How excited are you when you dine out at a new restaurant for the first time?
Coming January we start with the selection of restaurants for our next book. It’s unbelievable but true. We just launched our current 2018 edition and we’re already looking at our next edition! We take this selection process very seriously, since we only want to give you our favourite 10 restaurants of the year!
For our 2018 edition we had amazing and not so amazing experiences. Especially the not so amazing experiences made me wonder what makes a restaurant experience great, and how much do our expectations play a part in this. Of course good food and service is the starting point for a good evening. But I think there’s more to it than that.
One of our experiences that really stood out for me last year, was unfortunately a not so good experience. We were super excited to try this place. It had been around for a while, was situated at a beautiful location, friends recommended it and I read good reviews about it. So we finally went!
I made a reservation, checked out the menu online and discussed with Peter which dishes we should try. Totally loved the pre-excitement vibe! On the day of our dinner I wondered what to wear – casual chic yet comfy or all in with heels and a dress. Casual comfy won since we wanted to keep the option open to walk home afterwards.
When we arrived at THE restaurant, there was a little crack in my ‘perfect evening out vision’. We weren’t greeted with a good evening or welcome to our restaurant. The waiters weren’t smiling and we didn’t feel welcome at all. The greeting we got was a short ‘do you have a reservation?’. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. If it’s busy and you’re fully booked for the evening, you want to check if guests are walk-ins or not. Does this mean you can’t be nice about it though?
I decided it wouldn’t spoil my mood, this was our night and I was determined to make the most out of it!
The disappointment continued
It seems like it wasn’t meant to be for us that night. The disappointment continued in the form of our starters. They were ok at best – Peter’s definitely better than mine. However, the biggest disappointment was when we got our main courses. Peter’s tuna was clearly overcooked. Instead of beautiful pink on the inside and moist in flavours, it was grey, dry and bland in taste. My beef cheek on the other hand was very undercooked, with a lot of fat left and therefore almost nauseating.
This was utterly disappointing and we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We asked for the bill, paid and left. I realised we were in and out of there within an hour. Not the long, romantic evening out I had in mind! We ended up paying $200 for one glass of wine, two starters and two mains. I wish I had spend that money differently. So much for a nice evening out, catching up over a good dinner and spending some time together.
Restaurant experiences vs expectations
When we walked home it really hit me. This is why I love our Table Tales concept and book. This is why we get so many happy stories from other book owners. Disappointing evenings like this are one of the most frustrating things about eating out and trying new restaurants. The utter disappointment you feel after you were so looking forward to an evening out. I totally understand it when people say we just go to the same place because we know what we get.
It’s such a shame though! There are still great restaurants in Singapore. Who give you a great night out – make you feel welcome from the moment you walk through the door. I don’t judge a restaurant on one element alone. It’s the whole experience that determines whether I’ll come back again or not. From the service to the staff and the concept to the atmosphere. It all plays a role and the combination is how I judge restaurants and how we choose restaurants for our book. Expectations and pre-excitement definitely play a role into that and and important one at that. Let’s not lose that and settle for mediocre experiences. We believe that dining out should always be a special occasion and that’s what we want to give you with our book.
About Table Tales
NOTE – I’m not in the business of shaming or trash talking restaurants, hence I kept the restaurant name out of my article. All images are taken by ourselves and don’t reflect a restaurant we discuss.