Sunday, March 1, 2009

FGY Art Gallery Temple takes a dive, or: Where is my laksa?

It is with a heart heavy with sorrow that I write these words. When a restaurant that I hold deep, warm affection and mushiness for makes schtoopid, schtoopid changes, I weep.

Dear old FGY Temple, your mock meat dishes were outshone only by the warm glow of your kumquat tea. Although previous visits left room for improvement, there was much to be encouraged about and I really did love your little bento boxes with their pumpkin cakes. On a later, unreported visit with Buzz, he had a very commendable laksa while I had mockporky noodles. You were doin’ ok, kid.

So why did you do it? Why did you take a scythe to your menu and remove
anything that didn’t fit the following algorithm:
Noodles (flat rice, Hokkien / otherwise unspecified) + vegetables (stewed veg / bean shoot / carrot and bean shoot) + [(mock pork) / (Tom Yum)] = total boredom.
To the unmathematical, this means that FGY now offers dishes that are Hokkien or flat rice noodle (or just noodle) – there is only one rice dish and no laksa or bento – and all the noodle dishes are stewed veg, or mock pork (no more the mock Haikkenese chicken) and beanshoots and carrot if you’re lucky.

Buzz and I, maddened by hunger, ordered the same noodle dish in the hope that it would be speedier. By the time our entrĂ©e arrived – a very creditable and fresh vegetable dumpling platter with a tasty light soy and sesame oil dipping sauce – we had already drawn all over the (tri-fold, paper – no longer vivid pictures on durable laminate) menu to distract ourselves.

By the time the mains arrived, thankfully on the larger side, we were so hungry that we didn’t even notice that they had brought us the wrong thing … or did they? So hard to tell with a menu of infinitesimal difference (we could tell though, because we ordered flat rice noodle and got plain round rice).

And then we were charged $5 more than what we ordered. $34.80 for two plates of noodles, one juice and one entree is absurd.

So here is the mystery. If you were going to reduce your menu as it was too large, would you reduce it to items that are statistically insignificant from each other? Would you remove all items that couldn’t be scooped out of a pre-prepared stockpot? And would you continue to run such a drastically reduced level of staffing that you had one floor waiter, one seating/bar waiter, and one order-taking waiter? During lunch rush hour? Or would you self-destruct in thirty seconds?

I love the idea of FGY. I love the art gallery, the spiritual space, the kumquat tea, the nuns, and I really loved the Lazy Susans. But until such time as they restore their menu to at least a semblance of something worth reading, I won’t be trekking up to Queen Street. Even for kumquat tea.

1 comment:

kristy said...

Noooooooooooooooo not the bentos. I loved the bentos!