The moment I stepped in fond memories of dining at TRI about five, six years ago were back (I was certain Poem and TRI were related once I saw Poem’s cutlery set—which remained the same!). During those days The Pulse in Repulse Bay was still relatively empty with few restaurants to pick from, and when we wanted a quick bite close to home we often went to TRI. TRI was beautiful—featuring lots of bamboo and rattan, reflecting Bali’s Hindu and Javanese traditions. Poem’s interior exudes a similar style, although it is no doubt smaller. The restaurant layout also follows from Lily & Bloom (although this is no longer a duplex) and so one gets a strange melange of déjà vu. As far as weekend brunches go, however, Poem is without doubt a gorgeous place to take anyone to.
When we arrived at reception, there was nobody to welcome us, and we had to wait a minute or two before someone finally noticed us. This lack of attentiveness was an issue throughout our meal, where we had to actively seek out the attention of servers who were too busy to clear our plates. Even the bartender right in front of us (we were seated at the counter) would be too occupied to establish eye contact with us and help out with anything.
For brunch, starters are shared between the party and then one gets to pick a main course from five options (one vegetarian). The price is $498 with free flow alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (we suspect the free flow is what is causing the endless rounds made by staff who then become too busy to do anything else). If I was ever asked for a suggestion to improve the experience, I would suggest offering the option of brunch without free flow alcohol because many of us turn up to Saturday and Sunday brunches after a heavy night of drinking. I might also mention that our main courses came exactly thirty minutes after our starters were finished, and this is despite the fact that I have specifically requested to staff at an early stage that the main courses be served as soon as possible.
Food-wise, we thought everything was pretty tasty overall, Ingredients were fresh with interesting flavours and spices and there was a fine balance between South-East Asian and global influences. Portion sizes are small, which is perfect for both of us. I am definitely tempted to return for the à la carte where there is a greater range of options to choose from. But if the team continues to be so lacking in hospitality and professionalism, that would probably be my last visit.
5/F, LKF Tower, Central