Posted by: coolerbecky | January 15, 2010

Hidden Costs of a Mushroom Pot

Today’s post is brought to you by delicious food at stupid prices.

The Mushroom Pot is a curious Chinese restaurant which has the gimmick of serving almost every dish with some sort of mushroom. They have about eleventy thousand different mushrooms that they serve at the restaurant, a guidebook of which can be found in their menu. The restaurant has several outlets and was extremely popular one or two years back when Singaporeans were absolutely insane over mushrooms.

Pickles and TissueThe first thing that catches the eye at Mushroom pot is the very generous presentation of pickles on the table (as seen in the picture on the right taken by Cooler Becky’s very shaky hand). The chopstick rest also doubles as a packet of tissues which also double as advertising for the restaurant – they are printed with road directions to Mushroom Pot for future visits.

The Mushroom Pot’s menu is extremely varied, with a variety of grilled foods alongside Chinese stir-fries.
Their grilled and fried foods are done to perfection, a plate of deep fried squid was soft and tasty, just that right amount of chewiness without being overdone. The house specialty is, of course, their mushroom pot – a hotpot filled to the brim with assorted mushrooms and a dark herbal soup. Raw foods are provided to cook in the broth and add to the general flavour of the soup. Rice was provided by the waiters halfway through the meal, which was a good compliment to the soupy meal and was a nice touch, seeing as we didn’t have to order it.

Wolfberries and other tasty thingsI must say that despite the strange look of the soup, it’s actually pretty delicious and nutritious – just the right balance of flavours to make it really zing. The cuts of meat provided were well-marbled and quick to cook, the dumplings were just the right texture and juicy to boot and the broth itself contained wolf berries for just that right hit of sweetness of offset the herbal bitterness of the mushrooms.

Sadly, while the food was pretty good, the service has definitely taken a turn for the worse, probably because Mushroom Pot is no longer a food fad amongst Singaporeans. Two years ago, the waitstaff was attentive and very polite. They explained the health benefits of each mushroom that went into the soup and were generally cheerful and bubbly. This year, the restaurant seemed to be filled with sour faces – both on waitstaff and customers alike.

However, the real shock occured when the bill arrived. The meal of fried squid and a hot pot cost us a whopping $92, which was a far cry from the price in the menu (about $60). Turns out that the pickles and the rice were charged on the bill individually, which was odd because the pickles were on the table prior to our arrival and we did not order the rice. Tea was disgustingly overpriced at $4.50 a cup and we were charged for the pleasure of giving Mushroom Pot free advertising – 90 cents for each of the packets of tissues. To top off what was already a gross display of hidden costs, Mushroom Pot also added a 10% service charge on top of all these things, then topped that off with the GST.

Visiting Mushroom Pot was a complete and utter letdown. Between the hidden costs and the grumpy waitresses, any good feeling that I had from the food was completely washed off by the horror of receiving an unexpected bill.

You can find out more about the Mushroom Pot from their website at http://www.mushroompot.com/, but they’d probably make you pay for the privilege.

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Responses

  1. It is just too bad what happened with the Mushroom Pot. I guess that is the problem with food galore Singapore. A particular restaurant or food concept becomes really popular for about 3 to 5 years, then complacency sets in. They start to chase away customers in droves!


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