Verdict: $300 meal not worth money

This is the continuation of the earlier post of July 30 (below)

Let me first deconstruct the tasting menu designed specially for us:

  • angel-hair pasta with caviar in truffle oil
  • scallop sashimi
  • lobster Provencal with pilaf rice
  • suckling pig
  • kobe beef or kurobuta pork
  • apple tart with ice-cream
  • coffee or tea
  • wine
  • still mineral water for two

Five of us were billed $250 per pax by Gunther’s for the tasting menu while one was billed $200, the difference presumably because five took the Kobe beef whereas I opted for kurobuta pork.

After wine, mineral water, service charge and GST,we paid a total of $1,810 for six pax. Since five of us played host, we each forked out $362, or abt $300 per pax.

For a price-tag that’s almost as much as what Singaporeans on public assistance get per month ($330 for singles), Gunther’s is certainly not value for money and as one respondent to Chubby Hubby’s post on his experience at the restaurant put it:

It was a pretty decent meal l had but there was nothing so outstanding that I’m gagging to go back. Wine drinkers might like to know that the wine list is astronomically overpriced – $38++ for a glass of house red is outrageous!

I won’t describe our bill as outrageous but I would go a little into details on some of the items where I could find prices on Gunther’s online menu and then let visitors to this blog decide for themselves.

Take the angel hair pasta: it costs $60 (be4 service n GST) on the a la carte menu. It also forms part of the basic 5-course (before coffee or tea) tasting menu going at $128++.

I’m sure the portion we were given wasn’t from the a la carte menu but if the $128++ angel hair and caviar is any smaller than what we were served it would have to be served in a soup spoon, rather than a plate!

The apple tart with ice-cream is priced at $15++ a la carte and not available on the basic tasting menu. So I guess ours must have been the a la carte version.

Then, there’s my pork kurobuta: there’s a full price version on a la carte at $38++. If what I got was the full-price version, I will give it an F. The paper-thin (and paper dry) slices I had were nothing to write home about. I left two of the pasta shells, and the birthday boy after spearing one, decided to give the remaining one a miss. ’nuff said!

Using my $200 tasting menu (with pork) and the others tasting menu with beef at $250, would suggest that the kobe beef item costs $88 as a main in the tasting menu. Is that a bargain or wot?

One in my party wrote to me of his experience at that dinner: “Like all good ingredients, little seasoning beyond salt and peeper are required. Problem with the thin piece of kobe at gunther’s that evening was that it was overseasoned – maybe to mask the lack of freshness or perhaps to give its customers a sense of value for money that the chef has to work for it.”

As it was, one of  the girls in the party left her beef half eaten, perhaps because of the excellent bread rolls we had stuffed outselves with as well as the other starters. Anyway, no amount of persuasion, including how costly that leftover might be (we didn’t know the exact hit at that point) could make her take another morsel. 

We continued to press home the point about how pricey that meat was (we really had no inkling how pricey then) so she agreed to ask for the left over to be tar-paued. Although Mr Spritely was none too pleased, he managed to camoulflage it. It was the same when the “free” birthday cake (enough for each of us to have a morsel) was similarly asked to be packed for take-away.

Indeed, the two good things abt Gunthers are its excellent chewy bread rolls and the light banter from Mr Spritely whose levity remained on the right side of being a service staff. But then at $300 per head, I guess he had no reason to be “jahat” in the same way that foodcourt aunties at the fruit juice machines have a tendency to be.

I couldn’t work out, even ball-park, how the other dishes were priced but however they were priced, they must have been in the $20 to $40 range, with wine (about one-third of a goblet glass, with no refill) probably around $40 per glass.

But what I can work out is that 12 of us (my monthly lunch group) had a three-course lunch plus coffee and a $38 bottle of wine at the American Club’s Presidential Room today and it cost us $278 in total. And the service was friendly, discreet; every course was beautifully displayed on the plate. What spoiled things a little was that all the bread rolls were soft ones!

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