Strange service at good-food eatery
Queenstown doesn’t have many options when it comes to Vietnamese, so it was with some excitement that I dragged two friends, a couple, with me to Saigon Kingdom on a Saturday night. I arrived a bit late, and got a taste of what would become the most memorable thing of the night— the service, or lack of it — on arrival.
I walked in, spotted my mates, who were already seated, and rather than walk straight over, kind of hung around at the counter to tell the waitresses what I was up to. I was ignored, even though no-one else was at the counter. Without letting the awkwardness drag out, I just headed over and sat down. My entry scenario had been noted, and I got a laugh as I sat down.
For starters the blokes went Crispy Chicken ($12), and Crispy Squid ($13) while Clair went for Vege and Tofu Pho (Noodle Soup). The fried stuff came out really fast, but the soup was quite a bit later. Great food, but a pity it didn’t arrive at the same time. After getting a few beers in we all went out to a smoking area, telling one of the waitresses what we were up to.
So, it was a bit of a shocker to find when we got back the meals were already at the table. Wouldn’t it be polite to wait a few minutes until the customers got back to the table so they could actually serve the meal?
I had the Chicken and Mango Salad ($19). The sharp tang of fish sauce and lime in the dressing hit the spot nicely, while the mint and coriander combo created that clean Vietnamese taste, which can get addictive. We shared all the mains, and the Lemongrass and chilli flat rice noodles ($17.5) was good, but had a bit much chilli in it. We had a bit of debate on what was too hot, and decided that if there were seeds in the chilli on the plate, things were probably going to be eyewatering. The chilli was hitting overload status on the Vietnamese Grilled Spicy Chicken ($22) too.
The layout was pretty standard, along with the atmosphere. Nothing could really topple the impression we get from what we felt was really bad service.
Great location, nice food, but waitstaff were a problem on the night we visited. Everyone in our party noticed it straight away but we had plenty of laughs about it afterwards. I’ve checked out online reviews, and people have commented on receiving great service.
Tasty: Vietnamese at Queenstown’s new Saigon Kingdom restaurant.