Location: IFC Mall
Type of food: afternoon tea
Rating: * (1 out of 5)
Rating: * (1 out of 5)
TWG opened three months ago at the IFC, after mall management kicked out Pacific Coffee to make room for the high brow Singaporean tea company. Since then, a day hasn’t gone by without a line forming outside the restaurant and blocking pedestrian traffic.
|TWG Tea Room at the IFC|
Afternoon tea starts at 3pm every day and I showed up 15 minutes early to get a table. There were two sets to choose from: “chic” and “fortune,” each cost roughly $250. My friend and I ordered one of each for variety and we had a choice of scone or cake. Since Oscar Wilde famously declared in his comedic play The Importance of Being Earnest that “cakes are rarely seen in the best houses nowadays,” I decided to have a scone instead. My less fashionable friend opted for cake and he walked to the pastry counter where they were six or seven different kinds to choose from. He pointed at one of them and asked the waitress what it was. She answered, “I don’t know, let’s skip that one.” It was an ominous start.
10 minutes later, the food and the tea came. On the lonely two-tier rack sat my scone and jam. Next to it was a green salad and two sandwich wedges. The scone was hard and flaky, and the sandwich was stale. I realized I had just spent $250 on cafeteria food. And the tea was equally disappointing, hardly “the finest in the world.” In honor of the British royal wedding last October, I picked the “Grand Wedding” blend but it tasted like it was straight from a supermarket tea bag. The tea itself was lukewarm and so the sugar wouldn’t dissolve. And when I asked for a refill – a standard request at afternoon tea – the waitress said, “Sorry, we don’t put tea leaves in the pot and so we can’t give you more tea. I can either bring you a glass of water or you can pay for another order of tea.” It was official: I had been duped!
But the nightmare continued. Perhaps because the restaurant was understaffed, our waiter plunked our orders down on the table and immediately walked away without a word about what any of the food was. A minute later, a different waiter brought us a plate of smoked salmon sandwich and left. Just when I was about to take a bite, he ran back to our table and said “oh, that’s not yours!” before taking it away. Meanwhile, the table next to us was having a huge argument with their waiter. The couple ordered a chicken sandwich from the a la carte menu and received something completely different. The waiter said, “The chicken is inside the sandwich. That’s why you can’t see it.” The couple ripped the sandwich open and, stealing a line from Jerry McGuire, demanded, “Show me the chicken!” It was then the waiter begrudgingly agreed to bring the wrong order back to the kitchen. “It’s ridiculous!” the frustrated customer turned to me and said. “Earlier we asked for tea recommendations and the waiter simply pointed at the most expensive ones on the menu!”
TWG Tea Room is a disaster. It is one of the worst restaurants I’ve been to in recent memory. The wait is long (which probably won’t last once its bad rap gets around), the food is bad and overpriced, and the service is atrocious. After my horrible experience, I talked to a few people who ate there and the bad review was unanimous. Unless and until their management wakes up and makes some fundamental changes, the restaurant is doomed to fail. In the meantime, if you desire proper afternoon tea, have it at the Four Seasons Lounge a short walk away.
|"Why did I bother...?"|