We need to make a trip to the original coffee shop at Paya Lebar where the original chef owners still help out. The outlet at Suntec City, although more comfortable in terms of seats and air-conditioning was a huge disappointment (although the coffeeshop environment is what I usually prefer).
Three pathetic cucumbers fanned out (raw and not soaked in any sauce like you would find at the coffee shop) and a miserable portion of char siew. Cost more too, $6.80 as opposed to $5 at the coffeeshop but I’m thinking the coffee shop would give a bigger portion (need to confirm this with a visit). They also charged us 50 cents for water and we overheard them telling a customer that tap water is not served and they have to buy a bottle of mineral water. The chinese tea was also pathetic – tea bag in hot water. I have to find something positive now – service was polite, and I guess it’s not the fault of the servers or even the chefs as they might be under a tight budget and told to stick to certain portions?
And I think we were expecting more because we previously found Kay Lee char siew to be the best we’ve ever had. This time it was not fatty enough or perhaps not enough of that delicious thick sauce. I guess the new owners are trying to recover costs after buying over the business for 4 million but I think they need to go back to basics or loose the customer base (the place was pretty empty when we were there during lunch hour). I am rooting for them though and hope they improve at this upscale outlet since the new owners have expressed they want to preserve the brand.
My partner commented that perhaps being sold to a group that doesn’t specialise in restaurants is the issue. They need to hire the right food service managers or their huge investment might go to waste. Or they may need to bring in the original owners as consultants at the Suntec branch for quality control? To be fair these may just be teething problems but I find this the case in any brand that expands fast.