We don’t serve plain water, only the fancy kind

1 Rochester
Maybe I can lick the dew off the leaves

OK, the waiter didn’t say that, but it means the same thing. And I’ve blogged about this before.

We were invited to birthday drinks on Saturday at 1 Rochester, hereinafter known as 1 Of The Places In Singapore That Will Not Serve You A Glass Of Water Gratis.

It is very humid in Singapore, and I think it gets worse at night, and I think it should be mandated that all al-fresco dining establishments must serve plain water, as it is known in Singapore, to diners who ask for it.

Not only does 1 Rochester not do that, their wait staff have also not been clearly instructed as to the policy of the management. One of their otherwise friendly and patient waiters apparently tells one of our parched friends that he’ll only get a glass of water gratis if he orders a main course.

So, not only did we order mains, we ordered a couple of fruit sodas as well, and when we asked if we could have a glass of water on the side as well, seeing as we’ve worked up a bit of sweat trying to will a vacant parking lot to appear in the car park whose gantry still lifts up when the damn place is full, the waiter says, all sheepish like, that he is “sorry but we don’t serve plain water, would you like a bottle of San Pellegrino instead?”

So we explain that we were told that with an order of main course comes the privilege of having a glass of water. The hitherto friendly and sheepish waiter baulks and asks, “which waiter told you that?”, but as soon as he’s said that, probably realises that his tone of voice might earn him a rebuke or two, responds in what he probably thinks is a concession to really unreasonable customers, that, “alright I don’t know who told you that, but since you were told that, I will serve ice-water all round, but normally we don’t serve plain water”.

And so, drinks arrived, and we emptied our glasses of fancy sodas and plain water till our hearts’ content and our bladders’ capacity while wishing the birthday girl many happy returns, and grumbling about how it should be mandated that all al-fresco dining establishments must serve plain water, as it is known in Singapore, to diners who ask for it, because, come on, tap water doesn’t cost you much per glass.

When my main course was served, it was the wrong order, but you know, fuck it, it’s late and I really didn’t want to be made to feel as if I was the one that made the mistake.

One Rochester
1 Rochester Park
Singapore 139212 (map)
Tel: 6773 0070

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11 thoughts on “We don’t serve plain water, only the fancy kind”

  1. “Which waiter/waitress/receptionist/stewardess/salesman/hyderabad call centre operator told you that ?”

    The customer experience just goes down the s***hole when that question comes up, doesn't it ?

  2. Bottled water has become Public Enemy #2 here in Hong Kong (after plastic bags) because of the (1) carbon emissions from their shipment from their bottling source and (2) the non-biodegradable waste from the plastic bottles used for many of the brands.

    But some restaurants use the excuse of “old pipes” or “customers detecting funny taste” to weasel out of serving free tap water.

    Which makes me wonder what they make their soups and ice cubes out of … …

  3. This practice seems to getting more prevalent. I boycotted Bakerzin cos they also had a no-water policy, but now they have done a U-turn on this issue. Hope more F&B outlets will follow suit!

  4. I actually bitched about this policy in an online forum eons ago, about some rah-rah Italian restaurant that has since closed down. These days, I just make it a point to boycott such eateries. With so many choices available in Singapore, the smart consumer knows which places to support and which ones not to.

  5. That's true… it would have been even worst form if i got my guys to send the water to you from my side. hahaha

  6. this reminds me of that one time i was at drinks with E@L [update your blogroll, man :)]. except i wasn't having a drink because i was self-propelling myself that night. so i stuck to nibbles and then asked for the lifesaving liquid that springs from faucet rather than from spring. to which, of course, they said no, get the spring one not the sprung one, if you know what i mean. seven @%!(_^~ dollars for a 200ml bottle. i made noise but no use. ordered one anyway and by the time i opened the bottle and sniffed at it, it was gone. still thirsty (told you, self-propelling). then E@L has an idea:

    excuse me, do you serve tea?
    yes sir.
    is it the teabag type or teh tarik.
    teabag sir (simultaneously perplexed and snooty)
    and i can have as much hot water as i want?
    yes sir.
    ok, i want a pot of hot water please.
    what kind of tea sir?
    no just the hot water.
    uhh. ok sir.

    comes the hot water. next:

    hi
    yes sir
    bring me a bucket of ice please. and an empty glass if you would be so kind.
    right away sir.

    e@l turns around and beams at me with a knobby-so-dumb-ordered-$7-water look on his face. and there i was ready to barge into the kitchen and demand access to a tap.

  7. this reminds me of that one time i was at drinks with E@L [update your blogroll, man :)]. except i wasn't having a drink because i was self-propelling myself that night. so i stuck to nibbles and then asked for the lifesaving liquid that springs from faucet rather than from spring. to which, of course, they said no, get the spring one not the sprung one, if you know what i mean. seven @%!(_^~ dollars for a 200ml bottle. i made noise but no use. ordered one anyway and by the time i opened the bottle and sniffed at it, it was gone. still thirsty (told you, self-propelling). then E@L has an idea:

    excuse me, do you serve tea?
    yes sir.
    is it the teabag type or teh tarik.
    teabag sir (simultaneously perplexed and snooty)
    and i can have as much hot water as i want?
    yes sir.
    ok, i want a pot of hot water please.
    what kind of tea sir?
    no just the hot water.
    uhh. ok sir.

    comes the hot water. next:

    hi
    yes sir
    bring me a bucket of ice please. and an empty glass if you would be so kind.
    right away sir.

    e@l turns around and beams at me with a knobby-so-dumb-ordered-$7-water look on his face. and there i was ready to barge into the kitchen and demand access to a tap.

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