We had dinner recently at Equinox Restaurant; a restaurant situated at the top of the Swissotel with perhaps the best view of downtown Singapore. The view alone is second to none. Sadly, the same can't be said of the food which is mediocre at best and terribly overpriced for the quality of what you get.
I guess a major clue as to how the evening was about to go was right in front of us when we sat down; there were no tablecloths. Yes, for a place that charges high prices for food and brings the food out from the kitchen on nice shiny trays, they didn't even have tablecloths and its not like the tables were anything fancy to start with with some artsy or decorated tops; they are just plain black tops. Maybe it's a minimalist look they are going for. Whatever.
It is worth noting the experience with Equinox when making the reservation; and the person I got wasn't the brightest crayon in the box. Upon reconfirming the reservation the day of the dinner I was met with an equally incompetent member of staff who couldn't tell the difference between the word 'confirming' and 'canceling'. Checking in at the lobby of the hotel before taking the lift up, we were met with another member of staff who was just as incompetent trying to find our reservation and couldn't tell the difference between names - no, my name isn't Anthony or John, not even remotely close! I already told you what it was! Strike three.
We were seated just near the window (I was told it cost extra to sit AT a window table). The menu looked decent, but pricey. We have no problem paying for quality, gourmet food of a high calibre. But I DO have a problem paying for wannabe gourmet food quality at high prices. Sadly this is how I would classify the food at Equinox. The food isn't BAD per say, but it isn't anything I'd rave about to friends and certainly not worth what they charge.
The bread was tasty to begin the meal. We both ordered soup to start. My girlfriend had the cauliflower soup and I had the lobster bisque. Lobster bisque was OK; it had a heavy seafood stock flavor which was sort of to be expected. The cauliflower soup my girlfriend had was decent but I've had soup out of a can that tastes as good if not better than that and at S$22 a bowl, the price isn't close to being worth it. The icing on the cake for this course was that it took about 15-20 minutes to show up but the saving grace was our server was at least very proactive in telling us of the delay and she is honestly the only reason I am not giving this a 2 out of 5 rating, she was actually pretty good.
Our next dish was the scallops appetizer we decided to split. What a disaster. First, they took the dish to the table next to us. Our server swooped in and properly corrected the mistake by the other member of staff. But in all honesty, I wish she had let the other table have the scallops. What a disaster the scallops were. I took one bite and realized "gee these taste raw" and promptly discovered severely UNDERCOOKED scallops that were also incredibly UNDER-SEASONED and lukewarm, and quite paltry in size. Worst scallops I've ever had. We quickly sent the dish back. 10-15 minutes later, the dish returned with better cooked scallops but again, it lacked the necessary seasoning. Very bland taste wise. Does the chef on duty know how to cook scallops? By now, we had been seated for about an hour. The service here is terribly slow.
Our main dish and entre for the evening was a Dover Sole that was for two that we split (that costs S$180!). This was the best dish all evening. Fish was cooked nicely, the capers and butter that accompanied it along with the lemon was a nice touch to add flavor, but again, the fish needed to be seasoned slightly more when cooked. The only thing I didn't care for was an incredibly bland rocket salad on the side that just seemed to be 'there' for the sake of adding some color to the plate. We also got some 'chips' that were just bland and lacked any seasoning whatsoever.
We did order dessert, some pear dish with a pana cotta and sorbet. We wished we hadn't as it was just pretty blah. Nothing terribly imaginative or wow-able about the dish and the pears tasted like they came out of a can.
We were ready to get out of there at that point.
Like I previously said, the server we had was actually pretty good. She was pro-active in checking in on us but wasn't overly intrusive and given the previous three people I had to deal with regarding the reservation/confirming my reservation/checking-in, she was significantly better.
The food on the other hand is mediocre and NOT WORTH THE PRICES THEY CHARGE! There are countless other restaurants in Singapore, some with pretty good views too, that have roughly the same prices but significantly higher quality food.
We don't see ourselves returning to Equinox anytime soon, but at least the view was nice.
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