Monday, May 02, 2005

The Tapas Tree

#01-08 Shop House Row 3D
Clark Quay, River Valley Road
Tel: 68372938

I sometimes wonder how much preferential treatment food reviewers get when they inform the restaurant that they are coming in to do a review or when the restaurant manager recognizes the face of a reviewer and ensure that they get good treatment. We (my brother and I, but I would say my brother is the main researcher) go through a relatively voluminous amount of food literature and we read about all these restaurants that are new in town and the raves, razzle and dazzle that these restaurants have, but sometimes when we get there, it is far from what has been promised. On the count of food, I concede that ok, fine maybe our palates are biased a certain way and some things are just a matter of taste, some people like sweet, some like savory. However, on the count of service, sometimes I think the reviewers are just way off the mark. Service is integral to the restaurant experience, and bad service does not equate bad food; but feeling pissed while you are eating isn’t a fun at all. It does defeat the purpose of a review isn’t it? What’s the point in having someone go there and tell you about the special treatment that they received if you aren’t going to get replica of it?

The tapas tree. We went there all excited about dinner, the menu was exciting, it had a rather long list of cold and hot tapas and of course paella but the service was ghastly. I would have been happier paying Mcdonalds S$6 for an up-size meal even though it is detrimental to my heart. At least I would have gotten better service there and service with a smile!

calamares rellenos – grilled squid with pimiento, celery, onions and tomatoes

Nosh: Seafood/meat tapas, cold tapas, vegetables, croquettes, tortillas, paellas and bread to mop up the sauces. The desserts looked tempting with the classic churros with chocolate, but I was too angry by the end of my tapas to fork over my money for dessert. We decided not to have a paella because we decided that we were going to go all out on the tapas. We did a staggered order, where we ordered 3 tapas at a time, however, this only lasted 2 rounds because, the bad service was the deciding factor in telling us when it was time to go. We had the calamares rellenos – grilled squid with pimiento, celery, onions and tomatoes, patatas bravas – deep fried potatoes with green olives and pimiento served with aioli, tortilla de corizo, tapa – pan fried thinly sliced marinated beef striploins, pollo con paprika – chicken with a cream paprika sauce and salted cod with a tomato sauce of sorts. The food isn’t bad although it is a little on the pricy side. I will advice you not to order the salted cod, because I didn’t like it. Till today I’m still certain that they didn’t serve us the patatas bravas and they served us something else instead, because it wasn’t like anything the menu described and I tried to reason with them that there were no olives in my dish and they brought it back and threw olives on it, both green and black to satisfy me.

Pay: About S$40 a person for tapas and a paella.

Raves: I love the ambience. I always like the thought of dining by the river.

Peeves: Can I tell you more about the bad service? Peeve 1: They kept serving us dishes that were meant to go to another table, they got one of our orders wrong (although the guy that made the mistake was polite and apologized profusely). Peeve 2: When I asked for a recommendation, the waitress looked at me blankly without an opinion, recommended one dish which I wasn’t interested in and didn’t offer another opinion.

We even contemplated insisting that we shouldn’t have to pay a 10% service tax because it surely seemed lacking but the captain (the man who apologized profusely) seemed reasonable and so we decided to just pay up and to never go back.


Blogger LiquidShaDow said...

So you didn't try the paella and never re-visited?

2:21 PM  
Blogger tinyfist said...

The same thing happened to me. The food was bad, the service worse. We didn't pay for service charge in the end as the captain for that day had refused to come and talk to us.

The worst dinner I ever had. Even the infamous Wong Kei in London Chinatown was better.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes. service was appallingly bad. totally ruined our dinner there. will never patronise it ever again.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me too, i just had a recent brush with them, waitress was very rude just throw the bill on the table and walked off, then come to collect it later, like we owe them a living....dun patronise the restaurant

12:45 PM  

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