These were what we felt when we dined at Tian Pao Wan along N. Roxas Street in Quezon City. It was already a little past the lunch hour rush when we arrived at the restaurant and we noticed that it was still packed. Thinking that this was a good sign of things to come, we went inside and were ushered to our table a minute or two upon entering.
I asked one of their wait staff about their opening date and learned that Tian Pao Wan started their operations on September 11, 2013.
The interiors were, no doubt, pretty. It was something that was easy on the eyes; very simple, with clean lines. I liked it a lot since it didn’t feel too stuffy inside.
After a few minutes of appreciating the interiors, the parents and I perused the menu and decided to order a few items to try. They weren’t offering a lot of items yet so it didn’t take too long for us to choose what we wanted. The wait staff who took our orders looked so flustered and kept rushing me along. He kept looking around the restaurant while we were speaking with him and, after getting our orders, left immediately without doing a recap. That didn’t leave a good impression on us, but seeing that they had these “We’re on Dry Run” signs on each of the tables, I thought I’d try to be a little bit more understanding.
Now, before I show you the food photos, here is a quick rundown of the items which we ordered:
- Xiao Long Bao
- Drunken Chicken
- Fried Rice
- Roast Pork with Rice
- Chinese Broccoli with Garlic
- a type of dessert with mangoes as the main ingredient
- Two cans of soda (no photo)
Please keep those items in mind. Ready? Here are the ones which were served to us:
Being such a big fan of xiao long bao, or steamed soup dumplings, I didn’t hesitate to order an 8-piece serving of their Pork and Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao.
Here’s a look at the inside of their xiao long bao. We found this to be so-so since there weren’t a lot of soup inside the dumplings. We agreed that the xiao long bao from Kao Chi is still better.
A little while later, our Egg Fried Rice with Shredded Pork arrived at our table. This was honestly a pretty small serving for something that was supposed to be good for sharing with the family. Dad liked the rice, saying that it was nicely cooked. It wasn’t dry and was seasoned quite well.
……..and that’s it for the food!
What? Where are the other items?
That’s the very same thing we asked a couple of Tian Pao Wan’s servers, especially after we waited for so long. Most of them either didn’t answer our questions or said that they’ll check with the kitchen. No one came back to tell us what has happened.
After several more minutes of waiting, one of their staff asked us if there was anything else we were waiting for. Trying to somewhat hide our annoyance, we enumerated the items that were still not served. He then goes to say this: “Hindi po ba kayo nasabihan na hindi available yun Drunken Chicken?” (Weren’t you informed that the Drunken Chicken is unavailable?”). We told him that we were NOT informed and to please check if any of the other orders will be arriving soon. He left immediately, not even muttering an apology for the delay AND the wrong information.
Oh, by the way, that server didn’t return either. We saw him going around the restaurant, not stopping at any of the tables, but always looking like he’s so busy! I waved at him to catch his attention but for some reason, he didn’t see me at all.
Later on, we learned that both the Roast Pork and the Chinese broccoli were also unavailable for that day. My parents and I were extremely annoyed that we decided to just settle our bill so that we could leave as soon as possible. What’s funny is, after asking for the bill, it didn’t even take them 30 seconds to hand it to us despite the cashier being so far away. I’m not exaggerating! :-/
Oh, and one final thing. If you can help it, don’t order canned soda here. They’re absurdly priced at Php90.00 per can, when the average soda prices in a number of other restaurants is only at Php50-70.00.
I normally do not rant about our dining experiences, especially if the places we visit are (relatively) new. Unfortunately, our experience at Tian Pao Wan was the worst we’ve had in a long time. For one thing, putting up “We’re on Dry Run” signs does not give an establishment the free pass to have bad customer service. In our opinion, slower service compared to more established restaurants is forgivable AND understandable when you’re new in the ballgame; having a team who’s not properly trained on how to address customer concerns is NOT. In fact, a new business should prioritize having excellent service as this is the one thing that would encourage their customers to stay around despite a few shortcomings.
I sincerely hope that other customers have not / will not experience the same thing we had when they dined / will dine at Tian Pao Wan. It’s a real shame since I honestly think that this place has a lot of potential. Will we ever go back? Highly unlikely, but if we do, I’ll make sure to write about it. It’s going to be a good way to check if they’ve improved or not.