I'm slow at trying out new restaurants. I generally don't go to a new restaurant within the first 3 or even 6 months of opening, as I'm not a news reporter and don't need to brag about being first. I also have zero desire to 'step on landmines' - spending my hard-earned money on a meal that may turn out disastrous. After all, many new restaurant openings are so hyped up by the PR machine - helped by so-called "KOLs" (what the fuck are those, anyway?) who readily spread the word (more likely images these days) after being invited by the restaurant. So I wait for the hype to die down, and if people are still talking about the place, and if my friends have given me enough positive feedback, I may be curious enough to try it out for myself.
The Great One had raved about La Bombance after dining there a few months ago. In fact, it was chosen as one of the five best (new) restaurants the South China Morning Post tried in 2016. The fact that the original restaurant in Tokyo has itself a macaron, and the local partner has already backed Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟) and Ta Vie旅 - both restaurants I love - also gave me confidence that this place could deliver. So I rounded up a couple of friends to check it out together.
I had already told the restaurant at the time I made the reservation that two of us won't eat tuna. This morning I was shocked to find out that one of the friends we invited was in pain from gout. This meant that there were a whole host of ingredients he couldn't touch. I called the restaurant about 3 hours before dinner, and read out the list of ingredients that were off limits. It was a pretty last-minute notice, so we weren't expecting them to be able to do much about changing the menu.
The assistant manager recognized me from my visits to Tenku RyuGin, which was a nice surprise. I always knew that I could be a real pain-in-the-ass customer who would be remembered by restaurant staff... After all, I don't go to Tenku RyuGin that frequently... Anyway, we were also told that the kitchen had managed to change out every single ingredient I had listed as being off-limits for my friend - and even taken care to remove another ingredient that they believed would be bad for gout. How's that for service?!