I take in the intricately designed stone, brick and tile work of the newly opened Chase Restaurant and heave a sigh of satisfaction. The eye-for-detail finishing of the architecture spoke of a commitment to aesthetic excellence.
Chase is divided into two sides; the building to the right is labeled “Lounge” while the terraced structure to the left is labeled “Food Court”. I walk toward the lounge entrance, peering through the glass doors, admiring the exotic décor of the foyer. A uniformed lady materializes out of nowhere, takes one look at me and points me to the food court saying, “Actually, that’s where you would like to go.”
“But I’d like to have sushi!” I insist, pointing to the Lounge signboard that advertises both a continental and sushi menu. She holds her ground and informs me politely that sushi is also sold at the food court. Defeated, I head to the other side, mentally kicking myself for my dress choice. “I probably don’t look like I belonged in their fancy lounge,” I mumbled, not bitterly.
Inside the fast food restaurant, the décor is cheery and simple—very classy. The cream walls hold colorful artwork and shelves display masks and sculptures. The kitchen is visible from the dining area and I see that the kitchen staff, complete with chef’s hats, is bustling about in a clean, orderly manner.
The waitress is polite and helpful, anticipating my needs before I voice them. There are only a few items on the menu and as I don’t see my sushi, I order a chicken escalope with fries. It arrives quickly and although a little dry, the chicken is well-spiced and tastes divine with the best creamy mustard sauce I have ever had.
The bill also comes quickly—whoa, the prices are a little steep—and, satisfied with the atmosphere and service, I leave a generous tip.
I leave, looking forward to my next visit. This time, I’ll dress fancy so I can sit in the lounge, I think to myself, the service is sure to be even better there.
I was wrong.
Dressed in silk, I walk in easily. I admire the dimly lit, maroon foyer, take in the sophisticated set up inside the restaurant and think to myself that this is the kind of place where I would need to wait to be seated. After I have stood at the door for about five minutes and have received a few strange stares, I find a seat in the corner. I check the time—8.42pm. At 8.52, I am still waiting for someone to notice me.
While I wait, I look around. The décor is lovely. It has a black and red colour scheme—complete with alternating black and red Oriental chandeliers. There is a tasteful mix of Ghanaian and Japanese artwork. Two 46” TVs, cleverly tuned to the Food Channel, are mounted on the two opposing walls. The lights are dimmed just enough to achieve the balance between cozy and cheery. A sushi hostess in a kimono flits about from table to table offering advice, making suggestions, answering questions.
At 9.08, I walk up to the head waitress and complain. She looks at me with utter disbelief and exclaims loudly, “Jesus!” She hurriedly calls another waitress and almost trips in her hurry to get me a menu. I am so shocked by her response that I forget to be angry.
After that, the service speeds up. The waitress is very professional but also quite pleasant. Again, my needs are anticipated. I almost cry with relief when a bread basket (lightly toasted) and butter (soft and creamy) is provided along with the menu as I am positively ravenous by this point.
The menu here is also limited to a few items. This is nice, though, I think. They know what they want to offer and stick to that, rather than dabbling in all sorts of food choices and not getting any quite right. There is a separate menu for sushi—Sushi!—and from there, I order the Komi roll. From the continental menu—salads, starters, entrees, pasta—I order the Carbonara.
The sushi lives up to my expectation, garnished with wasabi, spring onions and ginger strips and accompanied with a cute little bottle of soy sauce. It has delicious blend of tastes—savory and sweet—and is very fresh. The carbonara is creamy and divine.
The food, with its generous quantity and elegant presentation, allays my earlier resentment and so, when the supervisor comes over to explain the initial bad service (an unexpectedly high Sunday night patronage that overwhelmed their usual Sunday night staff reduction), I am very gracious.
I pay the bill sans tip (What? I was gracious) and walk out, giving that foyer one more glance.
Outside, I notice some patrons sitting out on the food court’s terrace and am once again struck by the simply beauty of Chase’s architecture. Will I return? Not often, not with those prices. But I will recommend it for need-to-impress-the-client lunches and need-to-make-it-up-to-my-girlfriend dinners.