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25 years - A Pictorial Celebration

amaroo

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We had a late booking, fair enough it's a popular restaurant and we don't mind eating late. But I did request a decent table and made mention of the special occasion we were celebrating. Anyway, we were seated at a dud table and asked if we were celebrating anything.... not the best start.

Given it was a late booking and there were free tables throughout the restaurant, I thought bugger this! I politely asked to be moved to a different table which we were. That's when the attitude of the staff changed..... or maybe that's just how it is with gratuity-free restaurants in the States. Have never had a good experience with GF restaurants.

On the night we didn't get a menu I could photo, however they do give you these to take home with you along with jars of their granola, and other tidbits. Bit like their own 11MP showbag.

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Given there is lots of things happening during the course of the meal - I'll post the menu, wine and food in order of service.

We ordered a pre-dinner glass of Champagne.... just happened to be the same one scheduled for the first course. The sommelier only noticed after the pour, apologised, and poured another when the 1st course arrived.

Plate #1

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Mixed as per instructions

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Plate #2

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Bad luck with your start. We were there to celebrate Master FM’s birthday and had mentioned that in the confirmation email. They made a point of asking who was the birthday person when we arrived and a number of staff wished him happy birthday. We found service excellent from start to finish - just luck of the draw I guess.
 

amaroo

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Around this time one of the hosts must have overheard us talking or just picked up the vibe from the table. She asked if there was anything wrong...

Basically, we were enjoying the food and wine, but some of the staff were displaying skills more in-tune with what you might expect at the corner deli. Since she asked, I told her about the general attitude after we requested to sit at another table, minimal engagement, no explanation of each course / wine, and the general disappointment of being asked if we were celebrating anything after going to the trouble of telling the restaurant this weeks ago.

She appeared shocked, surprised and disappointed - all at once. After some discussion / explanation she apologised and left us to continue the meal. I was going to say something at the end of the meal ... but given the interest, I thought why not now! I was polite. calm, and went out of my way to praise one particular waiter that was the total opposite to his peers ..... believe it or not, she said he was new and still in training.

So another nail in the gratuity-free concept, the older more experienced ones couldn't give a rats / slack attitude, the new blood not having served sufficient time to be adjusted / lose interest provided the best service.
 

amaroo

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Bad luck with your start. We were there to celebrate Master FM’s birthday and had mentioned that in the confirmation email. They made a point of asking who was the birthday person when we arrived and a number of staff wished him happy birthday. We found service excellent from start to finish - just luck of the draw I guess.
There really shouldn't be a draw at this level. But, you are right about luck. The recovery from the EMP team was pretty bloody impressive...
 

amaroo

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At this point of the night a lady appeared at our table, introduced herself and went on to explain that the host had informed her of our issues, that she had reviewed our booking, spoke to staff and understood our disappointment. She made a point to mention that no staff had complained to her about our attitude, and we were polite and civil at all times. I got the impression this was not always the case.

After all of that, we were invited to take a look around the kitchen. It's not everyday you get to see the kitchen of the best restaurant in the world!

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Where we were served plate #7

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NoName

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Do these “no tipping” places increase their prices and pass on to the wait staff so that they end up making the same amount? Or do the staff just miss out?

Oh, and the food looks incredible! We can always count on you to give us something to drool over @amaroo !
 

RooFlyer

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went out of my way to praise one particular waiter that was the total opposite to his peers ..... believe it or not, she said he was new and still in training.

So another nail in the gratuity-free concept, the older more experienced ones couldn't give a rats / slack attitude, the new blood not having served sufficient time to be adjusted / lose interest provided the best service.
That's shocking. I've had bad experiences at 'expensive' restaurants, but to have it happen at that level is really bad.
 

amaroo

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Back at the table - Plate #8 was served

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Yep, that's a 375ml bottle of Krug opened just for us ..... for this one course. Pretty sure that's not normally on the pairing menu! I was beginning to think I was at 30,000 feet :) Yes, they did leave it on the table:p

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Do these “no tipping” places increase their prices and pass on to the wait staff so that they end up making the same amount? Or do the staff just miss out?

Oh, and the food looks incredible! We can always count on you to give us something to drool over @amaroo !
The price includes the gratuity which is passed onto the staff. I really enjoyed not having to worry about a tip and a large number of different people served you - no having to wait until “your” waiter was ready.

the service we had at EMP when we went there in May was amazingly good, although as Amaroo said there shouldn’t be bad patches at a restaurant at that level.
 
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NoName

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The price includes the gratuity which is passed onto the staff. I really enjoyed not having to worry about a tip and a large number of different people served you - no having to wait until “your” waiter was ready.

the service we had at EMP when we went there in May was amazingly good, although as Amaroo said there shouldn’t be bad patches at a restaurant at that level.

Makes me wonder why staff wouldn’t like it then if they are effectively making the same amount? It’s a shame if some staff wouldn’t put their best effort in.

Agree re: not having to worry about the tip. A much better way to do it!
 

amaroo

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Now this was very very special !!! I've eaten at many 3* restaurants, and have opened and seen other people open countless bottles .... this was a first for me.

Port Tongs - EMP really know how to do service recovery!

Here's a short EMP video explaining the process

Here's the real thing with a 750ml 1997 Château d'Yquem. Yes, they destroyed the bottle, decanted the whole bottle and very politely said - it's all yours!

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Makes me wonder why staff wouldn’t like it then if they are effectively making the same amount? It’s a shame if some staff wouldn’t put their best effort in.

Agree re: not having to worry about the tip. A much better way to do it!
I think Amaroo just had a bad experience - it happens (even if it shouldn’t). We found the service consistently professional and we were impressed with things like none of our choices were recorded and there were 4 of us with some courses having 4 choices. Everything was delivered correctly and to the right person - amazingly smooth and very friendly throughout.
 

amaroo

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Plate #9 .... my selection

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Plate #9 .... mrsamaroo's selection

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Plate #10 .... we were a spent force. This one went home with us in the showbag.

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However, we did enjoy this one....

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EMP hot waxed and logo stamped the bottle

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and, hot waxed the bottle / cork,

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and, stamped it with their logo, and presented it in a bedazzled glass box.

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That's what I call a service recovery!!!!
 

Matt_01

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I think Amaroo just had a bad experience - it happens (even if it shouldn’t)..........
Totally agree, a bad experience can happen on a tier 1 airline in F or at 5 star hotels. There is nothing I have read in @amaroo post that will stop me making a booking at EMP. OT we are still trying to work out how to get 2 seats at Jiro, I am hoping that the Conrad Concierge will sort that out.
 
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