Sometimes in Hong Kong you go “wow, you just couldn’t get that in London/ New York/ Paris“. Unfortunately, it is not just the food, often it is the shitty service.
Until now I haven’t really gone off on a rant against bad service in Hong Kong. This is kind of surprising as it is, to make a very broad generalisation, terrible. Typically your experience of service is to be hustled in and out of your table with a perfunctory taking of orders. There is also a lack of knowledge or desire to engage about the food or alochol and instead a simple deisre to churn tables.
This may be combined large periods of being ignored when you actually want service or have been waiting for a dish for 40 minutes and is normally capped off by the bill being presented with a waiter omnipresent behind you seemingly saying “please leave, next person, I can’t be bothered to let you read the bill in peace“. There are, obviously, exceptions to this but as a general rule it stands true.
This is acceptable, and in some senses laudable at your local dai pai dong or wonton place. It keeps prices cheap and means you get in and out quickly. But when you experience such service at restaurants where you can spend $1,000s and they have Michelin stars and/or the pretence of being good restaurants in an international context… it just doesn’t suffice.
And so it was at 8 1/2 (2 Michelin stars) which is a shame as the food was rather good. Unfortunately, it was plated on a backdrop of ignorance about the menu and the ingredients, an atmosphere of panic which meant waiters ran everywhere and achieved nothing and long interminable waits for dishes.
The most annoying this is I will, probably, be back. Through gritted teeth I will sit there and order their pasta as it is hard thing to find a proper bowl of pasta anywhere in the world outside of Italy and especially so in Hong Kong. I’ll probably bring my Kindle to occupy me for the gaps and perhaps an iPod to try and cut out the background clamour of inept service. And I won’t order the cheese as that was pre-cut, un ripe and over refridgerated.
- Price – HK$500 to 1,000 or more
- Shop 202, 2/F, Alexandra House, 5-17 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong (2537 8859)
PS as a bit of context, I obviously went on a particularly bad off day but for this level restaurant there should be any. But for a review of a good day try Gastronomous Anonymous here.