Sunday, July 17, 2011

Decent food perhaps, but bad service - 小杬公菜館

Were here a second time in a bigger crowd, thus having a greater room for more dishes. We reserved half a roasted piglet and a winter melon soup along with our table, which we specially requested to be at a quieter corner of the place. The downside of it was that we had to wave our arms until it turned sore to catch the waiters' attention.

I wasnt expecting much service from this old-school shun-tak restaurant and still I was disappointed, or even pissed by the rude and forgetful waiters. We placed our order by repeating the dishes a few times- sadly, the waiter still missed quite a number of the dishes. A manager-looking man came to re-confirm our order as he could not interpret what he first wrote, and yet one of the dishes we wanted never came.
The order of dishes was a complete chaos - guess which came first?
 The vegetables. Yes! We were all stunned when the plate of veggie(上湯浸莧菜) hit our table before everything else did. It tasted good (little MSG detected), but it would be a great courtesy of the restaurant to slow the cooking down by a bit and serve it only after the meat came, no?
The deep-fried fish balls(鯪魚球) came second. It was equally tasty when it was piping hot, and the flavor depreciated as the clock ticked - best eaten fresh is what i say. 
And of course the signature standing penguin chicken(企鵝雞)! it was truly a photographic dish as we were all surprised by the presentation of the chicken, and we started taking out our cameras to snap the chicken. A painful death it had with a stick poking through its head, and a closer look at the twisted face gave you shivers down your spine - but admit it, the chicken was good. Somewhat cruel it was to eat the flesh after saying hello to the whole chicken on its two feet, but the roasted skin was crispy and wrapped the smooth and juicy flesh in - yummy!
We reserved a water melon soup(冬瓜盅) - best drunk in a hot summer evening. It was huge, really, and we could all enjoy two to three bowls of soup, filled with sweet and tender winter melon flesh, juk sang and a lot other ingredients. The soup was clear and pretty sweet too – the best I have had these years!
We wanted something wet to go with rice, so an order of steamed tofu(豉油皇蒸豆腐) was out perfect choice. The tofu did not have a strong taste of the bean but was quite smooth indeed, and the soy sauce was sweet rather than salty - a good sauce to go with rice i suppose, as i saw people scooping it into their heaps of rice?
There was a special price for duck feet braised in oyster sauce(鮑汁北菇扣玉掌), so we ordered 8 of that and asked to be served in one big plate instead. It came on separate plates anyway - another example of the waiter's forgetfulness, and i think this request should have been catered to. Anyway at a price of just $16.8 per serving, the duck's feet was good enough - braised in a tasty oyster sauce and serve with a fleshy Chinese mushroom, it was nothing to complain about.
Now this was the really funny bit. I know the place was really crowded and the waiters were rushing around, but since we ordered the piglet(手抓金豬) in advance, there was no excuse to delay the dish. We waited for at least 20 minutes before it came, funnily as the second last dish of the night. Shouldn't roast items come before everything did?
Anyway - and it was so coarsely cut that we were supposed to be eating it with our hands. I do not mind being barbarian sometime but when we asked if they could dissect it for us for convenience's sake, the waiter rudely refused and said, 'that's how we do it. You are supposed to be eating it with your hands.' Fine - but he never gave us the GLOVES! And we ended up halving each big piece of flesh with our thin chopsticks, and thank god the piglet was tender. 
The skin was as crispy as potato chips but the meat was completely BLAND. I could not help reminiscing the perfectly roasted pork i had at Linguini Fini the other day - how ironic that a Western Restaurant did a better job in spit roasting than a Chinese restaurant does! The only reason why the piglet comes to its fame is perhaps its stunning presentation, i guess, as the taste was nothing memorable.
The free dish of Chaa-siu(叉燒) we got with our voucher was a pleasing surprise however - i am no expert in Chaa sius but the meat was pretty tender, but i would prefer it to be even sweeter and more heavily roasted - i like the burnt edges of chaa-sius best!
Since a dish we ordered never came, we still had a little room for dessert. We ordered a baked sago with lotus seed paste pudding(蓮蓉西米布甸) and of course, waited around 15 minutes before the big pot of sweet delicacy came. It looked too white to me and ought to be baked for a longer time and the sago was still too wet and soggy, but it was already good enough, given that the restaurant does not specialize in making this dessert as Lin Heung Tea House does - the latter has really great lotus seed paste that no one can complain about, FYI! The portion was big too and we could each have a bowlful of the pudding!

To sum up - the food was decent given the location and the price of everything, but they really have to improve on the service and attitude of their workers. One splashed some scaling hot soup onto my relative and he did not even apologize for what he did, and kept on splashing the hot soup everywhere. He ought to develop the mentality of SERVING the customers instead of just putting the dishes onto the table and messing around.

With such shockingly bad service, i doubt whether it could touch the hearts of its customers, just like how the slogan claims to be.

小杬公菜館 Siu Lam Kung Restaurant

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