Alfresco Gusto

It’s safe to say that Italian cuisine is one of the more well known European cuisines in Singapore. Most Singaporeans are not adverse to pasta and pizza and they probably are more used to it than say…. Spanish paella and tapas. As a result, there are many many Italian establishments in Singapore and the struggle for each restaurant is to stand out among their many competitors. 

The good news for us customers is that if we like Italian, there are many many choices available. And one of them, happens to be Gusto.

We were trying to find a place to celebrate G’s birthday and since we had previously been to Sopra Cucina where we had very nice meal, L suggested trying out Gusto this time.
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L subsequently made an online reservation for 7.30pm. What followed next was a pretty bizarre experience at getting seated. I arrived at Gusto at 7.30pm and headed for the alfresco side since L had earlier texted me to say that she was already seated outside. Just as I was about to step in, a server halted my progress and inquired as to how he might help me. I informed him that my friend had made a reservation and I was about to go meet her as she was already seated. He then motioned me over to the indoor restaurant where the reservation book was and started looking for her name, which he could not find…

“But, my friend is already seated outside!” I explained… gesturing to the alfresco area. I received blank stares in return and I started to panic…and called L

“Hey… I’m here, but they can’t find your name on the book. Did you make a reservation?”

“Yes… why don’t you just walk in? I’m already seated in here…”

“I don’t think so… they are refusing to let me in because they can’t find your name on the book…”

So while I’m speaking to L on the phone, the same server asks me for the mobile number that was used to make the booking. So I quickly hang up the phone on L to retrieve the number, feeling more and more awkward as the seconds tick by….

Fortunately, another server (a more experienced one…) comes by to where I’m standing and after I explain the situation, she gestures to the alfresco area and says, “Oh Madm, if your friend is already here, you can go and look for her over there.”

Feeling more relieved than anything to be put out of the spotlight, I hurry back to the alfresco area but not before I see L ( who is heavily pregnant and waddled back outside to come look for me) waiting for me by the entrance and G, who had just arrived but did not experience any of that reservation nonsense I had to go through.

“Yeah… make the pregnant lady walk” L mutters under her breath as we walk to our table and I sigh to myself.

L then told me that because she had made an online booking, the restaurant told her that the booking was only kept in the alfresco reservation book and not the indoor restaurant reservation book.

OK.

But how would the customer know that? Is the customer supposed to deal with the dual reservation method? And I did show up at the alfresco area, but was told to follow the server to the indoor area!

Nevermind, we just want to eat and have a nice catch up dinner. At this point, we can agree that service has been a little URGHHH.
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So, we decided to get the following to share…

Truffle fries – A pretty decent rendition. The fries were crisp and could really get the truffle aromas
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Seafood Aglio olio – This was well executed. Pasta was perfectly cooked and so were the scallops.
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Carbonara pizza – this was one of the few cream-based pizzas available since the girls were not too keen on a tomato base. This turned out pretty good and is a good alternative for those who prefer something other than the usual tomato base pizza.
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So I must say that despite that bizarre first impression, the food did turn out very well. Each dish was well executed and I don’t think there were any complaints generally. However, I suspect that the earlier experience and overall service experience did not leave us with a good vibe and we did not even think to consider dessert after the first order. Later on when asking for the bill, I asked the (same) server – (seriously, how unlucky could I get) about whether I could use the entertainment app and he just answered me curtly

“I need to take your phone”

Actually Sir, you don’t need to take my phone. You just need to take down the code that will be generated for you once you punch in the restaurant’s pin. 

Of course, I kept quiet and bit my tongue. The faster this bill was concluded, the faster we could get out of here.

Before writing this post, I went online to see the general feedback pertaining to this restaurant. I noted that there have been reviews similar to what I experienced, which is such a great pity, because despite the negative service experience, the food here is actually not too bad.

And when there are many other Italian restaurants in Singapore to choose from, it’s really hard to find a reason to come back here again.

Sigh.

Add: #01-15, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn

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