Friday, 16 December 2011
Manna Story (Korean), 68 Orchard Road, #B2-22 Plaza Singapura
I am now possibly an expert on all things Plaza Singapura. If I was into one of those 'check-in' things which awarded you stars or diamonds or something when you checked into a place and then opened up some door or something when you've been there enough times, I would've perhaps by now, owned the mall.
So it should be no surprise to you that I've perused every single menu there is on offer here, and with a lot of effort, have zoned in on which ones I like the look of.
We'd eaten here once before - sometime last week - and really enjoyed it, so after a whole afternoon of more Korean drama with my aunt (both of us sat on the couch, gripped to the storyline which we didn't quite understand but which fascinated us anyhow) I was in the mood for some Korean chow-down.
Most restaurants here have menus outside (just like in the UK) for customers to check out the stuff on offer (and most importantly, the price range) before deciding to go in or not.
This one goes one step further with neon signs.
The menu here is definitely not another big menu. Consisting mainly of pictures, and cute little drawings representing which animal you wanna chew on, this menu couldn't have been any more simple than it is.
So, with such an easy-to-use menu, featuring pictures of what you would be served, you would've thought that the diners wouldn't find it too difficult to order what they wanted to eat, right?
I have a story here which is probably not worth telling, but it irked me so much that all throughout the meal I was just twitching my fingers, wanting to tell someone off, but resisted. So I'll tell it here.
Anyway, so, a little background. As you can probably tell from the first picture above, space in this restaurant is tight. If you're dining with one other person, chances are you'll get seated in a single table located directly next to another single table (with so little room that you'd have to move the other table to get into your seat). Anyhow, I am completely fine with that concept - after all, you try to get as many customers in as you can, so no problems there.
However, this does mean that you're now privy to the entire conversation of your dining neighbours. Again, not much of a problem especially if the conversation is an interesting one.
Not so much.
Back to the story. So sitting next to us (on both sides) were 2 girls at each of the tables. The pair to my right got there after we'd ordered, and made an order of their own quite quickly. Then, our massive pot of a meal arrived (pictures below) followed by their meals.
Lady 1 - tucking into her noodles: "Eh? Why is this noodle cold? It's disgusting, why do they serve cold noodles?" --- Small point to note here, for you readers. She'd ordered the 'Cold Buckwheat Noodles'.
Her dining companion who probably knows how to read a little better said "Oh I've had this before, and yes they usually serve it cold."
Lady 1 again - possibly slightly embarrassed by her lack of ability to read - then asks the waiter to come over and ACTUALLY says "Hey, why didn't you tell me that this noodle would be served cold when I was ordering it? I don't like it, I don't like cold noodles. You should've said something when I was ordering it."
Baffling how sometimes the customer thinks they're always right. Even when they're so wrong. Even when the menu says 'Cold Buckwheat Noodles' and the picture shows no steam, and nothing to indicate that the word 'cold' was put there merely as a joke.
Not content with just blaming the waiter for not telling her that she might not like the food she decided to order, she then ordered some other noodle and proceeded to spend the entire meal doing a running commentary on ours.
Gems spouted included "Oh we should've ordered theirs" while peering across the table into ours.
"The waiter should've told us about the promotion (ours)" (re: neon sign by the entrance).
"Next time we're here, we're definitely ordering theirs. Wonder which one it is." Proceeds to open up the menu, turn around in her seat, and actually compare each picture on the menu to what we had on our table.
All this taking place about 10 inches from our seats.
Remember the other girls sitting to our left? Repeat scene above without the whole cold noodle bit.
Quick drink? Cute little cans at 120 calories a can. Pear-flavoured pop, it was.
This was a side dish from the back section of the menu which I decided to order but I don't reckon I'll be ordering this again. Too little dressing, and a little too much raw carrots for my liking.
But you don't see me asking the waiter why this salad is all veg, do you?
Because that would've been a stupid thing to do, that's why.
Banchan (side dishes)
Oh how I love free banchan!
Clockwise, from top-left: Beansprouts, crunchy sweet anchovies, kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) and stewed sweet potatoes
This is the first place where I've tried the stewed sweet potatoes (which I assumed were picked radish aka Chinese-style). The sweet anchovies were also similar to what we usually have our Chinese rice-porridge with. Beansprouts were nice, but could've been better if they'd used the big-headed beansprouts instead but that might be a cost or supply issue thing.
Spicy chicken in hotpot (Tak toritang?) Around S$14.80 per person
The promotion meant we could order 3 additional toppings instead of the original 2. Any other addition on top of that is charged at S$2 per topping. We chose glass noodles, rice cakes and squid.
Look at that food mountain that arrived at the table. No wonder the other diners decided to watch us while they were eating.
Taste -wise, it was very good. Very well-flavoured and definitely no where as spicy as it might look. The chicken remained very tender, and the vegetables surprisingly crunchy even as it was bubbling away in the pot. Overall, I enjoyed this very much.
These pictures were taken at half-hour intervals, and as you can see, we didn't do that well in finishing the dish. It seemed like a never-ending pot - we picked and picked and picked at it, but it was still there. Deciding to maybe take on the chicken first, we continued on paving our way through the pot but it was still there. We then moved on to the vegetables, by then feeling quite full - but the mountain remained. I don't know how this is a portion for 2.
So, if you're around Plaza Singapura, are feeling hungry and up for a challenge, perhaps you'd like to sit next to those 2 tables and explain to them how a menu works.