A sublime meal let down by poor service

Harbour City, Burton Waters.
Harbour City, Burton Waters.

Many elements come together to make for the perfect dining experience.

It’s about attention to detail when balancing high quality food, with value for money, a great setting and flawless service.

Hovering on stilts above the lake at Burton Waters, you certainly can’t fault the setting and atmosphere of the Harbour City Chinese restaurant.

Surrounded by luxury houses, apartments and shops and peacefully on a boating lake, Harbour City certainly fulfils its slogan of ‘an elegant retreat and a unique experience’.

Bathed in cool lighting, the interior is decked out in rich, authentic Chinese décor with fish tanks separating booths around the dining area as panoramic windows overlook calm waters.

The reputation of the food at Harbour City certainly precedes it and the mouth-watering and eclectic menu made it look as if every box was set to be ticked. As my friends chatted amongst ourselves and soaked up the atmosphere, it felt as if we’d fallen off the face of the earth, and to the staff, we certainly had.

Once seated, it took an age for our order to be taken. Then intervals of an hour punctuated the wait between ordering, receiving our starters and then our main courses.

We displayed faith and patience, until we thought the staff had forgotten about us and we took turns to look towards staff and try and wave for attention.

After finally attracting their attention they graciously offered us complimentary drinks to pass the time.

The abysmal service was truly a shame, because the food was utterly sublime. My starter of chicken parcels wrapped in pandan leaf was a small taste of heaven, cooked with a tender attention to detail.

My friends dined on salt and chilli ribs and phoenix chicken wings, and they assured me that their food was divine, but added that they’d grown so insanely ravenous that anything would do.

Tucking into my truly awesome honey roast duck breast with plum sauce and egg fried rice, I couldn’t help but think that I’d have enjoyed it far more if it had been served a long time earlier.

No one came to check that we were satisfied with our meal, and you practically had to set yourself on fire to attract attention to order more drinks.

You may have better luck if you visit Harbour City, but our memory shall be of five star food tainted by two star service.

By Andrew Trendell

Star rating HHH