Old Hong Kong Essence @ Novena

Nourishing Soup + Authentic Hong Kong Dim Sum Buffet” read the voucher on Deals.sg.  Well, considering that it’s like S$25.80, I got the voucher with J and we decided to go have lunch on the 3rd day of CNY.  E came along too, but as she didn’t get the voucher, she had to pay the full price of almost S$50.  Anyway, GST & service charge weren’t included in our voucher (it’s stated on the voucher so I’ve got no complaints about this), plus the wet towel & appetizer snack was chargeable (this part is WTF)… so the total price came up to like S$30+ per person.


old HK

Location.  On the voucher & website, it’s stated as Oasia Hotel @ Novena.  Thank goodness E googled for reviews prior to visiting the place – cos the restaurant isn’t exactly AT Oasia hotel.  To get there, you gotta exit the hotel & take the lift from the building beside the hotel… Novena Specialist Center, to be precise.  Pretty sure if we had gone there ‘blind’, we would have expended some time & unnecessary energy trying to look for the place IN Oasia Hotel itself.  Misleading much? 

Food.  The choices were limited.  Dim sum items were few, and very basic.  The xiao long bao was a 1x order.  There was no siew mai, no har gao =.=  tbh, we ended up ordered more ‘cooked food’ instead of dim sum.  Stuff like braised tofu (there’s a lot of tofu), steamed tofu, vegetables… etc.  Taste-wise, it’s just so-so.  Nothing impressive at all.  imho, the stuff at Victor’s Kitchen @ Sunshine Plaza is heaps better – and yes, though it’s ala-carte, for the amount we ate, it’s cheaper.

Service.  This is the part I had most issues about.  Firstly, I was mildly irked that they spelt my name wrongly on the reservation book: G-R-A-T-E.  Oh wow, so now I’m a frame of iron bars?  That’s even after I spelt it over the phone TWICE to the person when making a reservation.  How hard is it to spell “Grace”?  LOL, but whatever, small issue.

The main problem is this waitress, Alice Yeo.  Look, I don’t expect a bubbly cheery server considering this is Singapore and we don’t have a habit of personal tipping.  What I do expect though is a basic amount of politeness.  Her sullen face aside, the straw that broke this camel’s back came when food was served.  We took turns ticking off the order chit, so I didn’t know what my mates ordered… and well, I’ve never seen friend chee cheong fun before so when it arrived I was O_O and I asked Ms Sour what that item is.  Mind you, I asked politely.  I might not have said ‘please’ (cos I asked in Mandarin), but my intonation was curious, not demanding.  Her snippy response was, “猪肠粉, 看不出meh?”  Translation: chee cheong fun, can’t you tell by looking?  I did look to see whether she was kidding, but no, her face was sullen to the max & she said that in a challenging tone… sif she was daring me to retort.  Whoah!  Hello, b!tch, just what the f**k did I do to you?  I merely asked a question, you cranky cow!

Needless to say, I was taken aback, offended and of cos I did retort by snapping back at her saying that if I could tell what it was, I wouldn’t have asked (also in Mandarin).  I, and E as well, then went on to complain about Ms Sour’s attitude to a colleague (who seemed more senior than others), who was also there at the point of time.  Of cos her colleague apologized on her behalf.  Sheesh.

/shrug you might say I could be more understanding; she might be having a bad day… but hellOOOoo she’s a waitress, and being polite is part of her job requirement!  I was a waitress once before, and no matter how shitty my day was and even if the customer was a nasty one, I was never downright rude.  Oh yeah, I did use sarcasm, but most of the time I just responded coldly and then raged to my colleagues in the kitchen or when we were on a smoke break – never ever in front of the customer -.-“

Ms Alice Sour Yeo aside, I took was slightly annoyed with another waitress when she served us our xiao long bao (soup dumpling).  One of the enjoyments about eating xiao long bao is biting thru’ the ‘skin’ and tasting the soup that leaks out.  This waitress was in such a rush to serve us that she accidentally pierced the skin with the fork she was using, resulting in the soup dripping all over the table.  No apology given.  Wow.  Do they even train their staff?  To begin with, why the rush?  The restaurant was far from crowded.  Why insist on transferring the xiao long bao to our plates just so you can collect back the basket?  Pffftttttt…

To be fair, not all the waitresses were f**ked up.  The rest of them were nice and polite while serving our food, changing our plates, refilling our tea… etc.  I can close an eye to the incident about my dumpling bursting too… but the fail that is Alice Yeo is unforgivable.  What annoys me more is that I’m unable to feedback the incident to the restaurant management – their FB page doesn’t have a message option and the ‘contact us’ form on their webpage doesn’t work.  L-A-M-E.  But this isn’t the end, am gonna register a hungrygowhere account and post a negative review when I get home.  I assure you, I am no Diva.  I’m not even a ‘fussy customer’.  I just have low tolerance for rudeness from people in the service industry, that’s all.

bad service

Know what the most annoying thing is?  I’m going back there sometime next week for their 10 course meal – another Deals.sg voucher that I purchased with another group of friends.  It’s already paid for, so I should really go, much as I don’t wanna step into that place ever again.  I hope the 2nd time will be a better experience.  Once again…


PS. I was so annoyed that I didn’t bother to take any pictures of the food – not that I was anything special to begin with.  I just wanted to eat to my fill, then gtfo.

One response to “Old Hong Kong Essence @ Novena

  1. Just went to OLD HONG KONG ESSENCE @ NOVENA “Hong Kong Dim Sum Buffet” on 09/05/2014 with my Mum & my son.
    I do not recommend this place to my friend ever. VERY LOUSY FOOD & not worth it ever though it promotion @ $18.80++ on DEALS.COM advertisement food sucks like hell worst than Hwaker center.
    Food are not fresh, very oily & salty. Most of the item are all meat (port, chicken, duck) somemore the meat got badly smell & hard, Dim sum just a few item.dessert too sweet we ask for ice water to add on therefore they want to charge for ice water $0.80.
    After finished my Mum vomit all the food. we will ever..ever not recommend to this restaurant. BAD BAD !!!
    Hope they will improve the food & fresh.

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