Friday, 10 March 2017

Not A Magical Meal

Themed Restaurants

How many diners would go to a themed restaurant and expect to be served great food?   Thankfully, we didn’t.  We decided to step into the magical world of Platform 1094, a Harry Potter / Wizard – themed café that had just sprung up near our hood, just for the sheer fun of immersing ourselves in a Hogwartish atmosphere and perhaps, whish our wands around to turn a bucket of truffle fries into a 2-bucket portion.

Well, can I just say for the record that the restaurant IS Platform 1094, and not Platform 9¾.  So never mind the quality of the food, the look and feel of it is as far from Hogwarts as Daniel Radcliffe is to Daniel Craig.

Step up to the Platform

Platform 1094

The first indication of  having been transported from the street off Serangoon Road to a magical place is to open the glass door to a shelf full of wizardry paraphernalia from the Halloween costume shop that says Mrs Lich Wands, Trinkets and Curios.  Cute.  Some of my friends who had been to the restaurant encouraged me to put on the witch’s hat, robe and brandish a wand.  No thanks.
You want to be Harry Potter or Voldermort?

After settling down at my table, we were served water in lab beakers while we browsed through their menu. So far, still cute.
Yup, its water. Not a pee sample.

We had decided to start off with some drinks.  The hubby ordered Mr Lich’s Flaming Brew which looked like a goblet of lemonade and blue curacao torched with a spoonful of bacardi and sprinkled with cinnamon powder to create some sparks of magic.  If it was not an alcoholic drink, kids would be thrilled with it.  For old fogies like us, we cupped our faces in our hands and rolled our eyes to the fact that it was such a lame gimmick that tasted like cough syrup.
So Tacky.  Blue Tack...see what I did there? Get it? Get it? 

The boy ordered the Butterscotch Ale which was a white foamy liquid topped with sugared star sprinkles.  I thought it was a pretty, girly, frou frou drink and a good one for my boy who was allergic to alcohol and believed in unicorns.

Unicorn Milk

Not enamored by the drinks, we then went on to the food, hoping to be mesmerized by the magic of their culinary skills even if everything else from theme décor, to service to drinks fell flat on their faces.

As I was an avid nibbler, we ordered almost everything from their list of appetizers.  We had the Spam Fries, which was strangely breaded and deep-fried but still tasty.  It’s Spam Fries, you can’t go wrong with Spam Fries. We also ordered the Truffle Fries, Platform Wings and Meatballs.  So far, these were just ok. One could really not find fault with anything deep-fried right?  The meatballs however were a heap of cheesy, tomatoey mess that looked unappetizing and way too over-saucy.
Spam Fries

A bowl of glob they called Meatballs

We also had their Mushroom Soup and Carrot and Beetroot Soup which were served in black cauldrons.  How witchy. So cute. These, I had to admit, were delicious, hearty and substantial as a meal on its own.
Mushroom Soup in a cauldron

Truffle Fries saved the day

For main course, the hubby had the Da Bomb Burger.  It was Da Bomb alright.  It was Da Bomb in his face.  No doubt the serving was huge.  However, it was a huge disappointment because it was too dry, and the patty was almost tasteless that he had to douse it in ketchup.  The accompanying french fries was served stone-cold.
The Burger that bombed

The boy had the Pesto Mayo Pork Ribs.  Although the meat on the ribs was tender and fell off the bone, he felt that the pesto mayo marinade made the pork ribs too saucy. In his words, “It was okay. Edible.  But I wouldn’t travel all this way for this.”

A plate of glob they called ribs

Now, that was how we felt about the restaurant, the drinks and the food.  Let me tell you about the service.  I am most finicky about service.  Quality of food and drinks can be improved.  However, with the lack of long-standing, good service staff faced by most restaurants in Singapore, I often wished that most restaurant owners would invest in proper training and nurturing of their service staff.

Customer Service

At Platform 1094, the staff were not engaging enough.  This was a themed restaurant.  Customers would be visiting this restaurant in the hope of having a fun meal.  Could we have some life please?

Our dishes, beakers, and cauldrons were left piling on our table as we polished off each dish.  Staff were walking past our table and had not had the common sense to remove the dirty dishes.

Could someone please take these away?

When a staff took our order, and it was a long list of order, he seemed to be struggling to remember everything that we ordered. So I asked him if he would like to write them all down.  However he said, “No need.”  Well, he was wrong, because we were accidentally served with yet another bucket of Spam Fries that we had not ordered. 

When I tried to make a reservation earlier for dinner at 6.30pm, the staff that took my call said, “Sorry we are fully booked for dinner.”   So I decided to ask if I could then make a reservation for 5.30pm, perhaps we could be there for drinks and see if we wanted to stay on for dinner if it was not too crowded.  He said that was ok as the restaurant would not be too busy then.  He was right, the restaurant had more life than my underpants at that time.  But even when we finished our meal at about 7.30pm, I still had more life in my underpants.  There were several empty tables around us with reserved signs on them.  What a waste!  If I was a restaurant owner, and I knew that I could have the potential of filling my restaurant throughout the evening, I would never tell a potential customer that the restaurant was fully booked for dinner.

I know this post may be quite scathing about the restaurant.  To be fair, I had no high expectations of the food when I had decided to pay Platform 1094 a visit.  However, from the décor, to the service to the food and drinks, at least try to score on a couple of winning factors that would bring your customers back right?  I would not think of coming back just for the Carrot and Beetroot Soup served in a cauldron. Really.



About The Writer:

This blog post was co-written by my brother Jerome and I. Although we are siblings who grew up 11 years apart, shaped by differing experiences to see the world from different perspectives, we do share a common obsession – FOOD.  We celebrate our passion for life with food.  However, our attitudes to food are quite different and the way we celebrate our love for food are also quite different.  Jerome lives to eat and hoovers everything edible that crosses his path.  As he shovels food into his mouth with that fork in his right hand, he takes photographs of what he eats, and posts pictures and notes up on Facebook with his left.  Often, his beautifully written prose about what he had eaten would be 7 paragraphs in length and would not have any punctuations in between because he had been too busy multi-tasking. 

I, on the other hand, eat to live. It is not just about my attempts to eat healthily. As I am a “cam-whore” and “social media hussy”, I spend about half an hour styling my food, taking photographs, writing notes and posting them across my social media platforms before eating them, right after the hubby has paid for the bill and is about to head out of the restaurant.  I enjoy reading all my posts about what I had eaten because I know that I had lived fully in spite of watching what I eat.  Welcome to the foodie world of the quirky Ong siblings.


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