Open Up Say Ah •
30 Apr 2010 • 2 reviews • 0 follower
Delicate bone china and fine silver ware on crisp white dressed tables. A stalk of orchids in a vase and a matching cruet set to complete the setting. Taking centrestage, a traditional three-tier stand of select sandwiches and scones and choice finger food. At the marbled island buffet at the end of the dining room, a small assortment of local delights to further satiate the palate.
The vaunted parlour screamed decadent opulence with its high ceilings with hanging chandeliers and vintage fans. Ambient lighting from scalloped lamps bathed the room in a warm presence, accentuating the tall French windows looking out to the fountained courtyard. The icing on this cake was the non-intrusive easy-listening background music from a live harpist.
Before entry was permitted, the queue outside stretched down the hallowed corridor, the sheltered passage a world apart and respite from the oppressive heat and concrete jungle just beyond the property. Yes, high tea at The Tiffin Room of The Raffles Hotel is a sensory excursion, albeit one that misses the main point of the food, which is nothing to shout about and compromises the rest of the experience.
Just this morning, a tourist wrote in The Forum pages about how memories of the good old days were recently spoilt by a return visit to the grand dame of hotels. The Singapore Sling was diluted (a whistle-blower informed her it was mass-produced) and the service was lacking (even at the uppity Raffles Grill) where she was forcibly manhandled!
This of course another facet to the service standards contention, where you aren't guaranteed of good service even when you pay a premium. Yes, not even in a pseudo-colonialism setup reminiscent of the high noon of master and servant upstairs and downstairs.
I myself have witnessed plates being cleared without asking (not in prompt attentive way but a "I'm not done yet" way) and worse, using my unused napkin to wipe the table right before my eyes without even any sense of impropriety.
Granted that took place at the much more casual and low budget Seah Street Deli, but still?! Not something you'd expect at this establishment. If I were that lady, I'd have good reason to write in to the press, as she did.
Please do not let my memories of The Rose Verandah be sullied too.