My birthday this year is a rather dreary one. Despite arranging to the day off work, it was an utter waste because I spent half of it in bed with a migraine carried over from the last few days. I was tempted to cancel my dinner plans, but lying in bed all day is no way to spend your birthday.
873 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park 6101
I've had a craving for Vietnamese - the spicy beef noodle soup in particular - so tonight was a good excuse to have a very casual dinner in the middle of the week. I had something on in North Perth so I headed directly to the restaurant and was an hour early. I thought about going somewhere for a coffee but I didn't think the coffee would have sat well with my headache and it was raining so I didn't want to walk far. Instead, the restaurant just so happened to flick their 'closed' sign to 'open' just as I walked past so I went inside.
They looked up my reservation and showed me to a large round table where I ordered a soda water and took out my book to read to pass the time. About half an hour later, someone walked over to my table, took a menu off it and walked away. I finished the sentence of my book that I was reading before looking up, expecting to see a waitress having taken the menu - perhaps they ran out or wanted to clean it? No. Some customer had helped herself to menus from my table and she had seated herself down on the table next to me to flich through it. I sat there and gave her the evils for a few minutes but she never looked up. I wish she had...I was not impressed. Rude *cough*
As the hour ticked by, the restaurant started to fill with people. By 6:15pm it was pretty full. A waitress approached me and asked if I was waiting for takeaway. I told her that I was waiting for friends who would be here shortly. She came back a few minutes later to tell me that I was on the wrong table. I didn't know what to say. Did it matter? They could give the table they'd assigned for me to the other booking. No. She made me move to the corner booth. It turns out that this booth was actually more private but I was irritated with the way she simply told me that I was on the wrong table - after I'd been there for almost an hour - and her attitude.
Anyways, my friends arrived one by one and I feeling much better than sitting there alone. As soon as we were all seated, a waiter came to take our order but we asked for a few minutes. Having worked in hospitality, I find that upon arrival, you should allow a few minutes for the guests to say hello to each other, ask how each other's day has been, and get comfortable before going over. Or at least wait until they've had a look at the menu! You can go and let them know what the day's specials are or to ask if anyone would like to order a drink to start off with, but chances are they're going to need a few minutes to go through the menu. It's frustrating when they come as soon as you've sat down and ask if you're ready to order. "Yes, I know what I want without even opening up the menu to go through it because I'm psychic." More often than not, I find that when you ask them to come back, they generally don't come back in a timely fashion and you end up having to wave someone over. It's little things like this that can really put a dampener at the overall dining experience.
Anyways, we eventually ordered. We shared some entrees:
Oh my god, the prawn toast was just oozing oil with each bite. I felt with every mouthful, I was just tasting crunchy bread drenched in oil.
I'm not sure what mains everyone ordered, but we had them come out at the same time:
With this dish, the slices of beef are raw when they add them to the soup. The slices are thin enough so that the hot soup cooks the beef. I used to never like eating beef that was less than well done so I would ask for my beef to be well cooked before adding to the soup if I ever ordered beef noodles in Singapore. Nowadays, I don't mind the blood so much and can appreciate the 'raw beef' dishes.
Kong found a hair in his chicken. It was protruding from the chicken meat so rather than just falling from someone's head, it would have been cooked with the chicken. They brought him a replacement but we all reckon that they just threw out the chicken pieces and put some newly cooked ones on. Kong had purposely mashed his rice apart and they had pushed it back into some sort of presentable shape.
Overall, the service was pretty bad and the food was so so. I was looking forward to some stuffed chicken wings but I remembered that they're $8.50 for two pieces. Yep.
The bill came to $88.80 for the five of us, including drinks. Not bad hey?
888 - The Chinese believe this is a sign of good luck!
Afterwards, we went to Baskin & Robbins for dessert.