We like our “first” to be memorable. Our first plane ride, our first date, our first day at work… even our first taste of a foreign cuisine. When I chose to eat at Penang Hill at the Promenade in Greenhills over my daughters’ objections who wanted a repeat of our Teriyaki Boy dinner just a week earlier, my intention was to have a memorable “first”. Well, it wasn’t quite as successful as I would have wanted. Not that everything was bad. Some of the things we ordered were quite good, actually. But the overall dining experience left much to be desired.
Because it was our first time to dine at Penang Hill, we weren’t sure just how large the servings would be. So, after choosing two appetizers, a vegetable dish, a meat dish and rice, I told the waiter to leave one copy of the menu with us so I could browse through it and familiarize myself with the dishes. Just in case the servings are too small, we could place additional orders pronto.
Less than two minutes after placing our orders, someone tried to take the menu away. I said please leave it as we might want to order more. You’d think that made things clear but, no. A few minutes later, someone took the menu away even before I could open my mouth. The place wasn’t even half full. I’d understand that they needed every copy of the menu if the place was packed. But only three tables were occupied and there must have a been at least a dozen. Talk about customer service.
What about the food?
The samosas were okay. The dipping sauce was, in fact, very satisfactory.
The dumplings were good too.
The nonya fried rice was okay. Not extraordinarily good but it was okay.
The sambal kangkong was too salty for my taste but still good.
The braised beef brisket was… ahhhh, that was where everything went wrong. Fortunately for me, I don’t have false teeth. Otherwise, they might have flown off to the next table. It’s not that all the beef cubes were tough. Some were tender but the others were really bad. And that leads to only one conclusion. The beef in the pot did not come from the same piece of meat. Hence, the difference in quality. I don’t run a restaurant but even I know the risks of buying pre-cut meat. It is a rule of thumb in any good kitchen to cook a dish using meat from a single cut so that the tenderness is uniform.
To make a long story short, we won’t be going back to Penang Hill.