*UPDATE: We’ve been informed that there’s been a management change since our last review. We’ll likely conduct a full review soon. Till then, this article might not be indicative of the current experience. #justsaying *
One day a year, we get to show the most special and beautiful person in our lives how amazing they actually are. On Mother’s Day, all we want is for every mom to be treated as a queen. That’s exactly what I wanted for my mom to feel when we decided to take her and my in-laws to Oxwell & Co. on Ann Siang Hill. Unfortunately, we got the exact opposite.
Upon entering the restaurant, we loved the decor. Having been there previously I knew that they have a few rooms that are available for small parties. We were seated on the second floor, which is not as well decorated as the rest of the restaurant, but still quite comfortable.
Unfortunately, the decor was the best part of our experience. Upon being seated, we decided to order a nice bottle of red wine. Shortly after, the waitress proceeded to spill the said wine on my new shirt. Normally it’s not a big deal, it was an accident, but the waitress acted like nothing had happened. When told what she had done she just shrugged it off without even so much as offering an apology.
When I asked her for club soda or tonic water, she told me they didn’t have any. I was quite stunned at that. I then asked if she could ask someone else to help her get it. She went to the back and asked another staff, came back shortly after and informed that they have no such thing.
Now, one of the reason’s we took my mother there is because we love gin and tonic. Oxwell and Co. is famous for their gin and tonic. Obviously the staff is either not properly trained or just lazy. How can a place famous for their gin and tonic have staff that tell customers that they don’t have club soda or tonic water? So I told the staff to check with the bar. Sure enough, they brought me what I needed a few minutes later.
A famous saying I will always remember is “you eat with your eyes”. Unfortunately for us, there wasn’t much to see when our mains arrived. They were haphazardly thrown on a plate with nothing to look at. The burgers we ordered were supposed to be ‘medium’. When they reached our mouths our taste buds were in for a rude awakening as the sensation they received were neither tasty nor expected. We were treated to a patty that was deceptively dark on the outside, while completely raw on the inside.
As my mom is new to ‘fine dining’ she was horrified by what she tasted. Her exact words were “I could have saved you $30 and eaten better at McDonald’s”. This rang true for the rest of the mains as well. The steaks we ordered were burnt on the outside, and needed to be smothered in English mustard to mask the overwhelming taste of burnt remnants of what we believe to be meat. As the fish was drier then the Mojave dessert, my wife opted to go home hungry rather than suffer through a few more bites.
The only saving grace was the Ox Cheek. While it was literally just thrown on a plate with some vegetables and not much to look at, it was cooked to perfection. It was succulent, sweet, a melt in your mouth kind of goodness that you want never to end.
We found ourselves literally fighting over the Ox cheek as everyone had given up on their own mains. Still hungry we tried to order another serving of the Brussels sprouts to share, which were actually quite good, only to be told by our waitress that the kitchen had closed and they would not make any more… at 8:15pm?
We decided to order a few cappuccinos and some dessert, to try and put a nice end to our meal. However, the apple crumble was unavailable and all the coffee machines and equipment had been shutdown and cleaned already. What kind of a restaurant shuts off all its equipment and has it cleaned by 8:15pm while there are still diners eating at their tables, let alone on a Mother’s Day? And haven’t they heard of a call for last orders?
I decided to write an email explaining what happened to the management about our experience and how we hoped that they would address the matter. To my surprise I received an email response the next morning…
The management were very apologetic about what happened and offered to replace my shirt. and invited us back for another meal on them. There has to be something said for management that responds to any emails in general, let alone to a complaint with such haste and politeness. It was quite refreshing actually.
Reluctantly, we decided to give it another shot and returned a few days later. Unfortunately my Father and Mother-in-law had such a bad experience, they declined the offer.
The first thing we noticed was that there was a beautiful young lady waiting to greet us as we entered the restaurant and led us to our table. She was not just polite but genuinely nice as she took our order and made recommendations. It was a completely different experience right from the beginning.
As we were all quite afraid to stray from what we knew was good, all but two of us ordered the Ox cheek. The rest ordered the steak which is meant for 2-3 people and shared it. For appetizers, we started out with some oysters. They were fresh and sweet to the taste which was a wonderful addition to the meal.
The Ox cheek was once again beautifully cooked and we enjoyed every bite. Fortunately, the shared steak was cooked exactly how it was asked for, medium. We received a nice dark, slightly crunchy exterior, with a warm pink center. The brussel sprouts were once again very tasty and the bacon that is cooked with them was very nice as well.
Having had a bad experience previously with red wine, we opted to have the house gin and tonic instead. It was the best decision we ever made. Every sip of this mystical concoction instantly transported me back to a time of speakeasy’s and elegance only reminiscent of having a drink during the roaring 20’s.
The beautiful mix of the house brewed gin and tonic not only quenched our thirst, but had us longing for one more glass to lengthen our time traveling expedition to a time when drinking was literally just about having fun. This time around were able to get our cappuccino’s at the end of our meal.
The best part about this visit had to be the person serving us. She was very attentive and made us enjoy our dinner. Never did we need to ask for a thing or have to wait too long. Everything that went wrong the first time was done well the second visit. If the first waitress we had would have been (or done) the same, our first experience would have been much different. Full marks for service recovery.
However the answer to one question eludes me… which is the real Oxwell & Co.?