A Peck of Pink Pepper’s Not My Pick

What would matter most to you when dining out? For some it would be how delicious the food is or the uniqueness of a particular restaurant’s offering. For others it would be the ambience, the cleanliness of the place or the attention given to the interior decorations. To many people, no matter how excellent the food is or how nice the restaurant looks, if the service is bad, that becomes the dealbreaker. Actually, it may be a combination of some of these.

Yesterday at SM Mall of Asia, with the wide selection of restaurants available, my companion and I had difficulty choosing were to dine. Some of the restaurants we have tried before, some were also available in others malls. A lot more were new to us. One thing that drives me nuts about the person I was with was he wouldn’t pick the restaurant and leave me to do it. But if he doesn’t like the one I choose he’d have a lot to say about it.

Having heard about Pink Pepper, I decided to give it a shot. The menu has requisite offering for appetizers, soup, salad, pasta and entrees. They have chicken, steaks and seafood. The beverage list was quite extensive.

However…

We had my baby with us and their only high chair was already in use at another table. This made it very difficult for us to control my energetic and incorrigible tot who tried to grab everything that was on the table – the bottles of wine, the dining utensils, the glasses of water, and, of course, the food. To give our designated waiter due credit, he volunteered to remove the wine bottles. When our orders took quite long, he gave us feedback that one of them was on its way.

But…

When we placed our orders, they were not repeated, resulting to a mismatch. Gambas were served instead of the gambas salad we ordered. Since the orders were long in coming, they tried to rush serving the gambas but when these came, the prawns were very tough, not thoroughly cooked. The mixed seafood platter we ordered was just so-so, nothing spectacular about it. A lot of opportunity is wasted here since the prawns (they were too large to be shrimp) were very plump. At Dampa, they can cook seafood so deliciously but the quality of the shrimp or prawns doesn’t come close.

My companion was already hungry when we got there and he noticed that customers who arrived after us were served first. At that early stage, he remarked we should have eaten at Italianni’s instead. At least he got to have a complimentary glass of wine with a generous serving (which was also being offered by nearby restaurants, including Italianni’s). We were at least pleasantly surprised that our bill was less than we expected. This would have redeemed Pink Pepper in our esteem were it not for the succeeding small incident or non-incident.

For the finishing touch, as we were leaving the place, my companion was carrying the baby and he had to hold the door open for me as I was pushing the stroller in full view of a Pink Pepper staff who’s either the hostess or receptionist. She didn’t lift a finger to help us with the door and she didn’t even bother to move to give us wider space to maneuver.

Pink Pepper dealbreaker? Rhymes, doesn’t it?

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