Dean & Deluca (Orchard Central, Singapore) and Service
The attraction of the flagship Soho branch of Dean & Deluca was the atmosphere, said a dinner companion; tempting displays of supposedly gourmet food and incredible New York service. The Singapore branch (facebook. 4th floor, Orchard Central) was so cramped we could hear, quite distinctly, the private conversations on two neighbouring tables while we watched two waitresses/kitchen staff wander to-and-fro for the next few minutes trying to locate the rightful owners of the plates they were hefting.
Other than the food that was prepared/heated on the premises (pies, salads), Dean & Deluca played a curatorial function: a selection of imported cheese, an edited list of the best local breads, cakes, and pastries that fit D&D’s Noo Yawker image (from Baker & Cook, Maison Kayser), etc.
Our nicoise salad contained exactly three pieces of tuna and was decent. Despite the height-challenged buns, i liked the flavour and texture make-up of the burger. Roasted onion tomato relish was a tastier condiment to plain old Heinz tomato ketchup. Unfortunately, we had a female server/cashier who wasn’t at all pleased to be answering excited questions about the pastries, and some other people had a male server/cashier who didn’t bother to tell them, while they waited patiently in line, that the last order had already been taken even before 9pm. This did not encourage anyone to think that the experience was worth the premium prices.
The evening was salvaged, however, by the caucasian lady who appeared to be running the show. When we returned a faulty confection, she was not only apologetic even before verifying the alleged fault, readily acceding to our request for another cake, but also generous enough to throw in a second on the house. Teething problems for the rest perhaps and what a great help to the Singapore F&B industry if the waitstaff manage to learn the basic service principles from her. It’s not about giving free stuff but actually allowing customers to have the opportunity to enjoy, well, being served and being properly taken-care of.
The requirements for Christians are higher though. What’s expected isn’t just the fake smile and trained thoughtfulness before hiding behind the counter to bitch to friends on Facebook or Twitter but, just like Jesus’ own service standards, a willing sacrificial service, even for one’s enemies:
Jesus called them together and said,”You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
In the grocery section:
A good selection of products that we’ve usually had friends bring back from overseas grocery runs. Kitchen Language seems to have been a bit generous on the profit margins though.
Teas: Kusmi Tea, Mariage Freres (was available at Changi Terminal 3 for a brief period), Tipu’s Chai, Dean & Deluca House Brand
Coffees: Papa Palheta, Dean & Deluca House Brand
Coffee paraphernalia: Clever drippers, Chemexes
Variations on the themes of herbs and spices, olive oil, jam, preserved vegetables, salt, sugar.