Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AVOID the Tippling Club

Went for lunch on Good Friday with ice at Tippling Club. It totally spoilt my Good Friday! I am recommending everyone to avoid the 8D area in Dempsey.

First up, we walked into the restaurant which was completely empty. I was pretty suprised since it was a public holiday. Eventually, there were 2 other small groups of diners. When we enquired about having three 2-course set meals for the two of us, instead of two 3-course set meals (since it is cheaper by $11, and we actually get an extra glass of wine), and the waiter rudly said "the chef does not want people to dictate his menu" (in the waiter's own words himself). Okaaaaaaaaay.

In fact, according to him, the portions of food from the 2-course set menu is larger than the 3-course set menu - but the portions of the 3-course set menu is so precise that we will not feel terribly full at the end of the meal since it was 'just enough'. Alright.... but I think I can if I'm full better than the chef can tell me if I'm full, and if I was full, I would just stop eating. So what's the big deal about the portion sizes being too big if we order three 2-course set meals for the two of us? So essentially, is he trying to tell us that 2 course set meals are more worth it? It doesn't make sense cos he's saying that I'll get a bigger portion, extra glass of wine and pay less!

And mind you, we were merely asking, and we were asking it very politely. The waiter was so agitated and curt you would think we were trying to get a meal for free.

When the food came, we were informed that we were NOT allowed to take photos by a bald waiter. And that this bald guy would be fired by the chef if diners went against the chef's rules. Right. So how come there are so many photos online for lunch - see here, here and here from other diners, and yet this bald guy isn't fired yet? After that, when the chef did come, they told us that it was ok to take pictures during lunch, but not dinner. wth.
Grilled capsicum with squid ink batter, to be eaten with forceps. I really don't see whats the big deal about it. Doesn't taste that good and I don't find it the least bit exciting to eat anything with forceps. Cheap thrill.
The orange thing at the back is miso soy wasabi dip, and was very salty.
Calamari Rings with Basil Emulsion
The calamari rings were painfully anaeroxic - they were so thin that at first, I just thought that they were onion rings (but no onion taste, just an oily batter). The murky green thing in the straw is super salty basil emulsion.
I wonder if they re-use that plastic hosing. Hope they sterilize it properly! Cos it's just like reusing straws.
Fizzy grapes infused with bourbon
I was pretty excited about this one, when I read about it online. But my grapes were pretty "lao hong" (ie NOT fizzy).
Truffle soup? I was sold instantly. In fact, I was already sold to the Tippling club even before I went, cos of the rave reviews online by some enthusiastic bloggers. Damn. Shouldn't have read such rave reviews - the whole dining experience was bleagggggh!The soup comes in a conical flask, and is poured over freeze dried foie gras. Boring as it sounds, I think I like my foie gras as it is, not freeze dried with viral wart treatment. There's also some onions and mushroom paste (which looks exactly like chestnut puree). Of which, you have to stir up to get your normal mushroom soup. The foiegras taste is completely lost. And all that remains is the little bits of black truffles.
The end result was a luke-warm watery and thin soup. I take all my liquids either hot or cold, but not in between. Unless I'm absolutely dying from thirst. Luke-warm soup = yucks.
Smoked Salmon caesar salad
The salmon was ok, portion was small. The salmon looks almost raw - not an issue with me since my favourite salmon dish is sashimi. Unlike commercial smoked salmon, this one isn't overly salted (I don't think it's salted at all) and was extremely tender.
The brown stuff's dehydrated bacon (crispy, extremely salty and hard). Caesar salad dressing was good. Mashed potato was so-so. Actually, it's closer to a 3.5 leaf garnish than salad. Unless you're subsisting on a diet of one lettuce leaf (and diet coke) per day diet.
White wine that was included in the set lunch.
The brown crumbly stuff reminds me vaguely of Ritz Cheese crackers. As much as I like goats cheese, the Goats cheese was soso. The dark red film thing didn't taste of anything - just a bit plastic-ky. I don't know if it's supposed to be beetroot or what. It looks like the Uncle Toby's fruit film, just that it doesn't taste of anything.
The deconstructed chocolate tart 2009 was pretty good. Probably the best part of the meal. Luckily ice decided to order it or we'd be both stuck with with ritz bitz crackers and cheese. It comes with white chocolate ice cream and 'thickened milk' (which just tastes like cream).
This pict is for people who hate tiny portions - it's not that tiny, just that the plate is uber huge.
The last straw from the waiter came in the form of petit fours, when we refused coffee/tea (what for pay so much for a cup of tea - I don't even take my tea with milk or sugar). When the waiter served petit fours, he cockily told us that the petit fours go brilliantly with coffee/tea but since we didn't want to order it, they will just give it to us.

These ang-moh-philic attitude - completely not worth patronizing. Skip it - there are so many other place with more professional service.
Though the bill came in a cute little wooden box, with dried spices, the whole dining experience just left us fuming.

Tippling Club is stuck in the neo-colonial era where your order of precidence is
1. Caucasian
2. Local girl with Caucasian boyfriend
3. Animal
4. Normal Singaporean

So much for "fine dining without the snobbery". For those ppl who are too busy to click the link, the essence of it is here : What are Clift's hopes for The Tippling Bar? 'It's fine dining without the snobbery,' he says. 'We're trying to make fine-dining fun, so the food will also be 'interactive'. Food is about enjoyment, having fun and being pleasantly surprised.'

I was suprised alright, by the incredibly shitty service and unamazing food.

You can read more about our shitty dining experience at ice's blog. She summed it up much better than I did!

The Tippling Club
8D Dempsey Road
Tel: 6475


iso said...

agree!! i went there for dinner (for a hen night) and felt it was totally not worth it, although their cocktails are very strong.
i do agree that the place is good for interaction, cos everyone will be saying things like "WTF is this?!" heh.
but i rather go to iggy's - at least they treat you nicely there.

m said...

hello iso - lol gd for interaction indeed. Hope they treated you all better than they treated us! I'd go to Iggy's anytime! Wasted my 57 bucks here :(

Benn said...

Forget what colour your skin is... we had a completely ordinary experience here as well. Unfortunate and horribly expensive for said experience.

Anonymous said...

I'm a local industry person and a regular of Tippling Club. It's a pity you only saw the lunch menu, there is so much more at dinner. We have always been treated like royalty so these reviews are surprising. We read today that they just got voted the best in Asia by Appetite Magazine 2009.I guess they must be doing something right huh ?

m said...

Hello Local Industry Person, I am so glad that you are treated like a royality but since they don't treat the rest of us like that, you don't have to worry about having competition for dining places there since i'm not going anywhere near that place.

Anonymous said...

I'm from australia and have heard about tippling clubs reputation so i decided to check it out. My family and I all loved the experience, being in hospitality myself the waiter and I helped my family through the cocktail menu and every level of drinker was accommodated. They have just released a new cocktail menu which is fantastic and way ahead of its time and the food there was amazing.