When I signed up for the ThaiExpress Orange card last July on the spur of the moment after I was overwhelmed by the excellent service I received at the Thomson Plaza outlet, I wasn’t sure that I would get back my sign-on fee.
But as I wrote last August, after a couple weeks, I had more or less recovered the $30 I paid to become a member, via the vouchers that came with the membership and other dining rebates.
Of course, the rebates from one meal could be used to offset the cost of subsequent meals and therein lies the catch. One has to keep eating to redeem; if you don’t keep eating, the rebate is a write-off.
I don’t like that sort of arrangement but I got hooked by the good service, which alas hasn’t been uniformly replicated at the other branches I’ve visited in the course of the past 10 months.
Still, I ate at ThaiExpress outlets at least 6 or 7 times since signing up, which I probably won’t have done had I not been a member — because while the food served is decent enough, it isn’t of the same quality as what Tea Shake Hut aka Uncle’s Kitchen used to serve up, until quite recently.
By which I mean that none of ThaiExpress’ dishes has the quality that makes me salivate in recollection. I then crave to go back. And then rush back of cos!
With ThaiExpress, it’s o dear, I’ve got this amount of $ to redeem and since I don’t care where we eat today, why don’t we go eat TE?
Then recently I recalled two facts: I’ve got a voucher for a birthday gift from ThaiExpress, as part of the sign-up deal and there’s an outlet at the Paragon that I hadn’t tried be4.
So we went there last week, be4 the gift voucher expired.
The menu at Paragon appeared more extensive than other outlets tho I won’t swear that it really is. The ambience is a far cry from those outlets in the heartlands, especially the Tiong Baru branch which is always eerily empty during the times I was there. But service at Paragon no way matched what enticed me to go Orange in the first place.
The plus point for me is that the place was bustling. I always like well-patronised restaurants because that’s an indication that the food would be fresh, because with good business none is likely left to go sour or mouldy!
Verdict on Paragon outlet: food is fine but again not of the quality that magnetises me back. Still the ambience would ensure I would go back, some time, some day.
But the best part was the birthday present I was given.
It started with me feeling mightily disappointed to be told it’s a mug. I’ve got enough mugs to let me use one a day, without needing to re-use any for at least a fortnight.
However that disappointment changed to delighted surprise when it turned out not to be really a mug but one those European soup bowls with a handle that could be used in a number of ways besides drinking coffee or soup. I could eat soupy food from it, use it to eat salad, porridge or any one-dish meal.
My ThaiExpress membership like my birthday mug indeed runneth over. I like it so much that I’ve used it five times already and it’s barely one week since it came into my hands!