Monday, November 25, 2013

The Epilogue - Calling it even at The Pen

I felt obliged to share what happened after our dinner at Gaddi’s last month. Two days after my rant about the poor service we received at the restaurant – a fully justifiable one, I must reiterate – I received an email of apology from The Pen people, acknowledging the issues we have complained about as gracefully as I could imagine, and they even offered to make it up with another dinner at the restaurant. 

While I appreciate their taking the time to read and write back, I did ponder how to respond, specifically debating whether to accept their more-than-kind gesture. On one hand I felt this was totally unnecessary, and I don’t wanna be seen as an opportunist taking advantage of our own misfortune. But on the other hand, I would hate to leave this episode on a sour note on either side forever. After all while I think it’s been a terrible experience, it’s not something unforgivable.

So at the end I decided to take up their offer with the hope of moving on, but I did propose that something simpler be arranged at Chesa instead, as I think that would be something more appropriate and more comfortable for us to accept. So after a few email exchanges later, we fixed it on one Saturday evening in November, in between my business trips. 

We adore Chesa not only for its food but for its excellent service and overall dining experience. Siu Ping – the manager of the restaurant for as long as we could remember – always took best care of his customers, no matter who you are and no matter what occasion you come for. There's no surprise that their tables were also the hardest to book especially on weekends.

As we arrived for our dinner reservation and settled down over a glass of champagne, we left it to Siu Ping to decide on our menu, and he suggested we went with a few dishes from the main menu, and a few more from the seasonal menu to share, so we got a bit of everything. 

We started off with the signature dish of Raclette du Valais. It’s something we order almost every time we were here, and we never got tired of it, as we picked up the melted and slightly charred cheese with the mashed new potatoes with our fork. It’s followed by the crepes of shredded crab meat with lobster-Armagnac cappuccino, another signature dish of the restaurant. It’s just of the perfect combination of flavors.

During fall season the restaurant is running a special promotion on chestnuts, and we had a couple dishes from the seasonal menu too. Following the raclette and crepes, our third appetizer was the pan-seared scallops with creamy chestnut sauce. The scallops were not of the biggest type but it’s plump and moist and perfectly cooked. Our main dish was milk-fed veal tenderloin served with its own jus, with a side of Brussels sprouts, pickled cabbage and chestnut bits. The veal meat was a bit tough – with the typical firmness of game meat but not particularly hard to chew – and it came with an intense flavor and enhanced by the jus reduction.

We finished our meal with a tarte tatin dessert and a glass of the famous Peninsula hot chocolate made with melted Toblerone bar. Situation like this could be a bit awkward but the staff did make us feel welcomed and at ease, without being over-reaching, if you know what I meant. The restaurant was quite busy on a weekend evening but they did a great job taking care with everyone. 

At Chesa, we always expected a heart-warming and comfortable meal and we had exactly that. The restaurant may not wow you with spectacular food or innovative dishes, but it never disappoints either. I suppose with a meal like this let's call it even and move on.  

More photos on Flickr: 
This is actually the second visit to the restaurant this year - blog of the first visit during Chinese New Year is here.

When? November 16 2013
Where? Chesa, at The Peninsula Hong Kong
Drink? Champagne Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Brut 2004

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