Good and Bad in New Restaurant
Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – We went to a new restaurant Saturday night and I had high hopes for the food. The owner was a motorcyclist who had travelled the world, and his claim to fame was riding from Alaska to the very tip of South America.
The eatery was decorated with real motorcycles of all sorts and shapes. There was a racing car on the back wall. The floor had been cut out and racing helmets were displayed underfoot under glass. A real sense of visual excitement. There were about four or five televisions, one huge one that covered one wall, floor to ceiling. They played racing films, or maybe they were live, I wasn't sure.
I think the owner had in mind a biker bar. You know, those types where upper middle class to very rich bikers came in for a several brews and talked about their riding experiences. They would zero in on loud bikes and have dinner talking in masculine tones while their testosterone levels levelled out. There was also a large breakfast menu, I guess to get the bikers fueled before a days ride.
But it was not to be. There were all families dining. The kids were running around and hopping on motorcycles knocking over the signs that said "do not ride, display only." They jumped on each of the bikes while their mothers took pictures with their iPhones. Little kids, just walking age, were enthralled with the floor displays as they looked down through the glass. The problem with this scenario was there was no kids menu, and I don't think there was meant to be one.
The help needed more training, especially with reservation system. On our first night they said they only had one table while the rest were reserved with plastic signs on them. We took about 1.5 hours to eat and they were turning people away saying they were full. Nobody came in and the reservation tables stood empty the entire time. The problem was they were turning diners away.
The next Saturday we invited our friends to join us. I walked there to make reservations for 6 P.M. and they said they were full. I knew that couldn't be possible. I said I wanted that table, the only large one, for 6 P.M. They said they were full. I finally got the phone to the manager, and he said to come on. We arrived there and our table was ready and there were also several vacant tables. They stayed vacant during our entire eating experience.
Our first night I had a chicken chop which is the leg meat pounded into a flat cake-like affair and fried. It included a tiny salad, a small amount of fries. It was delicious with none of the bones usually associated with the chop. But the salad, oh, the salad! It was laced with honey mustard dressing and one mouthful I got was beyond compare. You see, we don't get salad here mainly because one eats it raw, not cooked and the bacteria tend to congregate on the leavers. Well, I won't go into details. Also it is not grown here. Suriani, my wife, had fish and chips, which she said was moist and good.
The next time we arrived we had the meat platter. It consisted of a steak, lamb chop, sausage and a chicken chop. The meat was about 2 cm thick, but it was meat. I took one bite and it was sweet. Not normal sweet but sickeningly sweet. I nearly cried.
Yes, I am used to the meat we have in Montana, but who in their right mind would add sugar to beef? I managed to choke it down. The lamb was the same way. The chicken chop and the sausage, a hot dog, was the only edible thing on the platter.
The mouth full of salad was good, just like before, but I had such high hopes for the restaurant, too. I didn't say anything to my guests, but I noticed my wife's friend had a hard time with her duck. But kids, oh, the kids had fun with the motorcycles.
Later, I asked my wife if she liked her meat and she said there was too much Coke. I looked at her quizzically. "Why didn't you stop drinking the Coke," I asked. "No,” she answered." they tenderized the meat by soaking it in Coke." The meat here is usually very tough and I was wondering how they got the meat so tender. Now I knew.
My western dining experience was a shambles, but the kids, they certainly enjoyed themselves!
...Life is good. . . . .