Over the past many moons, actually well over a year, I have noticed with great pleasure that the Grand Hotel has really made huge strides in terms of food quality, presentation and service. There seems to be a real willingness to make the customer happy, including proactively anticipating customer needs. The venue is being kept much cleaner and is better maintained. Clearly, the new general manager has really brought some discipline to the place and I for one am very very VERY happy. While I still loathe buffets, the Golden Dragon and Yuan Yuan restaurants are spot on. Wine selection in the former, however, is still a bit limited but I guess the fact that South African (rather than domestic wine) is being offered is already a huge step in the right direction. I just wish the display cases and bakery areas would be removed from the lobby. They detract from the grand plan of the imposing lobby but bringing it down to the level of the mundane. No. No. NO.
I would like to thank you Fred, for your many years of sharing such culinary feedback with the foreign community here. You’re doing us all a service. We’ll check these restaurants out.
Ha Ha. That irritates me too. UGLY.
Well, first official dinner party coming up at the Grand Hotel so will advise how things turn out.
Well the score card is in…
Service 10/10 (We had 10 people waiting on 23)
Food presentation 5/10 (bit dated)
Food quality 8/10 (all top quality ingredients for the most part)
Food taste 6.5/10
A few quick comments took care of most of the problems. No fresh milk or cream for coffee or tea but remedied immediately. Some mentioned a bit of chlorine taste to the water. This was also remedied immediately. Ribeye, a bit overcooked but probably my fault since I stressed earlier, I wanted it at least medium well so that the fat in the center was not globby. Vinegar in vinaigrette was a bit overpowering. Western dining is still not the Grand’s forte since there is in fact no Western restaurant there. The Chinese food that I have tried recently has all been spot on.
So while there were a few hitches in the food and presentation department, the rapidity with which they were taken care of speaks volumes about the new service-friendly attitude among the Grand Hotel staff.
Overall score 8/10. This is the place to go for the ambience and stunning venue. With a Chinese rather than Western menu, I think the Grand is now one of the top choices in town. Again, the restaurant food, presentation and service is never going to unseat the Landis Hotel or even the Grand Hyatt for panache and style, but… where in the world can you find such a lobby, such function rooms and such ambience?
Ah… I miss good ole Violet! I think that Joyce Purdy is out of business though. Either an early grave from her fondness for Scotch or a final foreclosure by her creditors. The Purdy Guesthouse I believe is under new management.
Are you related to Violet?
Not related unless you mean at a time of my life when I still had a fondness for gin. Then, we would have been true soul mates. Surely, that picture is from the 1970s? But the Fairlawn is a state of mind surely? I am pretty sure that both Vi and John are perhaps no longer involved, but that always leaves the Tollygunge Club…
I think that being dead has substantially reduced their involvement. I agree that it is to a large extent a state of mind; I read somewhere once that you don’t so much stay at the Fairlawn but play a part in an ongoing theatre production. It will always be for me one of the world’s great hostelries.
Wonder what happened to that bloody poodle?
Which one? I think over the years that the original was replaced four or five times but the last time I was there whichever episode the Fairlawn was on had a distinct problem with flatulence brought on by old age. I am speaking, again, of the poodle…
Which one? I think over the years that the original was replaced four or five times but the last time I was there whichever episode the Fairlawn was on had a distinct problem with flatulence brought on by old age. I am speaking, again, of the poodle…[/quote]
Glad you added that last part. I mis-read it the first time as you had a distinct problem with flatulence brought on by old age.