Friday, 22 March 2013

Outrageous Service at Hai Di Lao Hotpot

I've read so much about Hai Di Lao Hotpot in 8 Days magazine and have been wanting to try it ever since. One of my girlfriends said she tried it both in Shanghai and Singapore and highly recommended it so we decided to pay this restaurant a visit last Friday.

Hai Di Lao Hotpot at Clarke Quay

I wasn't sure how to get there so I checked in with my best friend, Google. After walking around Clarke Quay for 10 minutes, I managed to find it without much trouble.

The queue for a table at this restaurant is infamously long so one of us reserved a table for us 2 weeks before (you may only reserve a table if you are able to arrive by 6.30pm). Although we were ushered directly to our table immediately after we arrived, those after us had to wait for at least an hour before they could get a table.

But not too worry, they have got that covered. Famous for their outrageous service, Hai Di Lao provides additional services for their customers to keep them occupied while they waited. Services such as complimentary manicures, board games to play with your friends and even a kids play area to entertain your children.

Complimentary manicures
Mini children's play area with changing table, TV & toys

I was actually torn between the joy of not having to wait for a table and the disappointment of not being able to enjoy the activities =)

Once all of us have arrived, we were given an apron each to protect our clothes from food stains (awesome for people like me who are known to have "holes in my jaw" *laughs*).

Wearing our red aprons

To take their service to a whole new level, they also took extra care to ensure that your belongings were well protected from the food.

Left to Right: Rubber band for ladies with long hair to tie up their hair;
Cloth for those who wear spectacles in case the soup splutters onto them by accident;
Plastic bags to protect your phone from droplets of soup

We were told to order our food from one of their iPads, which may not be entirely user-friendly if you're using it for the first time.

Browsing through the menu on the iPad

Not to worry though, a waitress is always nearby to help if you need it. Ours was always very helpful and polite =)

After we have placed our order, we were invited to choose our accompanying sauces from a buffet table of all the condiments and sauces that you can think of! Quite impressive.

The condiments table

You could also order a drink, which came with free refills. I ordered the herbal tea, which I thought nicely complemented the heaty food that we were about to eat. As for the soup base, we decided on half laksa and half tomato as we were game to try something unusual. The food arrived quite quickly, just in time to fill my growling stomach!

Angus beef and the soup pot
Shabu shabu beef (top left) and handmade DIY western meatballs (top right), prawn paste (bottom left)
and colourful fish paste (bottom right) 
Our very nice server posing for a photo while helping us to add the food into our soup

As we were eating and chatting away, different servers came by and consistently scooped away the layer of oil that gathered at the top of the soup. I thought that that was very considerate of them!

And then came one of the highlights of our meal, the gong fu noodles made right before your eyes. This guy was really good, despite having only done this for 2-3 years.

I have to say, this place really lived up to its name of providing the best service in the world. And excellence is really in all the tiniest details. For example, I was surprised to see this sign when I was using the female toilets in the premise.

Sign on the toilet door that said (loosely translated):
"On your very special day, if you have need of anything, please approach a female staff for assistance.
Hai Di Lao wishes you health and beauty everyday!"

Initially I thought "special day" meant birthday but that didn't explain why the sign was placed in the toilet and why we should specifically approach female staff. And then it hit me! Oh, they meant that if you discovered that you got your period, you could approach a female staff for a sanitary pad. They had really thought of everything they could do to meet their customer's needs!

We had such an enjoyable time that we only left 4 hours later when they were close to closing and there was still a queue! Yet none of the staff ever pressured us to leave, it was all cool.

Happy and satisfied customers! =)

Hai Di Lao Hotpot is located at 3D River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #02-04, Singapore 179023.
(Tel: 6337 8626)

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