Tragedi Oktober: Dining Catastrophe in Padungan

with 2 comments

When it comes to a restaurant I can’t stand bad service more than bad food. Bad food to an extent is pardonable, the cook is just not good but he/she failed to realise or due to his/her lack of capability to taste. Also the fact that the taste of food is subjective; according to one’s tongue- we are all used to different tastes. Bad service, on the other hand, is something that is avoidable. So I am saying that in judging a restaurant, food servicing comes first, then the taste of the food itself- ironic, I don’t care, but that is how I like it.

I know that there are many food enthusiasts who gritted their teeth and withstand bad attitude of some hawkers in Penang just to taste the good food- the char koay teow in Lorong Selamat for example, where you have to queue up for your plate(s) even though you are dining in, for one. There are many more hawkers who are very rude there- hawkers that will tell you “Why? You can’t wait? Cannot wait don’t eat la!” in Hokkien when sometimes you are being kept waiting for a while and wonder the aunty has have forgotten your order. There are also those aunty that show you their disapproval (by mumbling cuss words in an almost audible volume) whenever you ask for extra sauce for your two big plastic bag of yong tau foo as she only provide you with a small packet.

Those suckers can eat their delicious plate, but personally for me, I’d rather make a pass. I would rather accept mediocre food but with an emphasis of good service. I pay for my food don’t I? Why should I endure all those bullshit from those hawkers just because of their (yet) another failed attempt to win big bucks at Genting?

It was my girlfriend’s second visit here and it was also a very special weekend as she only passed her birthday on the Monday before- so being a good boyfriend that I am (ehem) I wanted to bring her to eat something nice, something that is slightly expensive. I want to treat her a good meal. As for me, there is nothing that expresses love better than good food- not roses, not chocolates- but good, delicious, wholesome meal.

What a disappoinment it was. I am still feeling sorry for my girlfriend for her to endure such catastrophe.


We first went to a famous coffee outlet by the name of bing! which is supposed to serve coffee ala Coffee Bean that happens to serve food as well. As they go with the image of a restaurant with ‘class’ to cater for the yuppies here, I do have a certain expectations for the coffee place- as it also receive some good reviews from a famous blogger here.

What a fucking bad experience. We came in at 3 something in the afternoon and knowing the way some restaurants operates, the first question I asked the staff was “Is the kitchen open?” just to make sure that there is food for our already chronically hungry stomachs. The worker answered yes, hesitantly. In fact all of their staff seemed so reluctant in having us coming in (there were only one other customer sitting amidst the heat). After answering my question, all the others scurried away in a hurry, keeping us lost there. Nobody asked us for our order, where we would like to be seated, or even offer us a smile. Suddenly it felt like we were just existed the moment I ask them that question and in and we ceased from existence soon after the moment they answered. They resume to whatever they were doing.

So me and Hana went to get seated on a table by ourselves. Like some bloody idiot we sat there for ten minutes. A worker came and tell us that we have to place our order on the counter- No fucking worker told us that before as they are hurrying away doing God knows what but to serve the customers. So we have sat there for 10 minutes in the afternoon heat, as for some strange reasons the management decide to shut the air-cond. They told us that there are no electricity, but the fridge was operating well and so is the table fan there. I wonder if that is the way they cut their cost. After subjected t the “don’t care” attitude of the worker, the wait and the heat, they told us that we need to place our order at the counter, to go back to square one.

Ok, fine, Coffee Bean style, go to the counter and self-service. Right. I am already embarassed of bringing my girlfriend here thinking that this will not be a mistake, that big amount of faith that I have place to this restaurants that I have foolishly believed will not let me down. We walked like fools that nobody wanted to be there to the counter. And then we asked for the food menu, as all the display above the Coffee-Bean styled over the head menu showed only drinks.

Picture my surprise when a restaurant worker from such establishment told me that they have no food menu. They have the money to décor the place with sculptures and various portraits of Buddha and even a little Zen-like fountain made of expensive granite but they somehow overspent on the décor to have money left to print the food menu. I exhale through my nose, half in my huge disappointment and half to release my savagery inner being from coming out- to remain civilised in such a beautifully decorated restaurant like this.

The worker told us that the food is on display, that we could choose from there. The worker showed those glass fridge that they display cakes, which they do, together with the uppermost level with frozen food, you know, those replicas of the food that they sell that they usually made out of plastic to show you how the food will looked like. Those. Only the difference is they showed the real thing here, wrapped in loosed clear plastic. What me and Hana see is the most disappointing display of soggy, stale and definitely inedible food ever in such a concept restaurant. There was a spaghetti bolognaise that looked like it has been there for weeks, a salad with dubious looking vegetable and shrunken bread cuttings and few other sad limited array of food.

I look at the male spectacled worker in the face and sarcastically remarked, “Next time la ok” and walked out of the shop. Never again.

where you don’t want to be

bad-da-bing!: we make your dining simply inevitably Hell-ish, don’t be fooled y the Buddha decor we have.

Wishing Well

Next we went to another shop at the same row at Jalan Padungan by the name of Wishing Well. Well, well, to tell you now, thinking of the name, I wish very much for the shop to be well. Well, what do we get there? Crappy food.

The service was ok, it must be, after that bad experience at bing! you have very less case of dissatisfaction. They brought the menu, we ordered our food. Everything’s fine at first. The peach tea that Hana ordered really suits her taste while my Iced White Coffee was made just the way I like it.

Then we go to the food. First failure: the gap of 30 minutes interval which my Pork Cordon Bleu came first followed by Hana Cheezy Fish with Rice. Let me start with the Cordon Bleu first: it’s HARD. Rock hard. The common biggest mistake of frying- fried the food too long until there is no moisture left. The cheese of the Cordon Bleu should be flowing out but I have to say not much of it does. No garnishing whatsoever: not even slices of cucumber or tomato. Just a plate, a piece of wood-like cordon bleu and some fries.

30 minutes of wait later, came Hana’s Cheezy Fish with Rice. It is a bit like those baked rice that you could eat at those Hong Kong styled “Char Chan Teng” like Kim Gary and Mongkok Char Chan Teng. I liked those too- Kim Gary made it pretty well. The Wishing Well’s version on the other hand leaves very much to be desired for. The fish was simply hanyir. I know it is fish, I don’t need to taste fishiness to know that it is fish that was served. ‘Nuff said. Then the rice. Rice that have been cooked and kept for too long and then simply heated and served.

After 30 minutes of wait for the food to arrive, there is nothing more disappointing an and heart wrenching that finding out that you have wasted your time waiting for sucky food. When you are hungry, go into a restaurant that you expect to serve good food (because you know how much roughly the food there will cost and expected that the quality of the food to be better since it costs more), waited for it with high expectations, I emphasize again here, that the is no more heart shattering feeling that getting real bad food.

More disappointed than angry, I told the waitress there that the rice was really bad (and I even overlook the cordon bleu situation)- which was responded negatively. You see, that is the Malaysian mindset: people take criticism personally- even though that I was telling the waitress to tell the chef that the rice was really bad, she somehow felt that I was directing that to her. Probably I am what people said as “westernized”- so much that I am desensitized over how people might feel whenever I speak up my mind- I expect that people might respond the way that I would if were subjected to the same situation.

wish ‘em well

Wishing Well: Where you HAVE a lot to wish well. Like wishing the Wishing Well well. Wish ’em well.

There you have it.

I felt so embarrassed with my girlfriend. I kept on apologizing to her over the really sucky birthday celebration that we had.

I brought her to Secret Recipe later for some reliable quality of good cakes later.

Sorry again honey, Happy Birthday.

P/S: If any of the management people of the two outlets, or even the owner reads this, yes, I demand an explanation. Gone were the days where people just keep their mouth shut whenever they get bad services. If the management is really serious about delivering quality dining experience to their customers, then this should be taken as a valuable feedback, NOT as an offence. I am very sure to be made comparison, the extent which I am offended is more than any of these restaurant people reading this could ever be.

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Written by yuenkokleong

October 17, 2007 at 3:14 am

Posted in Days at Sarawak

2 Responses

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  1. time u can have your dinner wit hana at ‘top spot’.very nice place to eat, fresh seafood with reasonable price. alak loves that place.go to ‘top spot’ and choose ‘bukit mata’ stall.


    November 9, 2007 at 6:06 am

  2. Yeah. Been there already with a friend a few weeks back. I planned to bring Hana there as well when she comes. Just hope that her allergy to seafood is not that bad..


    November 9, 2007 at 6:36 am

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