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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Disgruntled by The Disgruntled Chef

I was at The Disgruntled Chef twice in the past few months. After the first time, I vowed never to go back. But when the girls decided to go there, I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to spoil the party. At the end of the evening, we unanimously decided it wasn't worth the money we paid. I was in 2 minds whether to blog about it but decided that it wasn't worth revisiting a somewhat blah experience. Then, this blogger wrote about it, and she felt exactly like I and my seven girlfriends.

The eight of us spent $60/= on water alone!! We were so busy talking that when approached with either sparkling or still, we absent-mindedly gestured one or the other. Each bottle of water is $12/=. I think it is done on purpose to pad up the profit margin, because the first time I went there with a friend, we had to tell the server THREE times that we didn't want bottled water at all. If they had asked a 4th time, we would have felt embarassed enough to accept their offer of $12/= per bottle of water. There is some undue pressure here. Something that says "We're a classy place and people here drink bottled, not tap water."

But I didn't see any chandeliers. The setting is green and relaxing in Dempsey. You're there to talk and chill out. It isn't a diamonds and ballgown sort of place.... so $12/= for a bottle of water?! It's overpriced.

The portions were miserly. We each paid $48 and then went to PS Cafe for big seconds. The plates were heavy (stone slabs) and when you're supposed to share the "small eats" you end up passing blocks of granite up and down the long rectangular table. If it's for sharing, the Chinese way is great - a round table. Else, don't make the plates so heavy... or, don't construct a sharing menu.

The quality of the food was excellent though but it feels awful to order bone marrow only to have a large piece of bone arrive on a large stone slab with fully 1 teaspoon of marrow to eat. Unless dogs are allowed, I don't see the point of that large bone. I ate that the first time. My friend had half a teaspoon of marrow smeared on toast. Me, I had the same. Then we amused our mouths with the other pieces of toast.

This place has settled on a great way to make money. Present small portions of excellent food on large plates... charge the prices of normal portions of good food on normal plates... within an unpretentious ambience... get guests to share. Unwittingly, people will order more dishes because when you share, you keep on ordering when you realise your friends have not had enough.

People end up paying the prices of a meal at a vastly more pretentious place than here. Of course, there is the part about getting people to drink bottled water like in a top class French restaurant with chandeliers and gold leaf chocolate.

Smart strategy, but I don't like being inveigled. If I want to pay Jaan prices, I make a decision to go to a Jaan or equivalent. I don't wanna go somewhere laid back, amidst green and wood and lazy armchairs... and then realise that I am in a Jaan-price place.

No... not nice. The eight of us swore that we would not go back. And the food isn't unforgettably good either. I didn't develop an instant addiction like I sometimes do with food. See post here.


Anonymous said...

Haha, Pet. We r quite smart re bottled water. All of us, including the guys, would always insist on warm water in cups — our non-alcoholic beverage of choice. That's why we weren't charged; or at least that's what i think, since the financial controller didn't mention such a cost.

Blur Ting said...

Disgruntled chef mah. He doesn't care about your feelings. But looks like somewhere I should stay away from unless I wanna build up biceps from hoisting the heavy slabs.