Orchard Rd restaurant diners order vegetables on waitress' suggestion, charged S$72 for 1 plate

An expensive farewell lunch for departing colleagues.

Nigel Chua | November 12, 2022, 11:40 AM

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A group of diners hosted two of their colleagues for a farewell lunch at a restaurant in Orchard Road.

They ordered dim sum for a table of eight diners and paid a total of S$533.16 for the meal.

What shocked them, however, was the S$72 price tag for one of the dishes.

The dish in question was a plate of vegetables, indicated on the receipt as "蒜蓉炒豆苗(大)" (Or, "dou miao fried with minced garlic (large)").

One of the diners, Kay (not her real name), shared her experience with Mothership.

The S$72 dish of 蒜蓉炒豆苗(大) (dou miao fried with minced garlic (large)). Photo provided by Kay.

Kay shared that it was her first time at the restaurant, Paradise Teochew at Takashimaya, on Nov. 2.

The group decided to order dim sum, and decided to add on some items from the à la carte menu.

They chose Teochew seafood mee sua for the noodle dish, and wanted to order a vegetable dish as well.

According to Kay, their waitress chimed in to recommend the dou miao, which was not listed on the menu.

As Kay recalls: "She suggested and said something like 'today we have a dou miao dish, would you like to try it?'"

The group agreed to the waitress' suggestion without asking the price.

Not regular dou miao

When the dish arrived, the group realised that it was not regular dou miao — which tends to have smaller shoots and leaves compared to what they had been served.

Still, she recalls that the dish "tasted good", and was up to their expectations.

Group only realises dish cost S$72 afterwards

"We didn't really scrutinise the receipt so we just paid," said Kay.

As the lunch was a treat for the two departing colleagues, the bill was split among the other six.

The group only realised later on, after leaving the restaurant, that they had paid S$72 for the dou miao dish.

"'What the f**k?!' was our reaction when we first saw the bill," Kay said. "We were caught off-guard and were shocked."

While Kay acknowledges the group did not ask the price when they ordered, they felt that the restaurant should have been more transparent with their pricing and informed the customers of the price before confirming the order.

Vegetable dishes on Paradise Teochew's menu are priced between S$22 and S$32, and only come in one portion size, "Regular".

Vegetable menu from Paradise Teochew's website.

Restaurant responds

In a statement to Mothership, a Paradise Group spokesperson said it "would like to apologise for any miscommunication that led to this incident."

The spokesperson explained that the dish, pea sprouts, is an "off-the-menu seasonal item". It was recommended to the customer as pea sprouts are currently in season.

"The pea sprouts are imported from Hong Kong, which is why the price is slightly higher than the other vegetables offered in the menu," explained the spokesperson.

The dish served to the group was a large portion, and charged at two times the price of a regular portion.

"In this case, a regular portion of the pea sprouts is priced at S$36, similar to other vegetable dishes in the menu," said Paradise Group.

As for the fact that the diners were not warned of the higher-than-usual price, Paradise Group said its SOP was "to always inform customers of the prices for seasonal items."

"We apologise if this has not been clearly communicated," said the spokesperson.

Kay, responding to Paradise Group's statement, reiterated that they were not informed of the pricing before making the order.

"I'm sure we wouldn't have gone ahead to order it if we were made aware of the pricing," she said, and agreed that if staff remembered to inform customers of the prices of off-the-menu items, this would prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

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Top image courtesy of Mothership reader Kay