Friday, October 24, 2008

Restaurant Reviews: Graze@ Rochestor and Flutes@ the Fort (Singapore)

Ok I promised to write about the restaurant I booked and here it comes.

Originally I had wanted to try out GRAZE @ ROCHESTOR PARK for birthday dinner on monday. However when I checked their website, I realised they are actually closed on Monday. Reading so much about their brunch, I decided to reserve a table for sunday 12.30pm instead. I emailed them and the response was lukewarm. When I request if I could have a quieter table possibly away from kids and large crowds, the response was a very clinical SOP, yet mildy unsatisfactory reply that "Sunday is our busiest day". So it was somewhat projecting a "we are very busy, take it or leave it attitude." Given the benefit of doubt, I persisted in trying the talk about brunch.

Brunch at Graze was so so. We had the Seafood platter BBQ and it was alittle steep for what we had. The chips were good but I didnt think it deserved the price tag. Service was ok, somewhat flustered bunch. Many ran around, dashing to try to get orders and serve food but it just give a very messy disorganised feeling. I didnt exactly feel the warmth of service either, till the very end when it was dessert time where the staff actually smiled a rare smile. The whole crowd incidentally were 98% ang mohs expat. I didnt see any locals. The 1 % chinese are tourists as well.

Then for birthday dinner. As mentioned in earlier post, I hunted around for a good fine dining restaurant and stumbled upon a review on "Flutes at the Fort". 2 weeks before the actual date, I wrote to them asking about table availability and a very nice and sweet lady Ruth responded.

Ruth left a deep impression on me, as to what good service is about. As mentioned before, alot of restaurants are very passive and non proactive about service. Ruth was completely different. As she went on to confirm booking, she actually pick up the word "birthday" dinner and imitated if I would like a birthday dessert surprise. What was even more pleasant was that she actually took the initiative to send me a picture of the birthday desserts she had on her birthday, to give me an idea of how the decorative would look like! I was awe by her kind gesture! She assured me all will be communicated to the serving staff and I need not give further instructions.

I was sold and dead determined to go to the restaurant as she had already set a very good impression on the service.

And afraid that I would be lost, she even took the time to email me the pdf with address, roadmap and clear instructions to get to the restaurant (which the cab driver ruined everything).

I called the restaurant Flutes on the very night and moment when i ditched the robber cab driver. I explained I had a reservation and was near the vicinity but unsure of how to get to the location. The staff first asked for my name and when she recognised it! She immediately introduced herself as Ruth! She was such an angel. She got me to describe my surroundings and explained the long route I had to take and flight of stairs I had to climb up. She apologised for the cab rip off (even though it doesnt concern her) sensing how indignant I was. She even told me she would hold on to the line to make sure I was where she thought I was, and guide me safely to the restaurant. She did that for good 10mins and finally I arrived!!!! She was all smiles and laughs and profusing sympathy of my plight over the phone and she certainly saved my night from being ruined!

During the course of dinner, everything went as planned and discussed. She had allocated a quiet air-con spot for us. The staff who served us was also extremely attentive and polite and well trained. His smiles put us at ease and while he was around to check on diners, he was non intrusive. The whole venue was jammed pack that night due to some conference group diners i think but not once did I ever felt left out or unattended!

When dessert came, everything came perfectly! Our desserts came on a lovely decorated plate, with the name, candles and everything in place. I truly didnt have to fret a thing! Dinner while wasnt first class food experience, it was decent, well cooked and well timed. The only feedback we had was the Alaskan crab leg starter which was too small a serving!!!
When I returned to HK, what surprised me even more was that staff at Flutes actually sms and left voice message with my HK number to confirm booking etc. (My HK number didnt have roaming so i left it at home). I have left overseas mobile with my restaurants in many cities and rarely anyone calls to confirm booking, least of all sms me! So I am glad to say I still havent regretted the big tip I left behind for such exemplary service!

Thank you to all at Flutes @ the Fort. The staff I had were wonderful and they deserved to be popular and one of the most subscribed restaurant in Singapore at the moment!


littlecartnoodles said...

Don't worry about lousy service staff and businesses that tolerate poor customer service ... The recession will clean house.

Jackie said...

Wow you had the same experience that I did when my sister and I had booked a table at Flutes last November (2010) for my 50th birthday. The taxi - after a very expensive (for Singapore) ride dropped us off at the Battle Box in Fort was dark raining and we were totally lost. After half an hour of wandering through the park we came across Flutes by accident. However we were late for our reservation and we were so hot and tired that the experience was ruined. Just couldn't eat the lovely food.

I have just today booked a special date with Flutes when my partner and I celebrate our anniversary on a trip to Singapore over Easter...the lovely Ruth Chen is still there and she is absolutely wonderful. So very professional and warm when I made the booking.

I will make sure we leave a good tip.