Friday, January 11, 2008

Kaizen Sushi (Seria)

Before you proceed reading, please kindly read the disclaimer on the right first.
I repeat,
The opinions expressed here represent my own and it may change from time to time. Any reliance upon information shall be at your sole risk.

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Finally, a new place to dine in the teeny-weeny Seria town.

Man, you guys have no idea how limited our choices are when it comes to think of a place where to makan. Its either WYWY, Ideal, Jollibee, Ayamku or C.A.Mohammad. And because I'm a non-muslim, I'm excused for more choices such as Soi Heng, Moi Nam, Ta Hua
(which I will not step my foot in) and Jing Hua.

Deng Deng Deng Deng.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I now present you....

The ONE and ONLY Japanese Restaurant in Seria town.....


for the location.

Kaypo SL text me just to let me know that its finally open yesterday morning because he knew I'd been wanting to try it out, after a few times of roaming downstairs and staring up wondering went is it opening.

And so I called Kiarong branch for the Seria branch's number to make reservation, and the line was put on hold for 2 minutes. No thanks to the clueless waiter who picked up the phone. I should have taken it as a hint for lamentation to be experienced later .

SMS-ed SL their number and asked him to make reservations because I malas talk already. He later replied "Eh, they only open at 5.30pm. How?". So instead of lunch, it became dinner. No biggie, yet.

We arrived Kaizen right on the dot at 7pm, went upstairs and got greeted by lots of flowers and later the charcoal-face boss.

if you get what I mean by "charcoal".

I have no idea whether he's too busy or what... but man, I certainly don't like the way he approached us, with that stern face.

"You got make reservations?"
"Yes, under the name Alex, 7pm."

Then he had a quick look at his palm... Obviously, he listed out all the bookings on his hand.

And I quickly interrupt, "We made a booking for four but now there's only two of us, so you can just give us a small table. Maybe at the bar (or train) side?"

He looked around and asked us to sit at the waiting area, more like waiting-bench actually, and got us a table at a minute.

I like their menu. I mean its all new and nicely printed. Flipping into its first page I saw two circles with the words,

"Only Polyunsaturated Oil is Used" and "No added MSG".

Now that's nice, healthy wor.
Too bad I couldn't go in to their kitchen to prove that to everyone.

Anywhoo, one for that.

While the waitress pour us some Green Tea, I immediately asked if they served "Wasabi Icecream". Sadly, they don't.

(They have it in their Kiarong branch. I didn't make it up)

Not only that, there's no Drinks and Beverages menu!!!
Ya I know, what the heck right?


After few minutes of flipping, SL (the same person with the nick @lex who always commented) and we decided to order one bento and one side dish. And checked out their sushis on the train.

The bento set not bad lor. Got salmon sashimi, tempuras and unagi + rice and a bowl of miso soup. B$14.40.

Sounds okay right? But.. if you're a fans of "E" (*cough* Locals favorite Japanese Restaurant, not E! channel 712) , you should know they serve "Tempura Bento" at the price of $15.00 with a combination of sashimis (3 slices of salmon, 3 slices of tuna, 3 slices of sotong octopus), 2 tamago sushi, 2 unagi sushi, tempuras (usually 2 prawns + 3 vegetables if not mistaken), fish cakes, fruits and also a bowl of miso soup.

Now, which one more worth it you decide lah.

While waiting, we decided to check out the sushis on the rain out. And before we took any plates, we looked left and right for the price tag.

You know those,

Green plate - B$ xx.xx
Pink plate - B$ xx.xx
Blue plate - B$ xx.xx

But it was no where to be found. Another for that.

SL and I
(still can smile at that time)

So we just simply hamtam took three plates of sushi rolls first (because damn hungry liao...), just when I was about to eat.... I realized,

"Eh, no wasabi one?"

Rupanya they put the wasabi can on the train and circulates instead of putting it on every table. So yeah, we waited for two rounds before we can get hold of the can, just for that bloody wasabi.

Maybe they think can cut cost like that kua? By saving the wasabi.

But really lor, when I finally grab the wasabi can, I was damn happy (because waited too long) but once I lifted the cap... I nearly want to throw it against the wall liao.

Left only a measly amount of it.

Damn Pek-Cek you know!!!!!

(Pek-Cek = Frustrating)

Never mind... I give you chance, and also another .

I'm sorry but I have to call them noobs because they're damn slow okay! By the time I took the above picture, it was already 7.37pm (according to my camera) and I was still sipping my luke-warm green tea... with none of the food we ordered arrived on our table!!!

We even got tired checking the train out because it was never refilled!
Don't believe. Nah, show you proof.

On that long sushi train there's only roughly 5 plates of sushis.

And so we waited....and waited.. and waited... and waited....and waited....

and still waiting!

I evolved from a happy kid with my chopsticks all ready, into a grumpy old woman who couldn't stop nagging and complaining. Likewise for SL. Everytime the waiters and -tresses walked out from the kitchen I'll squealed with joy and yelled, "Its OURS!"

... and later saw them walked slowly away from us.

Finally at 7.50pm... a waitress came up to our table with a plate of something.

I had my smile back on my face... until I checked the plate again.

Me: Erm... we didn't order this.

Waitress: Yes mum. This is oyster cake.

Me: Er no. This is not oyster cake, this is Cheese Baked Oyster.

Waitress: No, this is oyster cake.

Malas to argue, I took the menu out and flipped it again. Pointed to her which one we ordered, and what was being served. See, I remembered their menu better than them! You know why? Because SL and I had already flipped it for more than 10times going through page by page because we're hungry and had nothing to do!

Then came the charcoal-face boss, telling his staff "No, this is NOT oyster cake."

So I smiled at him as an appreciation for his gesture (so I don't have keep arguing) and thought they'll took away the plate and quickly process our orders.


Guess what he (the boss) said,

"So, you don't want ah?"


Of course don't want lah! If I want I order liao laaaaaaaa idiot.
"Yes, I don't want this.", still answering with a smile. But deep in my heart, my OS was, "Kanasai.... You made the wrong order then expect me to accept it willingly hia?".

So teruk can die.

SL was quite pissed already but still made a sarcastic remark.

SL: Is that it? Are you going to refill it? *points to train* C.F.B : Huh? SL: The train. It rounds so many times already yet its still very empty. Are you guys going to refill the plates on it?

And C.F.B just walked away with an awkward laugh.
The End.

How nice...

(Oh, C.F.B = Charcoal Face Boss)

I turned my head away because I wanted to laugh yet it was such an inconvenient moment.

Then SL told me, "Let me know when you want to go because I can go anytime." Still I said, "Nevermind la, people just open. Give another chance. See the food how first."

I bu-gan-yen (tak rela) if I left the place "empty-stomached" bah.

Finally at 8.10pm.... our "expensive" Oyster Cake arrived.

Well, it took them an hour to do this. Sure "expensive" kan? Must be very "nyaman" too...
*roll eyes*

Took my first bite, it was just okay and too dry for my liking. And so I requested for some chili sauce from the waitress.

"Sorry mum we don't have chili sauce. Justnow got some customers asked also but we cannot give."

Huh? So you don't have chili sauce or you don't want to give?
Sigh.. malas to talk back.

10 minutes later....

Time was 8.20pm...

Let me remind you once more, we arrived that place at 7pm.. and ordered at 7.10pm. Definitely very fast for turtle standard liao.

One hour and 20 minutes just to prepare a bento? You gotta be kidding me! Unless you tell me the salmon, prawns and eels were freshly fished from the sea and the cucumber just got plucked down lah.

Somemore... damn karit lah the sauce for the unagi. And one more thing, no tempura sauce to dip! Yes, we ate that crunchy but tasteless prawn tempura and crab sticks on its own. So sad lar. Eat till like that really feel very jit-toh.
"Well, at least the salmon sashimi is nice. But cannot give compliment also because they didn't cook it pun."

"The unagi taste like the one I go SupaSave and buy those ready-made one lar."

"And the miso soup... its not even steamy hot! Its tad cold."

I also don't know is it because we're damn unlucky that day or what.. why our food was the last to come? Even the couples who sit behind us already had their dish 15minutes after they ordered.

Damn malang laaa.

No way we're ordering more food because if we order again, really don't know what time baru can go home. SL jokingly said, "I think those who went to KB "E" eat ah, already eat till the whole table full of plates and stomach full full liao and now on the way driving back to Seria."

Right Jan?

Oh by the way, if you happen to go there, please be careful when you go to their washrooms. Because I sat facing the entrance of it, I'd witnessed a couple of customers who nearly fell down because of the unexpected step that most of them didn't notice.

The Entrance

A view from the washroom corridor

If I didn't tell you, can you notice that there's a step down along the corridor?

Dear C.F.B, make sure you go get some "Watch your step" sign to keep your customers alert before any accident happens.
And I like your wife (aka the tauke-nio), she smiled a lot and is very much friendlier compare to you. At least she knew how to treat a customer nicely.

There's A LOT of room for improvement, in terms of both services and foods. I thought their sushi rice was quite coarse and tasteless for my liking and their wrapping skills on the sushi rolls were pretty bad. As for service, please make sure you staffs know every single dish listed on the menu by heart so the ordering and preparation of food will be a lot faster.

The 's

  • Location (for us Serians lah. But finding parking is another thing)
  • Spacey and less crowded
  • Healthy food

The 's

  • No drinks and beverages on the menu
  • Slow and unprofessional service
  • Not much food on the sushi train
  • ... the rest, I need SL to help me to fill in because he has more complaints than I do.

Rating :
(Very give face liao this score)

No way I'm going in there for the second time until I head some good remarks from trusted friends. Or maybe several months when their staffs are all fully trained and experienced. And, I WANT MY WASABI ICECREAM!!!

Okay, maybe some will say, "Aiyah.. people just open door do business, give chance mah." But still, I think there's no excuse for being unprofessional lor.

Yes, we walked out from the restaurant super beh-song. It was a really bad experience and for now, Kaizen means "Disappointing" in our dictionary.

But, I'll give it another try.. 3 months later.

Oh, I think Kaybee likes it.
Read her post too. I don't want to be too one-sided.


Bobby said...

Great place inside as the environment looks very refreshing. I never like to go restaurant that have just opened recently only cos either the staff is new or the place is so busy that there's no consistency. Somemore the staff would have to be familiarize with the preparation and everything.

Can see that the boss seems to have a piss off day but luckily even if he show moody face, he didnt shoot back at the customer if not really will got blacklisted. My fav sushi is still Nonnie's homemade sushi of course Excapad still is number 1.

Jewelle said...

Bad news for them - I can happily skip any place Japanese but I'm sure I'll be dragged there one of these days. Hopefully, the CFB has learn enough to treat customer better - or he'll get it from me too ;-)

Hungryduo said...

there is no excuse for them to be such unprofessional and what's more it's their branch and not a newly established restaurant. they should have a lot of experience at dealing with such situations.

- Hunnie <3

Lady28 said...

haiya, i was so excited to go after reading their advert in BB today. then after i read ur review, i also mau pengsan *almost fainted* maybe i'll stick to maisato n excapade at this time around. if the services get better, then maybe i'll giv it a try. Y? coz, i am a person who has 0.001% of sabar only. well, its reali hard to improve the sabar-ness up to 1%.hohoho!

@lex said...

Gosh ! .. i ended up the 5th commentor .. still wait u mean i got more to complain .. u basically sums up everything .. not to mention what sarcastical comment i had after waiting for an hour ! i'm not even recommeding frens there til like u say until we hear a positive review from whoever. Still :D .. i cannot believe i finally came up with some 'pros' for them ... LOL .. actually i am feeling better today, so my 'cons' have left me with nothing, except those u have already mentioned. No other comments from our 'frens' yet .. i guess they haven't the time to laught throught...
Ladies/Gents .. if not for Nonnie sitting there. i think after the service i would have literally RUN out of there within 45mins max...

@lex said...

Oh ..excuse for some of the mispelling above, was in a hurry...
i left out something... i think Kaybee when there during the opening and didn't have the service..since don't even know the price... so KB comment does not verify .. :P .. unless of cos they know KB and was trying to impress .. i u know what i mean ..

Jan Shim said...

"I think those who went to KB "E" eat ah, already eat till the whole table full of plates and stomach full full liao and now on the way driving back to Seria."

Right Jan?"

Damn right Nonnie! I must have also reached home too and I'm located waaaay inside Seria (the AREA 51 of Belait District). My wife and her colleagues had lunch there yesterday and not much in way of critique or comments except she liked a couple of items that I wouldn't normally order myself so it makes no difference.

While the temptation of Japanese cuisine right in town is mighty great, your review doesn't instil much confidence of a decent and predictable dining experience although from the looks of the photos, the venue seems big enough to accommodate more people than the Excapade KB presently.

Here's my blog post from that evening at Excapade

Sha said...

Wasabe ice cream? LOL. Anyway, now you got me craving for sushi. ahh.

Anonymous said...

my goodness.. actually i've been wanting to say this since i saw ur un-edited post saying u wanna go try kaizen... i have a very reliable source telling me that the kaizen branch in kiarong is.. well lets juz say it is falling short of the hygiene standards we wud expect from a fine restaurant like it suggest... so now its definitely no-no for kaizen for me... =)

if u wanna know the details, u can post a msg here... but gotta let u know.. it CAN change ur perception of kaizen forever (like how it changed mine).. but of cos it depends on how much u believe wat im telling u ;)

Nonnie King said...

Anonymous : Now you really got my attention!

Spill it spill it!

You're not some spy from Misato or Excapade right?

Sushi Fan said...

I disagree with you. I had a great dinner over there a few days ago.

Perhaps you didn't notice, the entire design of the restaurant, menu plus the taste of the food makes it on top of any other Japanese restaurants in Brunei.

A lot of Japanese people in Brunei shares the same thought as me.

People who like 'E' = no taste.

Maybe you should try another meal over there when it's not busy.

Anonymous said...

hahaha... of cos not la... im a juz a regular human being with a FETISH for sushi haha... well.. lets juz say it has something to do with live worms + salmon + compensation... u do the connections =)

believe it or not.. up to u.. but one thing for sure... its kaizen no more for me..

Anonymous said...

dont think "busy" shud be an excuse for their obviously ignorant and inexperienced service... go to E's gadong branch on any given day at dinner time to see it almost full to its capacity yet they never fail to deliver quality food + service (at least not all my dining experiences there)... not really siding with anyone, juz stating the facts here...

teddY said...

Well it is definitely weird to see no drinks or beverages being listed on the menu! Is it a franchise or a new store? I hope it is a new one... if it is part of a franchise, a big business disaster lies ahead!

What I can't stand the most is slow service... last time I went to this restaurant, they served the main course after 45 minutes, although there isn't a lot of diners inside. That is really frustrating, especially when you're hanging inside there with an almost empty stomach ><

So far I do not have any bad experiences with japanese restaurant, except one that serves teppanyaki because of their excessive indiscriminate use of cooking oil (eww!).

Princess Nashwa said...

Wow anonymous..

That's sensational. Any evidence to support your claims?

Takezo said...

Just so u know, actual rotation sushi in japan always put wasabi on the conveyer belt XD

coz they always include a small pinch of wasabi in almost anything they serve already ( i doubt kaizen does)

and kaizen is most definitely behing Escapade n Misato. But do give em chance.

n i realize escapade does alternative price hiking that is.. some dishes had shrink in amount since 3 years ago, n i really am upset. considering most of their food are frozen products.

Darren said...

ahahaha escapade still so much more better, man these people buck up their service, if not they're gonna lose business. I think most newly open restaurant always have first bad impressions for their customers.

Thanis said...

I actually have inconsistent experiences at Kaizen. Sometimes they provide good service but sometimes they can be terrible as well.

To the one that says that those who go to Excapade has no taste, I don't think Kaizen's sushi is any better to be honest.

I had been disappointed by all the sushi restaurants at least once or twice but I still go there since they are the only ones available. They sometimes will do a good job but sometimes I will be unlucky and get a below par quality food and service. This happens especially since sushi is very delicate and small mistakes (or attempts to prolong the lifespan of their unsold sushi) would destroy the quality of the food.

On occasions like those, I would decline that particular sushi and cancel the order, you can sometimes tell from the colour of the sashimi but once you bite liao .. sorry la ... T_T

When opening a restaurant - one must make sure the first few opening days are properly prepared. There is no excuse for bad service because you are busy. They are also wasting our precious time being so late with the orders.

Great report Nonnie, perhaps they will take more efforts to improve their service.

Bruneimi said...

My friend and I went to the restaurant yesterday. I can't agree more on the unprofessional service of the staff and so-so quality of the food. I personally get offended as the server who came to our table to clear the same plate (hello, we are not done yet) 3 times. Based on my food and beverage experience, that is a Big No-No. Will I ever go again? Not till i hear reliable source indciate that it is ready.

moNtel said...

Which one is the certified halal establishment? E or K? Anybody knows?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nonnie King said...

Please anonymous (the one above), I don't mind you commenting but I do mind if you're using foul words and drag my grandma in to it.

She's now very sick and needs rest. Leave her alone.

I don't usually delete comments but I'm sorry, yours definitely has to go to the bin.

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