Purchasing online coupons / vouchers to “try out” places that one has never heard of or gone to before is a gamble. Sometimes it pays off – and you find a place with food good enough to warrant a second visit. Sometimes it results in a totally meh experience – and when that happens, you will be thankful that you didn’t pay the full price for dining there.
Unfortunately, last evening’s gamble resulted in the latter.
“Only $16.90 for Ala-Carte Buffet at 4 & A Half Gourmands, Clark Quay – Includes Signature Pizza, Chicken Wings + Squid Ink Pasta + Drinks (Orange / Lime Juice)” screams the headline. With a “voucher value” of $50.00, I thought hey, this does sound like something decent… was expecting a choice of various types of pasta, inclusive of the squid ink one, and perhaps a variety of pizzas.
lmao, I couldn’t be further away from the truth. Take a look at the Buffet Menu for yourself.
Yep. 2 types of pasta & 2 types of pizza is all the choice you have, with a handful of finger food. Ah yes, there’s the one-time orders too. They need not have worried about repeat orders, frankly. The fried garlic shrimp and buffalo wings were so mediocre that I would not ordered a second server even if I was allowed to. The tempura mushrooms? Uhmm… is there even mushroom in there? All I taste is bland tempura batter, couldn’t even finish them. The buffalo wings & quail egg wantons were just o-k-a-y.
As you can see, they didn’t even bother about food presentation. The above are the fried quail wantons & tempura mushrooms. Well… the weird yellow color is probably due to my iphone flash, but trust me, I was totally unimpressed when I was served. The buffalo wings (below) looked slightly better.
Let’s see… what else was served – I pretty much took a single order of everything on the menu. Apologies for the lack of photographs. The lighting was bad, and the food presentation wasn’t interesting enough for me to unearth my phone from my pocket. Even Instagram couldn’t help how ugly the food looks ~ LOL
Garlic Bread – alright, wasn’t bad but wasn’t good either
Hand Cut Fries – tasteless potato strips would be a closer description
Soup of the Day – mushroom soup that was diluted and way too salty!
Grill Mushrooms – grilled, really? Looks more like sautéed mushrooms in some oriental sauce & it’s covered by heaps of garlic… for the dish to have a semblance of taste perhaps?
Garlic Mash Potato – oh, this one is fine, no complaints here
Vietnamese Chicken Wings – normal deep fried chicken wings that I can pretty much prepare @ home by dumping the pre-battered stuff bought from any supermarket into a deep fryer
Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables – didn’t eat them, but friend said it was “quite nice”
Beef & Bacon Pizza – the crust was lousy, instant pizza bought from 7-11 is nicer than that
The highlight of the night would have been the Squid Ink Pasta! I am a fan of squid Ink pasta… love it to bits! Hence I thought that hey, at least I can eat my fill of pasta to make the voucher worthwhile. Until the dish came.
Like everything served before it, it looked terrible. A mass of black stuff with raw onions on the top. Uhmm… who the f**k serves raw onions with pasta? O_O Poking into the lump of pasta felt weird. The linguine was clumped together – makes me wonder if it’s even freshly prepared. Taste wise? /sigh. Let’s just say this is the first time I didn’t manage to eat more than 2 bites off a plate of pasta. I just left the entire plate there despite the place supposedly having a fine for ‘wasted food’.
I walked off w/o anyone asking me to pay the fine though. Not that I’d have paid. I’d have shoved the pasta back to them and asked them to taste it themselves if they had the gall to demand payment.
Pffftttt…. Nothing about this place is worth going back for.
The service could have been much better too. I made a reservation, a day before, and when I arrived, the staff gestured for us to sit outside… or to squeeze at the corner with another group of 4. Seriously – no table set aside? Then why in the world do we need to make a reservation in the first place? This wouldn’t be an issue if I was a walk-in tbh. Food and even the drinks (which was a one-time order too) took forever to arrive, and required a further reminder after a >20min wait. Yes, it took that long to pour 2 glass of juice into the cup. Not that the place was busy too… which brings me to my next point…
The place was small, and NOISY!! omg. There was a large group of guys where were talking at the top of their voices & playing drinking games – and it was so bad that I had to shout for my friend seated right across me to hear what I’m saying. Jeez! Even after the bunch of guys left, it was only slightly better. The place is just not conducive for any form of conversation. At all.
The conclusion? 4 & A Half Gourmands… LOL more like 4 & A Half FAILS. The food quality fails, the service fails, the ambience fails, value for money fails (yes, even at $16.90 per pax it ain’t worth it)… well, the seating arrangement half fails – table too small, but chair was comfortable enough.
Will I ever return? Definitely NOT!!!!!
4 & A Half (Failed) Gourmands
Location: 20 Hong Kong Street #01-03