Miss Bee asked, ‘Go where?’  The waitress told them they could move to an outdoor table.  So they all stood up and moved outside with their drinks in their hands only to find the outdoor tables all occupied.  So they were left standing on the footpath with another group of women who had also been evicted, holding on to their drinks and waiting for their desserts and wondering how they would balance them when they arrived.

They all changed their minds and decided they didn’t want dessert so the order was cancelled.  Then the bill was brought out to the pavement which is where the restaurant seems to do a lot of business.  Miss Bee and her party threw back their drinks and left.  She said the food was amazing but why would you ever dine there if they feel on a whim that they can evict you from your table and throw you onto the pavement.

I have had many and varied experiences at restaurants but never have I been asked to leave and told to enjoy my dessert on the pavement.

Have you ever been ordered onto the footpath?

If Miss Bee had called in here on her way home she could have enjoyed this wonderful dessert cake.  I made it recently and it was all gobbled up with not a crumb leftover.  The combination of sponge, meringue, cream and strawberries is even better than it sounds.


Serves:  8-10

Degree of Difficulty:  3/5

Cost: This is a very affordable cake to make

Sponge Mix:

  • 60g butter
  • 4 tbspns castor sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 3 tbspns plain flour
  • 1 tbspn cornflour
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 2 tbspns cream

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg yolks one at a time then add vanilla.  Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder together, fold through the creamed mixture then stir in the cream gently.  Spread over 2 x 21 cm greased and lined sponge pans in a thin even layer. 

Meringue Mix:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence

Beat egg whites until stiff then gradually add the castor sugar until mixed and firm.  Add the vanilla.  Spread the meringue evenly over the two cake mixes and smooth the surfaces.

Bake at 170-180C for 30 minutes or until the meringues are puffed and golden.  The cake layers will be cooked by then.

Leave in the pans to cool completely before removing.

Strawberry Filling:

  • 250g punnet strawberries, hulled, halved and partially crushed
  • 1/2 cup cream

Whip the cream until firm then roughly mix in the berries leaving swirls of pink.

Sandwich the two cakes together with the meringue layers outermost.  Dust the top with icing sugar.

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  1. I would like some strawberry meringue cake right now, please, please, Charlie Louie. Could you please bake one for me and drive it over? I will wait up. I will watch Spicks and Specks, and Doctor Who, and sit by the door and wait for you to get here. With my strawberry meringue cake. You will have to come soon, as I’m drooling on the screen, and my keyboard is starting to freeze up… 😉

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I do have to say Celia, it was absolutely delicious. If I don’t make it over there tonight, do make it yourself. I’m sure you’ll do the recipe justice. It is a cake that I have never seen devoured so quickly! I should have taken a photo of the cut cake but the hordes didn’t give me a chance! xx

  2. The strawberry meringue cake looks so luscious! Unfortunately my old oven doesn’t bake meringues (or rather bakes something which is very far from meringues…), so I have given up on trying.
    Your friend’s story sounds horrifying. I have never heard of anything similar.

  3. Sounds like a treat — the cake, not being thrown onto the pavement. I’m going to confess, I’ve never made a meringue. I think now, with spring arriving, is the time to try!

  4. I would never eat there again!

  5. What a horrible dining experience. Sounds like that restaurant needs new management.
    Oh, how I would love to have a big chunk of that strawberry meringue cake for breakfast right now.

  6. It is horrible when you only remember a restaurant for the bad experience and not the food. Your poor friend. That cake looks like it will be a yummy mess. I can imagine napkins were needed and fingers were licked. Delightful.

  7. Ooh, I bet this meringue cake was just light and delicious. It looks fantastic!

  8. Your strawberry meringue cake looks amazing. I d love that now for tea time!

    What a bad restaurant… food might be good but if ur treated like crap, whats the point to go there? there r a million restaurants out there who would treat u like a king/queen! Never happend to me yet… if it would, u guys would be the first to know online. 😉

    I just wanted to say that I always enjoy your refreshing little life stories!

  9. What a crap restaurant! Really….can’t believe it could exist with that kind of service….food must heavenly good or what?
    The strawberry meringue looks splendid!

  10. That’s pathetic, thus the restaurant wouldn’t get my business for sometime. However, I’m thankful for your gracious dessert in this post, which softens the angst of the story.

  11. No. I would never, ever eat in that restaurant again, nor recommend it. It sounds like the waitress was new, but . . . eating desert on the pavement is what one does at a street fest.

    Your strawberry meringue sounds and looks heavenly.

  12. Horrible dining experience regardless of the food.

    The meringue cake looks lovely though meringues aren’t on my list of must haves. 🙂

  13. That is a horrible experience; we almost made reservations at a place that has two seatings but when they mentioned it on the phone we decided against it. I hate being rushed at dinner.
    That cake looks perfect for the weather we are enjoying right now, 20°C today and it’s only March 19th. YAY!

  14. The service is even more important that the quality of the food, that cake looks absolutely amazing, I’ve never made a meringue cake but now you’re making me wish I did, that recipe is going right to my endless to-do list!

  15. Drinks not arriving in a Mexican restaurant??? ¡Que Surpresa! Horrors. And then to be booted out? Tsk tsk.

    Your cake looks wonderful. You always make desserts like this seem so easy.

  16. That would be a dangerous cake to have in my house. Dangerous because I’d be completely out of whack from eating the entire thing with a pot of coffee.

  17. The cake looks delicious. The dining experience makes me wonder how this restaurant manages to stay in business. excellent food or not.

  18. Such a luscious-looking cake! Just what was needed after your friend’s ridiculous dining experience. They may have enough patrons for 2 seatings now but that won’t continue if this is the level of service they offer.

  19. What an unusual cake. It sounds delicious. I’ve had the reverse problem with a table booking. We requested a certain table for a wedding anniversary lunch. When we arrived people had been seated at our table and we were relegated to a table in the corner.

  20. What a ghastly experience! Judging by the look of your pavlova cake, Miss Bee would have done much better coming to your place. My mother used to make one just like that, but with kiwi fruit on the top. Mmmm delicious.

  21. That’s just bizarre, it’s amazing they’re still in business.. perhaps not for long once word gets out? This cake.. I love the combination of flavors, I love it’s rustic presentation (for lack of a better word).. because you can almost feel the texture by how it looks, if that makes sense!! Lovely!!

  22. I just had to save this strawberry meringue cake. Charlie, I’m going to be the hit of the bake sale with this recipe.. Thanks:). And to answer your question.. No I’ve never been ordered out of a restaurant before. If that restaurant was in NYC and they did that to people, I know many would walk out and not pay their bill. Then it would be on some blog/newspaper and no one would go lol. You just can’t treat people that way.. they help your business.

  23. How awful. I don’t know why your friend listened to them! I would have refused to leave my table. Although at that stage I guess she was rather over it.

    Your desert would have been a good end to the evening, if only she knew.

  24. I hate bad behavior by SERVICE providers. Yikes. GREG

  25. wow! what an impressive cake to make!

  26. What a terrible experience – how a restaurant can stay in business when operating like that is beyond me! If you ask me, Miss Bee should have skipped it altogether and just headed straight to yours for some of this cake 🙂

  27. What a story — you just can’t make this stuff up! No, I’ve never had a meal that ended on the restaurant’s footpath. Your friends must know by now that it’s always a good idea to drop you a line to see what’s up in your kitchen….

  28. What ever happened to good customer service. Sending them to the pavement is an insult. Your dessert looks delicious.


  29. Oh my, where was this? If they have a second sitting, and some do, they should give you plenty of warning (like when you book). Sounds like they have no idea how to handle that sort of thing 🙁

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Lorraine, it was Mexicana at Narrabeen. I’ve been there before and the place has a great vibe and really good food but Miss Bee’s night there was a huge disaster. She should have been told when she booked that she could only have the table for a certain amount of time but no one said anything to her.

  30. I’ve actually been to a few restaurants like that. It’s beyond me why they treat customers like that. If your business is built upon customers, it seems like a pretty silly move 🙂

  31. Absolutely disgusting – poor Miss Bee and her friends. I would have refused to leave the table until my dessert had arrived and I had settled my bill – quite honestly had the brainless waitress kept her wits about her then Miss Bee and her party could have finished their dining experience none the wiser about the double bookings. Urgh!!! Right, clearly that hit a sensitive spot with me today.
    Your meringue cake on the other hand makes me all warm and fuzzy.
    🙂 Mandy

  32. That’s awful about the restaurant, but this cake looks delicious!

  33. that place sounds terrible! ur right, i would totally forego great food if the service sucks.. the strawberry meringue looks amazing

  34. What the heck…that is absolutely CRAZY! That’s worse than the place that told us before we sat down that we have a time limit and that there was also a minimum spend…i mean by the fact that they asked you to leave…that is just SO rude!

    but it did happen to be last year at Mr Bao’s birthday dinner, it had clashed on the same day as Father’s Day. So we were out at this Asian Buffet place and we chose the second seating it started at 8:30pm and says that it ends at 10pm. But that’s not true…at around 9:45pm nearly everyone had gone…they had started to pack the food and when I told them I had brought a cake and required some extra plates, the waiter was really reluctant. But either way we cut the cake and just as we were able to eat it…the manager came over and say ‘I’m sorry but we close at 10pm you need to leave’. I mean seriously….it was just 10pm and they could have at least given us 5 to 10minutes to finish the cake.

    Food there is acceptable…but I’m not sure that I’ll go back again…Service is really important to me especially when I’m paying a decent amount of money!

  35. And that right there is why I prefer to “cater” for myself… even if it’s my own birthday, I’ll happily cook for myself. Spend the same amount of money as you would for a restaurant trip and you can get an absolute banquet, including this delicious looking cake ^^ 🙂

  36. This looks amazing! I can’t believe how simple it is too!

  37. Oh Charlie Louie, I will Be borrowing this recipe for sure and for certain indeed! If I went to a restaurant that sent me outside before I was finished I would be sorely tempted to keep on walking to the car without paying!

  38. I want to face-plant into the meringue cake. For reals 😀

    Can’t claim excitement over the dining experience. Sad.

  39. The World Is My Cuttlefish says:

    I suppose the only reason one would put up with such poor service is if the food was superb though I was expecting to read that it was terrible too. Interesting recipe.

  40. I haven’t been ordered onto the pavement before, but I’ve oft been told that I had to go by a certain time. I think there had only been once where we overstayed that time which led to the waiter doing much wring of hands.

    I have, however, earned the ire of a maitre’d by haveing a 20 person booking and only 12 people arrived (I’ve worked with some flakes). The guy got all puffed up and angry and said that the table would be wasted, as he’d “never fill it on a Friday night!” Cue 10 minutes later when he moved the table away and it was filled instantly by 6 hungry people off the street. Oh well.

  41. I LOVED this story!! It’s hilarious, and sad at the same time :))  Loved the cake.

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