We had long awaited the opening of the new Thai / Vietnamese place that replaced the original failed "Pearl Castle" bubble tea and Taiwanese meal place (The Pearl's former owners spent loads of $$ to set up the place, but seemed to forget that this is PoCo).
First impressions: nice decor with Thai artifacts scattered throughout. Pleasant greeting from hostess, who seated us promptly and gently placed a expensive looking bound menu as we seated - she placed mine upside down in front of me.
The prices seem fair for the type of restaurant they seem to be emulating, classy yet not casual, but yet not fine dining. Time to order. There was a minor discussion amongst two wait staff at our tableside concerning who was to wait on our table - they are assigned tables. We ordered the stuffed chicken wings with butter sauce as appetizer and two curries, one of which was the duck curry described on the menu as a house specialty. The waitperson asked if we wanted the wings as appetizer first, so we answered yes.
Moments later, we noticed that we had not specified the level of spiciness (1, 2 or 3 pepper levels in the menu, we wanted level 2 ), so we flagged down our waitperson, only to be told that the spice levels could not be specified, that they were "set!?" We thought this very curious.
The beef curry dish was delivered in short order, but not before another discussion amongst the waiters whether it was for our table or not (we weren't sure ourselves as it seemed rather fast and the appetizer had not arrived as first as requested). As it turned out, it was the beef curry dish we ordered, but it was lukewarm, the beef extremely dry and the potatoes chunks in the curry were raw! We told the floor manager about the lukewarm dry beef and raw potatoes. He apologized and suggested we could order something else. So we ordered curried lamb.
The appetizer wings came out. They were simply plain deep fried wings, apparently marinated only in salt. At the centre of the plate was a dish of sweet chili chicken sauce, the bottled type, intended for dipping. There was not a shred of the pork and vegetable stuffing as stated on the menu and - the butter sauce?
My duck curry was temperature hot and had a reasonable amount of boneless duck pieces, but I could not find a single piece of pineapple - the menu description stated that the it was cooked with lichees and pineapples. Cherry tomatoes were apparently an acceptable substitute for pineapple?
The replacement curry was also temperature hot, but the boiled lamb pieces appeared to have simply been placed in the curry sauce while raw and allowed to cook along with it. The lamb showed no browning from being stir fried or pan fried which would have given it extra flavour.
My companion, who uses fish sauce in her home cooking, thought that the kitchen seemed have forgotten to add fish sauce to their dishes. We both thought that it was unforgivable that the menu describes one thing and what comes out is another. We were both disappointed.