I had two wonderful meals over the long National Day holiday weekend but one left a better impression over the other because of its superior service.
Saturday night saw six of us dining at Shin Yeh, the Taiwanese restaurant at Liang Court. It was my second visit so I knew that I could expect good food.
However, its service was a different matter altogether. One reason could be the standard of our spoken Chinese as it was just not good enough to make ourselves understood.
As we struggled to communicate and got more frustrated with every minute, we ended up speaking a mixture of English, fractured Mandarin and eventually Hokkien.
But what was most disappointing was the service or the lack of it. The restaurant was packed and it was obvious that the number of service staff was insufficient to see to its customers' needs.
Also, the ones who served us were obviously not properly trained. For example, our first dish was brought out without the accompanying condiments and we had to remind them more than once to do it.
When we ordered a bottle of Chilean wine, the waiter was not aware that it was no longer available. So, after being told, we had to choose an Italian red instead.
Then after the wine glasses were placed on our table and the bottle opened, it took like eternity before the wine was served. I don't think they were keeping it back to allow the wine to breath first :)
In contrast, my experience at the Chang Korean BBQ Restaurant in Dempsey on Sunday was a more pleasant one, even though we had to wait awhile before we got our table.
The Filipino serving staff were definitely a cut above the ones at Shin Yeh. Apart from their English language ability, they were more helpful and better organised.
We were particularly impressed with a waiter called Jet. He took the trouble to barbeque the meats and to explain to us what we were having.
Basically, he knew how to take care of the little things that would help to make eating out an enjoyable experience.
He even had time to engage in small talk, telling us that he needed to work as he had to help pay for his sister's education.
These two experiences have reinforced my belief that good food by itself is not sufficient for any restaurant to entice its customers back for more.