This is a community service message

RakuIf you happen to be in Holland Village and because you can’t decide what to eat, and stroll in to this Japanese Restaurant called Raku, please, walk out again unless money and quality of food is no matter to you.

I’m not saying that the service was bad or anything like that. But there are situations where even Going the Extra Mile for Service is not going to make anything worth $114 for two, and this is one of them. Not even the nice decor and quiet ambience is going to make up for the disappointing food.

First of all, a refreshing raw salad of cabbage leaves, radish, carrot and cucumber sticks was served as an appetizer. Then our order of Ikura Sashimi (Salmon Roe) was served and tasted like the stuff you can buy in supermarkets, which might have been alright with me if I had bought them in the supermarket myself for a lot less than $20.

Then came the $16 California Maki and the $20 tempura, the former being slathered with flying fish roe that tasted synthetic, and the latter being just a bit too oily.

But the killer had to be the Ocha (tea), which was probably made from teabags which had been left to steep too long, which would have been alright if I had bought the teabags from the supermarket and boiled the water myself, but for $6 a cup, no, no, no! To add insult to an injurious bill, the raw vegetable salad was not complimentary, but itemised as ‘Yasai Stick’ at $6, which is a bit like going to a karaoke place and being billed for the ‘compulsory’ fruit platter.

So, you heard it here (as well as here). Don’t go there. And no, I wasn’t grumpy before we dined there. I am now. We could’ve gone and had a real Nabe meal instead of this nabeh one.

Oh, wait. I’ve just been reminded that if you find the Ocha too exorbitantly priced, you can order a glass of warm water at a more reasonable $3 a glass, though we’re not sure if it’s free flow.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Japanese Sandman from the album “German Propaganda Swing Vol 1 1941-1942” by Charlie And His Orchestra of which I have the original CD.

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24 thoughts on “This is a community service message”

  1. So glad I didn’t make it to this place!

    Holland Village seems to have gone even more upmarket in the last year or two (I had to drag Tezza away from that Aesop shop haha). Still, I found a really good laundromat and Aunty in Block 15(?) just across the big carpark – thought I’d mention that just in case you can’t be bothered walking and want to drive to Holland Village to get your clothes cleaned …

    Apologies for not getting in touch directly on my recent Singapore trip but the time went by quicker than usual and I think you were in Shanghai (nice photos) for much of the same period. Maybe next time.

  2. So glad I didn’t make it to this place!

    Holland Village seems to have gone even more upmarket in the last year or two (I had to drag Tezza away from that Aesop shop haha). Still, I found a really good laundromat and Aunty in Block 15(?) just across the big carpark – thought I’d mention that just in case you can’t be bothered walking and want to drive to Holland Village to get your clothes cleaned …

    Apologies for not getting in touch directly on my recent Singapore trip but the time went by quicker than usual and I think you were in Shanghai (nice photos) for much of the same period. Maybe next time.

  3. Wah, heng man!

    We were going to try the place out next Sunday. You just may have saved me my year end bonus!

    Thanks for the P S message. Keep them coming.

    By the way, wanna share an appalling Christmas campaign. Click here:-http://nalineebarrett.blogspot.com/2006/12/little-knowledge-is-dangerous-thing.html

  4. Wah, heng man!

    We were going to try the place out next Sunday. You just may have saved me my year end bonus!

    Thanks for the P S message. Keep them coming.

    By the way, wanna share an appalling Christmas campaign. Click here:-http://nalineebarrett.blogspot.com/2006/12/little-knowledge-is-dangerous-thing.html

  5. I had the same meal couple of weeks back. Totally different experience though. I thought the food was pretty good. And they let me have free samples of the raw beef.

  6. I had the same meal couple of weeks back. Totally different experience though. I thought the food was pretty good. And they let me have free samples of the raw beef.

  7. i found the place really enchanting when i went there with my hubby. perhaps if you had been nicer to the staff? Waiters and servers are human too – we had a great time.

  8. i found the place really enchanting when i went there with my hubby. perhaps if you had been nicer to the staff? Waiters and servers are human too – we had a great time.

  9. Thanks. Won’t go there! One of the things I hate is paying XXX money on bad food. There are really a lot of GOOD food going for just under $5.

    Just went to Sushi Tei at Serangoon Gardens. My favourite affordable Jap restaurant. Ordered a $28 crab but taste fishy. One customer complained and the counter girl checked with me how I find the crab when I pay the bill. I told her it is bad and she took it off my bill. That’s $88.80 to $54.65 I think. I typed these figures just in case some one needs numbers for 4D.

  10. Thanks. Won’t go there! One of the things I hate is paying XXX money on bad food. There are really a lot of GOOD food going for just under $5.

    Just went to Sushi Tei at Serangoon Gardens. My favourite affordable Jap restaurant. Ordered a $28 crab but taste fishy. One customer complained and the counter girl checked with me how I find the crab when I pay the bill. I told her it is bad and she took it off my bill. That’s $88.80 to $54.65 I think. I typed these figures just in case some one needs numbers for 4D.

  11. Oi Uncle, dun say until liddat lor. The executive chef, Peter is a really nice chap. As are some of the waiters. Price is a bit steep unless you know what you’re ordering – but when you do, you get stuff at a level beyond what you pay for.

    The thing about Raku is that the counter service is superior, as are some of the dishes – however, you won’t get to know them until you take the time to sit at the bar counter and ask Peter what’s up fresh and good.

    I do agree with you that some of the dishes are very average – do as I do, avoid them, or don’t take anything without recommendation. Two things at Raku stand out – the yakimono grilled items and the sashimi and sushi.

    The Chirashi Zushi is superb and fresh, with variety. It’s better than Yoshida, Akashi and higher quality than Botan at far east square. For one thing the Dashimaki Tamago is the most heavenly thing on earth. Peter makes them himself with real pride. If Naomi or yourself cook, he’s also a good person to get recipes from.

    And, with prices what they are, I don’t drink anything except the non-alcoholic stuff at Raku ($10 a glass – mid priced for a japanese restaurant). All in all, i end up quite happy, paying the same price you do.

    Hope this helps you give it another chance.

    PS. My first visit was like that. Indifferent food, indifferent service, expensive. The trick is, get to know Peter.

  12. Oi Uncle, dun say until liddat lor. The executive chef, Peter is a really nice chap. As are some of the waiters. Price is a bit steep unless you know what you’re ordering – but when you do, you get stuff at a level beyond what you pay for.

    The thing about Raku is that the counter service is superior, as are some of the dishes – however, you won’t get to know them until you take the time to sit at the bar counter and ask Peter what’s up fresh and good.

    I do agree with you that some of the dishes are very average – do as I do, avoid them, or don’t take anything without recommendation. Two things at Raku stand out – the yakimono grilled items and the sashimi and sushi.

    The Chirashi Zushi is superb and fresh, with variety. It’s better than Yoshida, Akashi and higher quality than Botan at far east square. For one thing the Dashimaki Tamago is the most heavenly thing on earth. Peter makes them himself with real pride. If Naomi or yourself cook, he’s also a good person to get recipes from.

    And, with prices what they are, I don’t drink anything except the non-alcoholic stuff at Raku ($10 a glass – mid priced for a japanese restaurant). All in all, i end up quite happy, paying the same price you do.

    Hope this helps you give it another chance.

    PS. My first visit was like that. Indifferent food, indifferent service, expensive. The trick is, get to know Peter.

  13. so, to get a good experience at Raku, you got to know the Exec Chef? it doesn’t make sense right… Imagine Bill Gates saying, “to get the superior software you’re supposed to receive for paying through your nose, please try to get to know me first.”

    Anyways, I think Miyagi’s issue wasn’t with the service – he very clearly said that there wasn’t problem with the service, but the food. I don’t think the prices will be an issue if the food is worth it. It doesn’t even has to be fantastic I think, just worth the price one forks out for.

    Since cowboy says he had it once (and he doesn’t know Peter), perhaps they are sometimes good and sometimes bad? Inconsistent goodness? Don’t know if that’s better than just being lousy though.

    I do wanna try it for myself, so why not you intro peter to me? =)

  14. so, to get a good experience at Raku, you got to know the Exec Chef? it doesn’t make sense right… Imagine Bill Gates saying, “to get the superior software you’re supposed to receive for paying through your nose, please try to get to know me first.”

    Anyways, I think Miyagi’s issue wasn’t with the service – he very clearly said that there wasn’t problem with the service, but the food. I don’t think the prices will be an issue if the food is worth it. It doesn’t even has to be fantastic I think, just worth the price one forks out for.

    Since cowboy says he had it once (and he doesn’t know Peter), perhaps they are sometimes good and sometimes bad? Inconsistent goodness? Don’t know if that’s better than just being lousy though.

    I do wanna try it for myself, so why not you intro peter to me? =)

  15. To get what you pay for at a Japanese restaurant that’s worth it’s price – you always have to get to know the chef at the sushi counter (usually the boss man executive chef).

    He’ll tell you what takes pride of place at the restaurant and whatever else is just filler.

    So, just go and sit at the counter and talk to Peter as you order the entrees. That’s the way it’s usually done.

  16. To get what you pay for at a Japanese restaurant that’s worth it’s price – you always have to get to know the chef at the sushi counter (usually the boss man executive chef).

    He’ll tell you what takes pride of place at the restaurant and whatever else is just filler.

    So, just go and sit at the counter and talk to Peter as you order the entrees. That’s the way it’s usually done.

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