Mixed up…

Lately, I have been reading in some friends’ blogs about how the service even at those classy joints is sadly less than satisfactory.

Well, I guess I have had my share of that here especially those mono-lingual ones at the upscale western restaurants or those who do not seem to know anything other than taking your orders and serving. You ask what is nice, they say they do not know…or they say all are nice. Then you ask what the favourites are and they say, all are…and you ask what an unfamiliar dish or what fish or meat they use, they say they do not know. At places such as these, I would just order and if the food is really very nice and not too expensive, I probably would want to come again, otherwise, I would much sooner go some place else.

That day, when my girl was home for the weekend, I asked her if she wanted to go for a nasi kerabu lunch because I saw that in Rose’s blog and was feeling like having that but unfortunately she said no and she wanted some nasi bryani instead so we made our way to our usual place with the true blue North Indian chef. The very nice and friendly waitress was nowhere to be seen and in her place, there was a sweet young girl who took our orders. She was very well-versed with what was on the menu and noted everything that we wanted…and she even repeated our orders to confirm that she had got everything right.

Our iced water, mine and my missus, came promptly but my daughter’s order for one iced ginger tea took quite a while to appear…and it was served hot! We said that we wanted it cold so they had to take back the drink…and I guess they just poured it into a tall glass filled with iced cubes and took it out again. It was all right with us as long as it was ginger tea, iced (RM6.50).

My girl wanted the butter chicken curry set but asked for the pilau rice to be substituted with bryani as that was what she wanted and that was what we went there for but this was served…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with basmati rice

…and of course, we protested and sent it back to the kitchen. Again, it was all right as it came out almost immediately with the bryani rice (RM18.00)…

Cafe Ind butter chicken curry with bryani rice

…the way we wanted it.

I guess it was the chef’s fault as it was not even pilau rice that was served originally but basmati rice which, according to the menu, would come in the fish curry set (RM16.50)…

Cafe Ind fish curry with basmati rice

…that I ordered so all he had to do was to swap the two – no harm done, no problem at all.

I had never had the fish curry before so that day, I thought I wanted to give it a try and yes, it was very nice but no, it did not taste like any fish curry that I had had before. I guess this was cooked, Indian style…

Cafe Ind fish curry with basmati rice

…probably using yogurt in place of the santan (coconut milk) or evaporated milk in the regular ones. There was just a slice of ikan tenggiri (mackerel) inside and a few bits of lady’s fingers, three altogether and a couple of curry leaves. I would not expect a lot more fish as it is indeed very expensive these days but I was wishing that there could be a little bit more of the vegetable or maybe the chef could add some brinjal as well…unless doing that would change and ruin the whole taste of the dish, that I would not know.

My missus had the kalio ayam (RM14.50)…

Cafe Ind kalio ayam 1

…from the Indonesian menu that we had a few times before and it was consistently good, plus this time around, they seemed to be very generous with the chicken curry and the mixed vegetables by the side but they could have been more careful with the gravy and if it had spilled onto the side of the banana leaf “basket”…

Cafe Ind kalio ayam 2

…they could have easily grabbed a kitchen towel and wiped that away before serving. I know something like this would be no big deal had it been in some coffee shop or food stall but for a place like this…

Cafe Ind Indonesian decor

…and at those prices, these little things may make a difference and leave a lasting not-too-favourable impression.

We have been here many times and the previous occasions had been good, no “bumps” along the way like this time around so hopefully, this is just what one would brush off as “one of those days” and not a recurring problem. Thankfully, the food was good, as always, and that, to me, was the most important thing. After all, these little hitches weren’t anything serious – not anything to really get all upset about and I sure would not mind going back there for more…unlike those places where the people are snooty and downright rude and will not think twice about snapping at you as and when it pleases them, places where they ill-treat you and show you no respect at all – like the ones where you have to stand in line and wait…or where you would have to go in and register your name and then shoo..shoo…you cannot sit at the vacant tables to wait, you go and queue outside in the sun – and also places where the service sucks big time – I’d rather go elsewhere and settle for what’s second best or something else.

Incidentally, the boss gave us three complimentary pieces of papadums (I was charged RM1.00 each at a nasi kandar shop in Sungai Petani, Kedah, believe it or not) and talking about those, I wonder if you all have seen this hilarious video clip before…

…and that wasn’t all. The two glasses of iced water that we had were on the house and the extra 50 sen was written off so when I gave RM60.00 to pay the overall total of RM59.50, the boss gave me RM5.00 change, hapus kira. Ain’t that nice?

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

19 thoughts on “Mixed up…”

  1. The boss is very generous with his hapus kira. I guess that is his way of making up to the blunder with the rice earlier. I am very afraid to place order with waiting staffs these days. They are usually not local and not well versed. I will usually ask for the supervisor or anyone local if possible.

    There are some very nice people around and that is one thing those who are new in the business should learn – just hapus kira the coins, at least and leave a good lasting impression. That will make people feel good and keep them coming back. The worse is when they shortchange you – at one place, I was charged over RM40 for an order and then, the following week, I saw the menu on Facebook, it was only over RM30. I asked in my comment and the guy said they had reviewed the price, full stop. I could clearly remember I did not see anything over RM40 in the menu and if I did, I certainly would not order it. What I felt he should have done was to at least, ask me to go back again (and eat and spend some more) and he would deduct the difference from the bill since they had “reviewed the price”. I would never go back there again.

    As for the help, our problem here is mostly with the locals – sweet young things. The best ones here are non-locals – very polite and friendly, very fast/prompt, very independent and dependable, very impressive. Maybe we pamper our young ones too much – they are not taught how to speak nicely to people and do not do much to help at home and they’re not all that good at it plus training on the job has not been done well or properly…or perhaps once they get scolded, they will not show up for work anymore the next day.

  2. Been having too much Indian recently.
    Then I decided to have a little swap with Jamaican food.
    Hmm, it’s really good 🙂

    Lucky you! We do not have real authentic Indian food here, only at this one place – chef is from North India. Other than this one, we have only two mamak-owned places – the people cooking may or may not be Indians. I used to go to the Indian eateries in the UK (not in London) – lots of them there – as they were more affordable, their £2 per head set lunches (that was in 1994) and they were the closest thing I could get to anything Asian/Malaysian where I was…though I would not say what they dished out were necessarily all that good.

    I wonder what Jamaican tastes like, not that I would ever get the chance to try anything from there, I’m sure, other than their rum.

  3. Yes it was nice of the boss to give a discount. At least this place allows you to make special requests to swap rice and etc. Some places don’t allow such requests. Despite the initial mixup everything was ok in the end so all was good.

    Oh? They don’t? Hmmmm…come to think of it, that is very true indeed. A set is a set, take it or leave it…or you order the items individually and the total may be a lot more than what you would need to fork out for a set. I guess this is another thumbs up in their favour, good for them!

  4. I think the service is so important! If I don’t like the service and/or food in a restaurant I just don’t go back.

    For me, food is the top priority but of course, if service is real bad, then I probably would choose to go elsewhere. Like this one place here – friends complained that they sat for almost an hour and nobody came to pass them the menu, much less take their orders…and I actually saw somebody saying this same thing in his comment on their Facebook page. Thankfully, all the times that I have been there, service has been good and the food’s great!

    I found the ladies at one yam cha/dim sum place in NZ rather unfriendly, very loud and somewhat haughty but they told me that was part and parcel of the whole experience, the complete package…so it would be just like such places in their place of origin, Hong Kong, real authentic. The place was packed, completely full…and those without prior reservations had to be turned away!

  5. Lots of good-looking curries in there! I agree, as long as they don’t mind making up for their mistakes and their food is good, I wouldn’t mind going back again! What does hapus kira mean? If he gave you a change of RM5, does that mean he gave you a RM4.50 discount then?

    I think it means “to write off” so in this case, he has written off the remaining RM4.50 on the bill, “end of calculation”.

  6. Hehe, very nice of the boss to hapus kira, at least we “get something back”, kekekeke.. Oh yes, very potong stim if the food came wrongly and we have to wait for a long time.. I think I will merajuk a bit and say I don’t wana come back, haha..

    It was just a slip – may happen to the best of us, the wrong rice in the wrong set so it was perfectly all right, just swap – not that we had to be forced to eat something else that we did not order just because the waiter/waitress or chef got it wrong…and no, we did not have to wait a long time, not at all.

    I know that does happen sometimes and in cheaper places like coffee shops, I would just eat what has been served instead of having to wait and wait some more for the order to be cooked and served. At classier, more expensive places, however, I probably would insist on getting what I’ve asked for – to get my money’s worth, no mercy!

  7. Food looks very good. Here, Indian restaurants tend to be a bit more pricey than Chinese ones, and furthermore, the servings are also smaller. I love briyani and often make my own at home using paste from commercial jars, bought from supermarkets or Asian grocery store. Turn out quite well.

    I cook my own ghee rice or nasi minyak or nasi kuning, whatever it is called, from scratch – so very easy:
    https://suituapui.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/yellow/
    more or less like nasi bryani, I would think but my girl is not fond of it, the raisins and the smell and she likes the Indian nasi bryani more, maybe she likes the subtle fragrances of the spices used.

    This is the only authentic Indian restaurant in town and thankfully, it is good but it shares the stage with their Indonesian half, two kitchens.

  8. Papadums might not be necessarily free right now… considering the costs these days 😦

    We still get one each…free. How much are they in Penang? Not RM1 like that nasi kandar place in SP, I hope. I would rather not eat.

  9. See the bryani makes me wanna go eat again, hehe…

    Go, go! Bet you have lots here, there and everywhere, spoilt for choice. Lots in Serangoon, Little India, I’m sure.

  10. Am not much into Indian cuisine, thus all I can say is food looks good to me.

    No? My girl loves it, she loves banana leaf especially but we do not have that here – have to go to Kuching for that.

    Well, not a problem here – they have a lot of nice stuff on their Indonesian menu. I think my missus is something like you – not all that fond of Indian so most of the time, she would order something Indonesian.

  11. I think the spillage of curry on the banana leaf is totally forgivable…even happens in classier places here. Also little little things like getting the order slightly wrong, I’ll cut them some slack too as long as they recognise and rectify it. But, it’s good that even after your complaints, they give you a discount to make up for it. Here in KL…..highly unlikely!

    I had a problem with the angle when taking the photograph – I did not want to include the mess, all down the other side. I did not complain but that is not saying that I did not mind it at all – for a classier and more expensive place, I would expect them to be a cut above our regular kopitiam.

    However, the boss himself noticed it and he apologised for it saying that he had told the kitchen people off many times but it had all fallen onto deaf ears. I told him it was all right – that would be something I was very familiar with, being a teacher once. Like talking to the walls. 😀

  12. It was a minor error and they corrected in promptly, so not that bad. Once I experienced being served something other than what I ordered because the waiter made a mistake. And the restaurant made up for it at the end by giving me a free dessert. So all was forgiven.

    Yes, no problem at all and we actually got what we wanted. The chef must have placed the wrong bowl of rice on each plate. I am sure at places like this they would be more than happy to take it back and come out with what has been ordered actually if they have cooked the wrong thing. I’ve seen them doing that at the coffee shops, dunno if they will eat it themselves or serve it to somebody else but if I don’t mind, I would just take it even though it is not what I have ordered.

  13. it’s interesting to read about service glitches, but ya, i guess in reality, this happens in all jobs – we’re all human, and whether we’re working in F&B, or accounting, or medicine, etc, we’ll all make mistakes. the boss here sounds nice, heh 🙂

    Yes, we all are, all of us in Sibu. Hehehehehe!!!! Actually as long as the food is great, these little things do not matter to me but I guess he is trying to run the place well, making sure everything is done perfectly so it upsets him somewhat when things go a little out of line.

  14. Yeah, I do agree with you. Some so called posh restaurant aren’t really that good in terms of food and services. I just encountered one last Sat. The menu was very confusing, where they put the pixs of another food next to the listing of another food item. It’s like A1 pix next to A2 and the pix not clear too. All steaks almost looks the same and I ended up order the wrong food.
    And, because there was a water rationing on that day, they said they don’t served coffee. Can’t they saved up some clean water for beverages ?

    Water rationing? Where? Singapore or JB? Gee! Posh restaurant? For the prices that they charge, surely they can go buy bottled drinking water to tide them over till the water supply resumes and returns to normal?

    The confusing menus may be the fault of the graphic designer they engage to do it for them, nice to look at but not user friendly. The photos may be all over the place so one would have to look at the fine print – not easy for old people like me…or the numbers, if there are any. Can be quite misleading. Plus the photos are always very nice – the real thing may not look half as nice nor taste half as good. Can get really put off by that.

  15. It seems the never ending problem in Malaysia – plenty of delicious food but too much poor service. Unless customers give constructive feedback however, things will not change. I hear many stories of people leaving without communicating their dissatisfaction. How can there be hope for better days if restaurants don’t know what’s gone wrong?

    Yes, I know some at a few places here who would always ask for comments on the food, service and things in general…and there is one here that has a form on every table – can tick your responses and can write comments, ample space provided…but I don’t think many bother to do so.

    Of course, there are others who do not take kindly to comments and criticisms…and if they see it here in my blog, they may post anonymous comments to slam me, very defensive even though I always try to put things across quite subtly – of course, they will never get past moderation, not that I care.

  16. Those carrots look SO orange and the broccoli SO green! Yum & YAY!

    Something like the Chinese mixed veg dish, didn’t know the Indonesians do it that same way too.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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