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Motormouth From Ipoh

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sky Corner @ Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh - The Hype That Was NOT Justified

With hype, comes expectations. With expectations set "SKY" high, eventually the hopes and dreams come crashing down. To the ground, and then some. Welcome to the REAL world.

Sushi King-cum-MP Steamboat?

Heavy publicity surrounding the recently opened SKY Corner at Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh ignited the interests of many (judging from the crowd yesterday evening), and sparked some hopes, as it was clearly stated in the flyers and a HUGE signboard opposite of Jusco, the ZERO price promotion (a brush off Air Asia's fame, perhaps?). What I had was a vague idea on the cuisine they serve, which was supposed to be Japanese and Chinese style steamboat, and teppanyaki (Japanese hot plate) soon to be added into the menu.

Choose to dine by the kaiten belt indoors, OR outdoors ~ al fresco style

Arriving at around 7pm on a Saturday, the place was rather crowded. As there were only two of us, we chose to sit on the outside, the weather being cooling after the heavy rain. But the staff ushering the patrons persuaded us to sit INSIDE instead, as the place is air-conditioned. OK, fine. Only to discover that each long table can accomodate up to 6 customers or more, with 3 hollow indents in the middle, obviously to fit 3 hot pots for steamboat.

One glance at the conveyor belt revealed their main attraction - The steamboat meal. Exactly how MP Steamboat (a popular branch of steamboat restaurants in Ipoh) serves them, on a kaiten belt, so you can choose your own ingredients from the comfort of your seats. But unlike MP where you can pick what you want and pay for only those, at SKY Corner, the theme is BUFFET-style steamboat, meaning eat-all-you-can. And we were startled at the price per person, a whopping RM29.80+ per pax !!!!!!!!!

You see, paying that much amount of money can net you large prawns or crabs in a seafood restaurants, or even in other steamboat outlets in Ipoh, you can stuff yourself silly for around RM20/pax only. Though at Sky Corner, you can choose from their erm, "extensive" range of sushi, and temaki, (14 types of sushi, and 10 types of rolls, more on that later) prepared fresh on the spot. Gee, how exciting.

I managed to survey the items on the conveyor belt thoroughly, and the choices was nothing to shout about. Though listed in the menu were 62 items, but the only noteworthy ones on the belt being slices of beef/fish/chicken, 'abalone' slices, tiny crabs, and small prawns. And the usual balls, vegetables, mushrooms, and yong tau foo.

The freshly, AND took-forever-to-prepare sushi

So we did the next best thing, and asked for ala carte dishes, in hopes of bento sets, teppanyaki, or even a simple plate of fried rice. Tough luck, we had. It seems they opened in such a rush, that the ONLY meal they serve for the time being is the buffet steamboat, and sushi/temaki at a promo price of RM3.50 per plate. Though deep in our hearts, we wanted to leave the place, but we soldiered on and ordered some sushi instead. And twiddled out thumbs. And then more twiddling ....

Until another waitress had the audacity to "usher" us (or rather, "halau" us) from our seats, stating that if we're not having the buffet steamboat, and there were only two of us, we MUST sit outside at the smaller tables instead. This, after all the commotion and trouble they went to arrange our cutleries and plates to accomodate our sushi orders. Reasons given? Oh, the staff who took our orders was a "NEW" staff, and she did not know about this hidden rule. Yeah right, the place was opened for less than a week or two, tell me who's the "OLD" staff then?

Still, as she was being apologetic, we concurred and moved as ordered, with tails between our legs. And then the wait for the sushi became relentless. Time was crawling by, and when I queried about the long wait, the waitress mentioned that there were only TWO chef manning the sushi counter, thus the wait may be longer. OK, fine. But one glance at the workers, all decked up in uniforms resembling Air Asia's colours, and you'd be forgiven if you wanna smack a staff or two. There were around 20 staff handling the place, and only TWO handling the sushi counter? The others were practically standing around, ushering people, rushing to customers once they arrived in hopes of attracting more and more ...

As for the food, forgettable. Though I admit the sushi and temaki were of better quality than Sushi King's (then again, since when Sushi King serves GOOD sushi?) One major gripe was the soy sauce provided was not of the Japanese shoyu variety, but the local one meant for steamboat. This rendered the dipping sauce saltier than desired, and the wasabi was SHOCKINGLY TASTELESS !!! I scooped a spoonful into my mouth, and yet my eyes did not water. Huh? I like mine hot, please!

Total damage for two = RM25, drinks are free-flow, and FOC, fortunately. But the overall experience was more damaging to the souls, rather than the palate. Still that virginal visit provided us with much laughter and a lesson to be learnt - Do Not Believe The Hype Blindly. And the management of Sky Corner should buck up in terms of customer service. You are charging 5% Service Charge, after all.

Location : Sky Corner @ 46, Jalan Medan Ipoh 5, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, 31400 Ipoh. Tel : 05-5452623.

24 comments:

Penang Tua Pui said...

Yucks...

that's the worst part.. put up so much hype .. *pi ling pa lang* (sounds of rumbling gongs to make loud noise) but end up the expectations did not meet the standards...

Some more, being given a chase around to go inside and outside, we would have left the place long time ago or at least make the noise to get free foodies!!

looked like the opening was indeed in a rush and everything seemed kelam kabut... but since they had just opened for two weeks.. hopefully, they can take some cues and learn the lesson to improve ... else it's going to be tough surviving there....

Apa boleh cakap? Wish them all the best lor...

JENCOOKS said...

Manager not good enough that's the trouble; he must have an eye for such things big or small not just the crowd.

Empty vessels only.

genuiness said...

Oh dear.. you seem to have had quite a bad week with food. First capri then this mickey mouse steamboat.

I really don't understand why some business open up with half the stuff not available on the menu and poorly trained staff. *shakes head* Maybe all owners should watch Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares before they open up. (by the by its a good watch esp if you like to see the horrors of a restaurant - youtube it)

Best steamboat aka Ta Pin Lo is still in HK! :D

SuwEi said...

Luckily we didn't go there that afternoon. Thx to time warper who says that it's closed.:P

FCOE said...

hmm what can i say...i agree with sw...feel like thanking time warper for looking at the wrong restaurant and saying it was closed!
i just hope these ppl will improve coz there are so many restaurants like this one in Ipoh...god bless them..

KeepCharmingAlwiz~~ said...

haha... yeah~~~ luckily it was closed tat afternoon... if not, will b another 'bak lou shu'... hehe... nxt time muz survey 1st b4 trying something new.. learn frm the lesson?? =P
thanks TimE Warper~~~ ;)

mycroft said...

sounds like bad exp, prob better choice is still MP since they open new branch (or not so new? not sure, cause only manage to find the place last week) somewhere behind Tesco/ JJ... modest dinner steamboat wont cost tat much.

J2Kfm said...

penang tua pui : I'm sure for the first few months or so, business wil pick up. but until they add other items to the menu, and offer ala carte dishes, I'm not going to return.

jencooks : true, on that day, everyone's wearing red caps with red shirts, all decked up like Air Asia's staff.

genuiness : mickey mouse steamboat? hahaha ... HK steamboat nice ah? ok ok, will take note.

tall gal, FCOE and KCA : haha, bet Time Warper's gloating with glory now. thanks to him too, else all of us would be sitting ducks, ready to be shot at. but they offer set lunches though.

mycroft : the MP at bandar baru medan Ipoh is rather new, opened since last month or so. but kaiten belt style, like the one in Parade. not my favourite.

genuiness said...

HK steamboat is the best la! Is the ORIGINAL steamboat mah! Same like Milk Tea, Wan tan mee and Roast Goose!

One of the more popular one's a chain called Little Sheep (Siu Fei Yong) - famed for its lamb which is so fresh you could eat it raw, sashimi/tartare style, if you want to. I know the do promotions from time to time - last time I went they had half price off loads of items after 9 pm (same with Dim sum btw... go for late dim sum ie after 11 for half price)
http://www.littlesheephotpot.com/

I know there are a few other hot pots which are very good - gf mentioned that there is one in New Territories near her place.

wmw said...

I see that you like it hot! Hahaha....You and your wasabi that is!

CK Lam said...

Sad to hear about your outing ...customers never like encountering this type of situation. Hope they will improve.

jason said...

MP upgraded to kaiten belt style? Then again, I never like to go to MP except the cafe at Greentown Business centre.

CUMI & CIKI said...

looks really cool. Ipoh is blosoming into a place for not just hawker food, but also fine dining .. yay! my hometown!

PureGlutton said...

Sounds like a sad and frustrating meal. It's a wonder how some establishments would put up so much hype and then can't deliver... tsk tsk!

Hulk said...

Know why I like this block. I read review b4 I step in the eatery. This I'm gonna avoid. Anyway...I see nothing special about it's theme on Jap's steambot while serving normal plates of local offerings.
BTW..the owner venture into Cyber cafe outlet (Star) b4 deciding venturing into food business.
OK..my bet it will last 3 mths max.

Elinluv said...

0oohh..thanks for enlightening us . I dun think I will want to step in here.

I will be making a trip to Penang soon as the Piggies will be having their sem break..so hopefully can make it to the Tao Japanese Buffet-Auto City- Juru . Ur photos on Tao had made me salivate and lusting after it...so the Piggies might as well make a trip there...Hope I can find the place :)))))

Life for Beginners said...

Awww, shucks. Poor you. I know how it feels like cos I really detest poor customer service since it spoils the entire evening and one's meal too.

Better luck next time.

backstreetgluttons said...

hype appeals a lot to green-horns !

and kids

J2Kfm said...

genuiness : oh Siu Fei Yong, heard bout it from my fren. OK, will be sure to search for it. thanks!

wmw : oh, I like a LOT of things hot,btw. =P

CK Lam : yup, i'll be keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

jason : MP opened kaiten belt style steamboat in Ipoh Parade and near Waraku. but too gimmicky. still like buffet-style steamboat+BBQ.

cumi & ciki : fine dining? erm, far from it!!! but do come back for others ... :)

PureGlutton : yeahloh, all talk no action. maybe still too green lah ...

Hulk : thanks for the support! you've been one of the most loyal-est reader! =P

Elinluv : I probably would, IF they change their menu or offers more. do visit their website at www.tao-cuisine.com for more info and reservations.

Life for beginners : yeah, but I'm a patient one. hehe ... I'd have my meal, then only throw tantrums.

BSG : hey! I'm no KIDS! =P but there are lots of families dining there.

man looi said...

Hai, this shop looks very nice and fantastic,one day to come, I am going to bring my whole family to test the fantastic foods but then one comment, please, hope this guy of this shop could kindly help up. The small road at the back is for use for cars, lorries and ect for customers, business ppls and for public too. Can you please look into this matters, that your staff used to put the plate and kitchen ware at the entrance of this road, and also your car jammed up when ppls need to use this road. This road should clear it up so that everybody can use it. Eventhough it is a small back road, but then it is convenience for ppls who are using it for the purpose doing business, way to disco.....china box (previously) VIP, and also for the guess who wanted to use to drive to the shop for foods and etc. I hope that the ppls who incharge of this shop could kindly look into this matters for convenience used of everybody over here. Thanks for your co-operation

J2Kfm said...

man looi, that's some rants there! :) but I got you.

bringing ur family over? hmm, hope the steamboat meal satisfy you then. cz the service sure sucked, BIG time for me.

Anonymous said...

One was polite but service of the other two attendants was rude...

The menu showed RM 2 difference for early bird and it was applicable every day.

Half way eating, one of the attendant came and told us the early bird offer was not applicable on weekend.

They should have amended the menu or at least informed the customers early...

Even air-cond, there was flies in the restaurant

J2Kfm said...

Anonymous : hi there. less than satisfying dining experience I assume? yeah, they could've informed beforehand.

Anonymous said...

Yes. The attitude of the staff and the way the business was run spoilt all the appetite.

I have taken photograph of the menu showing the early bird promotion was valid for every day, except holiday and eve.

Wish to share here but I don't think blogspot allows visitors to post photo file here...