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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pollen @ Garden By the Bay

Oh, Pollen, Pollen...what can I say about you? You sound so exclusive for being the only restaurant inside the Flower Dome at Garden By the Bay. You sound so posh by having your name after the Michelin-starred restaurant of Jason Atherton. You sound so prestigious after the popularity of Jason reputation grew with success of opening his own restaurants in Singapore and UK.

So, I was so looking forward for this visit, made the reservation and came early even though only to be told, the buggy ride would start only at 5.45 pm since we wanna soaked in how the experience of enjoying the Flower Dome before our dinner.

We waited at the Pollen pick-up point at 5.45 pm but there was no sign of the buggy until 6 pm. Called up the restaurant at 6.10 pm and was told that they just brought guests to the restaurant earlier and would be on the way back. Wait a minute...What?..How can that be possible?...

As we asked the Information Counter about buggy ride to Pollen around 5 pm and was being told it only started at 5.45 pm, we were loitering around the area and stood exactly at 5.45 pm in front of the pick-up point signage, but never once caught a glimpse of any buggy ride. So, errrr, how could the staff told me the buggy just picked up passengers earlier??

Odd, and that should be the indication that there was something wrong with the service. Read before when it just opened that the service was quite bad and so not fine dining standard. That time, Pollen answer was due to staff shortage.

Now, I understand why there were a lot of mention that Pollen consisted of 2 floors, it was not being clearly stated on their website and many links. But the first floor that linked directly to the Flower Dome is a Bistro concept, and the second floor which has the main entrance after the buggy ride is for the fine dining area.

We were seated not next to the glass dome, I thought of asking if for a change but held my mind as I thought perhaps there was reserved. But the table next to the drink bar with staff passing by on my left side grew annoying. Our table could be moved more to my right side as there was ample of space but I guessed they didn't think of that. More annoyingly was the table next to glass dome remained unoccupied until we left. But, at that time, I really didn't bother.

The mains mainly consisted of fishes with option of John Dory, Red Snapper, Cod, Halibut and the other was Kurobuta Pork Belly and Squab Pigeon.

I do like my fish but for a fine dining, it seemed a bit too much, not to mention as the price was the same as having steak at other fine dining restaurant.

But I said to myself, this must be a different take of fish in a fine dining restaurant like Pollen, under Jason nonetheless.

Yes, the sauce combination was good but fishes were bit bland and no that exceptionally fantastic which I thought possibily made your jaw dropped.

Food aside, it wasn't too disappointing but the major upset was the staff. I felt, there was no designated staff to cover which area. A suit-up guy who attended to us earlier, was gone mid way. He came back to attend our dessert and when I asked more about recommendation, he suggested 3 items and not so good in elaborating it. We ordered 1 recommended one and one which was not. He came back with my order and the other dessert was a wrong one. When I asked, he said, he will bring me the other dessert without any apology!

He just gone and I saw him so busy attending other table, setting up this and that, brought up a big tray of dishes, etc. We were left for 5 minutes and was thinking of asking to cancel our 'correct' dessert and just took the wrongly delivered. Until I got attention of a lady staff whom quickly said apology and said to enjoy the wrongly delivered dessert as the correct one should be on the way. Less than 1 minutes, she came with our dessert.

The staff attention certainly on disarray. Our plates were not promptly cleared after it finished, there was no coaster so the table had wet area from the drinks and only being dried up when we were waiting for our dessert.

After meal, we asked the reception for buggy and she said it was on the way back from fetching passenger. We waited first near the entrance door. A group of 3 pax came after us also being told to wait for the buggy. Then another group of 6 caucasians came to wait for the buggy. But the staff, instead of telling them to wait after us just mentioned the waiting for it to return.

Once the buggy came, the entrance door was tapped opened only by card access, those last groups rushed out, even blocking the incoming guests, just to rush to the buggy. Well, as expected, the buggy staff told us to wait as there only 1 seat left. He didn't open the door again to us, as we were already outside and the staff inside even though seeing us, didn't welcome us again to wait inside.

It truly showed the staff lacked proper crowd control and proper training as the fine dining standard restaurant. I thought the initial negative feedback about staff service standard after the opening should had been resolved by the time of my visit. Turned out, it was not and clearly it lied on the training standard.

I guess, if I happen to bring guest seeing the Flower Dome, I would have a drink at the Bistro. But returning here with a guest for dinner or lunch, errr, I would rather bring them to other fine dining restaurants. The view and setting was not as spectacular as having dinner on top of MBS Tower or Catalunya Pavilion facing the waterfront.

Coming to Pollen with good spirit yet leaving it with high disappointment.
 Pollen Signage from inside the Flower Dome
The signage, better call the number once you arrive there, no matter what time it is.
The buggy ride, just us when going and he was only alone when coming

Reaching the other side of Pollen, you could walk but it was a bit distance.
View to Pollen Bistro from Flower Dome area
Very Zen inspired garden outside the Bistro.. There is a public restroom along this area
Browsing through the Flower Dome, it was Tulip Festival Season on display

Nice view to see MBS Tower from this side of the dome through the glass ceiling
 Staircase to Pollen Bistro from Flower Dome area
Pollen Bistro, I think the ambience is much better here compare to the restaurant
Lift from Bistro level to Restaurant Level
Seats next to the glass dome, facing the courtyard
Tables from the main entrance
The show plates
 The Menu
Our Drinks:
Just Peachy; White peach puree, fresh lemon juice, iced breakfast tea & fresh mint
Dragonfly; Lychyee juice & red chili, fresh lime juice and vanilla syrup
Out of these 2, I felt Just Peachy was more refreshing but nothing outstanding though

The 3 canapes
It was promising openers, though
With this thin crackers like as my fave
Deep Fried Potato
Garlic Fried Ball with Mayo

There were only 2 bread selection, either sourdough or baguette. I do like how theyput the butter on display on this small wooden plate
Line-caught John Dory, cauliflower, grapes, apple and curry

 The fish was not seasoned at all, it was fresh but on first bite, even though I blended the sauce, it still kinda bland
 Presentation wise, it certainly scored

Halibut, saffron potatoes, smoked eel, leeks, sea urchin cream

The Watermelon Jelly
I called it as our tongue naturalizer
 The Pollen "Tatin"
Verjus, crème fraiche, caramel, red and green apples
 This was my fave by that night. The sweetness of the fruits and cream was well balanced
Butternut, coconut, pine nut, Occumare Venezuelan Chocolate
This was our dessert order, the presentation was perfect. The taste was balanced well
Banana Rice Pudding
Corn, Coconut, Sudachi, Madras curry
This was wrongly delivered to us, it was mentioned as one of the fave beside the Tatin
It was good too but not as good as the Tatin
Complimentary Chocolate to finish off our dessert meals
 We were seated right next to this counter with staff passing by often
 The only chair for waiting at reception counter, waiting for our buggy ride

Yes, even the signage looked so posh 
We were locked outside the door waiting for buggy ride for about 10 minutes. The staff did see us from inside but has no reservation of politely asking whether want to wait inside or outside. We were wondering if there would be another group barging to get their seat for buggy ride instead of queueing.

Flower Dome, Gardens By The Bay 18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-09
Singapore 018953
Opening Hours (Monday to Sunday)
Lunch from 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner from 6.00pm to 10.00pm


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