Never go to Oyster Bar, Collyer Quay

September 09, 2010

Just heard of my friend's dining experience at the Oyster Bar at Customs House, Collyer Quay. She wrote a review of it on hungrygowhere.com, and here I repost the story in full. (also available as a Facebook note.)

"World's WORST service"

While I agree that the service from the waiters was good, the attitude of the Italian boss (presumably) was definitely on the other end of the spectrum.

The evening went pretty well - the food was good, the wine was acceptable. Until I found two flies in my wine glass, small ones but flies nonetheless. When the Italian boss walked by, I pointed out the flies casually to him.

"Look, there are insects in my glass", I said. Instead of being apologetic and offering to change my glass, the man responded with a stunner. "Well, I can't control where the flies want to go. Maybe they are attracted by your lipstick."

BTW, I don't wear lipstick but that's besides the point. I replied fine and left it at that. However, when we asked for the bill, we requested that the service charge be removed because the service really left much to be desired. The waiter said that service charge cannot be waived, which is completely ludicrous.

The Italian boss then came over and questioned why we did not want to pay service charge. When I explained (in a very calm manner) that I didn't think his attitude previously was acceptable, he became rather aggressive and said once again that he cannot control where bugs fly. By this time, I had enough of his brash behaviour and asked him why he was being so hostile when all we wanted was to remove the service charge. His response was this: "Oh now I have to apologise for being myself?"

We repeated many times that we just wanted was to pay for the food and wine (plus GST), but then he decided that he didn't want to do our business anymore and said,"You don't have to pay for the meal; I thank you for coming and I thank you for not coming ever again. Please leave my restaurant right now."

Not wanting to argue with him, we tried to pay once again but got rejected with this classy remark,"No, you don't have to pay. This is how I show my gratitude to you, for the flies and for never coming back." At which point, we left.

Needless to say, this is one restaurant I am never patronising again.


When she told me about this i was just shocked. How can anybody in the Food and Beverage line be so obnoxious and rude? Imagine you as the patron, getting such attitude for no rhyme nor reason, in a not-so-cheap restaurant too. You would expect perhaps the wine glass to be changed, or an apology or free dessert/glass of wine, and it is perfectly reasonable not to pay service charge because the "service" is a snotty reply! Just because you are Italian, or the manager/owner of a higher-end restaurant does NOT give you the right to chase anyone out for no valid reasons. And my friend was not even asking for free food -- the dining party of four is willing to pay for the meals (incl GST). The whole point of having an additional service charge is so that in cases like this (!!) you can actually not pay the service charge, or a sensible restaurant would waive it automatically for you.

What separates a restaurant with average food would be things like the service provided, and the entire dining experience. That is why some people pay through their nose to eat at expensive restaurants that sell mediocre food. Word of mouth travels. and indeed, here it will too.

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