13 Feb 2011 • 1 review • 0 follower
Unfortunately the experience at this place has been one of the most disappointing I have had in a long time. Plus points first:1) the ambience of the place is quite pretty, with red walls, chandelier lights, candles and dim lighting;2) the wait staff although apparently inexperienced, are enthusiastic and cheerful;3) the pricing on the whole is quite inexpensive.
Misled by the number of positive reviews on this website, we were motivated to give this new place a try, and having tried, I have been motivated to sign up for an account solely to give an unbiased review.
The list of points that this little restaurant falls short on: 1) Drinks: the margaritas were made with what we think was lime cordial and tasted like diluted flavoured water at best. Incidentally there was no drinks list as well and when we were asked by the wait staff whether we would like drinks, we said "yes" and then had to enquire "but what drinks do you have?"
2) Time taken for food to arrive at table: it was quite painfully slow. While we were not in a hurry and hardly impatient on this front, this leads to a suspicious feeling that this was a sign of an amateur cook in the kitchen. Given that we had arrived rather late, and the cook should only need to push out food for a couple of tables, it really was surprising slow. While waiting, we were offered nachos without any dip, and upon prompting, we were then offered a strange cold gazpacho-like soup.
3) Quality of food overall: quite disappointing
Starters: we had a ceviche and meatballs. The ceviche was too acidic, and the seafood of a strange squishy texture. The meatballs were the most normal and acceptable food I had all evening, although nothing to shout about.
Main dishes: we ordered a shrimp pasta and minted lamb shank (recommended by the wait staff). The lamb shank was supposed to be served on a bed of vermicelli (as described in the menu) but arrived with refried beans. When queried, the chef arranged for a side of vermicelli to be served, and the manager explained that the chef is allowed to be creative. I am personally fine with creativity but I think as a matter of courtesy, please just inform the customer prior to the food being served, instead of surprising them on the spot. The shrimp pasta came bathed in a very unappetising and rather bland cream sauce (although the shrimps were fresh). Incidentally, the same cream sauce was used to pour over the side of vermicelli, which was then heated in the microwave. This results in overcooked soggy pasta which is all rather unappetising. As for the lamb shank, it was overcooked and the refried beans were too salty. We were obviously not enjoying our meal at this point and as a gesture of goodwill, the manager arranged for us to try another main - a fish dish which although was fresh and firm, was unfortunately bathed in the same unappetising and bland cream sauce (oh dear). The problem we gather was not with the quality of the ingredients but the technique of the chef in the preparation of the food, and the general taste. We were told the concept of the food was "Mexican-fusion".
We gave up on trying desserts at this point.
If this was food served by a friend cooking at home, a lot more can be forgiven. However I do think that if a restaurant is purporting to charge to serve food & beverages, out of professionalism, there needs to be a certain culinary standard. Even if I was offered money, it would take a lot to return, so it would be back to the drawing board I'm afraid.
We are appreciative of the fact that the manager and wait staff are generally friendly, enthusiastic and did their best in service. Given our obvious disenjoyment, our meal charge was discounted fairly in the end which is a fact we appreciated. However, I do hope that the chef can put in more effort to improve the quality of the menu as this is still far from restaurant-passable food at this point.