[Food Review] Kings Banana Leaf Restaurant: A Complete Mess

While the rest of Singapore would rave on about the likes of Gandhis, Gayathri's and Samy's, those of us who live near the Capital of Singapore*, Bukit Panjang, as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods of Teck Whye, Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok, Hill View and Upper Bukit Timah, we had our own pride and joy: Karu's Banana Leaf. Imagine our shock when this esteemed institution vacated from its premises late last year.

Although it moved to its new location only about 8km down the road and still  is located at Bukit Timah, it was a world away and would never be the same. When the old outlet was taken over by another Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant, I had to check it out. For one, it had a bold name, suggesting that it was better than all the other banana leaf restaurants.

Well, what it was, was a complete mess. Imagine a kingdom without a King, you can possibly imagine chaos, breakdown of law and order, multiple people taking charge. That was the scene at King's Banana Leaf. It was pretty much, the blind leading the blind.

There was no system. Food orders were late. Every other time, an item that was prepared from the kitchen would take a tour from table to table because  the waiters had no idea which table to go to. Customers who realised this and decided to sort it out resulted in one of them being a chaperon near the Food Counter to tell them what's left in their order. The other customers simply just waited and got frustrated.

In the 2 hours I was there with my parents, almost every customer who was settling the bill at the counter had an issue, to a point  my parents had already warned me when it was my turn to double check my bill. Even they  had noticed. True enough, there were additional items in our bill. 

The restaurant was just so noisy. The staff were yelling at each other. It was just a complete ruckus and unsuitable to enjoy a meal.  Speaking of the food, I have no complains. The lime juice failed though. But neither can I also say that it was out of the world. A banana leaf meal, to me, is just more than just food. It represents our culture. Plus, service is dharma. At King's, it just felt mechanical. There was no heart in it. I always enjoyed my visits to an Indian establishment where the experience is just different. Its in our culture where your guests are equivalent to God. 

When I go to my favourite South Indian Restaurant, "ARASU" at Chander Road, I never fail to leave with my stomach and my heart filled. They take great pride with their food and they want you to savour it as well.

To be honest, I cannot blame the staff at King's. Having been in the line, I know how difficult it is to find good staff. The staff at Kings have the one thing that is impossible to train: A Positive Attitude. But, they lacked training completely, which is not unusual in Indian restaurants. Nobody sees the need for training, development and service. Heck, some of them do not even understand what ambience and  dining experience means.

Verdict: 2 Stars / 5 Stars

Has the potential. But Kings need to act fast. It would not take long for someone to drive a little further and go back to Karu's, which is currently located right next to  King Albert Park Mrt Station. 
*Bukit Panjang is described as the Capital of Singapore due to the writer's partiality and love for the place. Until and unless the writer becomes the Prime Minister of Singapore, such an assertion will forever be  an opinion.

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