You know sometimes, when you least expect a place to be special, the food to be marvelous, and the service to be impeccable, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover a hidden gem, unearthed for all to savour and share its glory?
Freshly-opened for business a day before ... David's Diner, a restaurant serving "TRUELY AMERICAN FOOD".... or so they claim.
But inevitably, or in reciprocal, when you put too much hope in an eatery, brimming with fresh concept and spanking menu, you're bound to be slightly, or sorely disappointed. One time or the other. Sigh .....
The ambience sets the mood for a no-frills, American fare commonly seen in diners in the movies, complete with mirrors and artificial bricks on the wall. But of course, Kimball sauces instead of Heinz or a good ol smoky BBQ sauce was a thorn in the flesh ...?
Recently opened ... in fact, they started business yesterday, David's Diner managed to grab our attention with its cool signboard, proudly proclaiming their brand of "True American food." And when we went for another round of Nasi Vanggey yesterday for lunch, we realised David's Diner was opened for business, and offering FREE breakfast on opening day. Shucks ... we missed. But pledging to come one day, we succeeded in doing so today.
The place was rather packed during lunch, a positive sign of good things to come? The owner is an Indian guy,married to an American lady, and both returned to Malaysia to open this outlet. With so much American influence, one can't help but anticipate in glee for some good ol' American fare.
But sadly, that was not the case. First off, the service was horrendous. Only 2 waiters managing the lunch crowd, plus the countless amateurish mistakes made by those newcomers had some other patrons raging in their seats. And the half hour wait for our food was somewhat distressing, as one of us is strictly bound to the hospital's one hour break ruling.
Italian Chicken Burger Set (RM9.90)
But poor service can be easily forgiven, as staff training takes time, and customer service needs experience. We were not daunted by the many 'black faces' occupying the tables all around us, as I hoped (and prayed) that the food would somehow excelled in response to the shortcomings, proportionate to the longer-than-average wait.
But reality bit me in the a$$ ... HARD. Pricing-wise, all the items are reasonably-priced, with most burger sets below RM10, and the pasta, chops, Mexican Tacos and Burritos, etc will not burn a hole in the pocket. Most mains come with either a soup or a salad, and 2 side dishes of your choice. And credits must be given where they're due, the side dishes list is an honorable 15 items, at least. From the potatoes (mashed, fries, roasted and baked!) to the salads and soups, and mac+cheese and beans+franks, you'll have fun picking 2 of your preference.Meatball Spaghetti (RM13.90) with Salad and Garlic Bread
Nan's Italian Burger was a miniature version of TGIF's, or Chili's grander version. Even smaller than your average Big Mac or Whopper. OK, EVEN smaller than a McD's Chicken Burger. Seriously. But size does not matter, does it?
The meat patty (chicken or beef) was marinated well, fortunately, with hints of herbs and whatnots (I got a mere small sliver for sampling) and not too dry. But the accompanying buns were measly, generic burger buns WITHOUT toasted sesame that you can easily purchase in bulk from your favourite hypermarket. In short, a Ramlee burger type of buns. The crinkle-cut fries were NOT crispy, and slighty soft.
The spaghetti was far from al dente, soggy and drenched with tomato puree. The flavoursome meatballs and melted cheese saved the dish somewhat, yet the tough garlic bread was nothing amazing. (TallGal's comments, not mine as I sampled few strands of the pasta and sulked).Popcorn Shrimps (RM15.90)
Dipping the shrimp into the sour salad dressing for some taste .... Notice how small the shrimp is?
My Popcorn Shrimp (12 pcs of S-sized shrimps) came on a big platter. Mostly occupied by the baked potato and the salad. The 12 pcs of shrimps were sitting in one corner, battered and deep-fried. Yup, they were fresh and succulent, but this is NOT a good choice for big eaters, as you can basically finish all the shrimps in two spoonfuls.Baked Potato
Fortunately, for some carbo-boost, they have potatoes cooked in every way imaginable. I chose a baked one, and some roasted ones. Since their Macaroni and cheese was out-of-stock. Yup, heard that right. Only knew bout this AFTER I've finished my main.
The baked potato was served with very little sour cream, and the potato tasted mysteriously like sweet potato. The four of us could not intepret the REAL nature of the potato. Was it a sweet one? Or the usual one? Hmmm ....Italian Roasted Potatoes
As replacement for my initial order of Mac+Cheese, I picked the Italian roasted potatoes, as even the Mexican Rice was not served this afternoon. The roasted potatoes, lightly seasoned, were good. Though a bit over-carbo for lunch, I just munched my way through it all.
And ended up feeling darn sleepy for the remaining 3 hours until the magical 5pm.
Will I return for another round of TRUELY AMERICAN FOOD? Hmmm .... Maybe sometime down the line. But not so soon, not before they sort out their teething problems, less-than-stellar service and quality of the food. And service charge's at 10%. Go on and have a try, I'd like to hear some comments from you guys.
Location : DAVID'S DINER @ B-G-1, Ground Floor, Greentown Square, Ipoh.