Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Review: Whitebait and Kale

The main problem with the restaurant industry is one of consistency. The only way to keep your customers coming back, rain or shine, is to provide them with consistent, unshakeable standards of service and food.

Of course, affordable prices are a prerequisite, but once you've established a loyal clientele, they'll come even if your prices are high as long as they think they're getting good value for their money.

The issue, of course, is that it's very difficult for restaurants to provide such constant quality. Freshness and availability of food is not always assured, and chefs and waiters are apt to leave as and when the fancy strikes them.

Take, for instance, Whitebait and Kale, a fairly new restaurant at Camden Medical Centre on Orchard Boulevard.

When I first went there two years ago, I was so pleased to have found it. I thought it was so fantastic that I gave it full marks for everything, which, on hindsight, was probably a little too generous.

However, a year later, I had to very regrettably reappraise my initial evaluation when I was presented with shoddy service and equally shoddy food. It was all very depressing.

On my first visit, I had a mushroom and chestnut soup ($10) which was memorable but overpriced for the size of the portion.

The sirloin steak ($28) was good too, it was tender and came with a very interesting beetroot concasse that complemented the taste of the steak, but on my second visit it had suddenly become very dry and tasteless.

I can't remember what happened to the dessert, chocolate fudge with vanilla ice cream ($8), on my second trip there, but it couldn't have been very good.

Quite possibly the only decent thing about the restaurant now is their gourmet section which sells interesting products like Za'atar spice mixes and sumac, which I have yet to find elsewhere. Not cheap, though.

This entry is rather vague because it was an early review, and I haven't been back in quite a long time. Anyone willing to try their luck can fill me in on the results.

Whitebait and Kale (Australian, seafood)
One Orchard Boulevard, Camden Centre #01-01
Tel: 6333 8697
Location: 4/5
Service: 2/5
Ambience: 5/5
Food: 2/5
Overall: Go at your own risk

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