Headed to Shima for my birthday lunch this year with Bunny!
Haven’t been there for the longest time, I think the last time I went was with my mum years ago. So I was truly looking forward to relive the good times (and of course the food!) haha.
Much has changed though, and I must say I was definitely appalled by their customer service. We were late for our reservation and worried that they might be ‘full’, I went ahead to make a later time slot booking via Chope. Received a call from Shima to check if we were still fulfilling the reservation, I informed them we were running late and also of the Chope reservation I made, only to be met with a ‘yeah whatever’ reply from the man over the phone. You can imagine how shocked i was. But with the intention of not spoiling my birthday lunch, decided to look past it.
When we eventually got to Shima, we were greeted by their staff (Henry) and was attended by him. Told him about my phone conversation and asked who could possibly be the person tending to the phone calls and he clarified that it should be this man called Clinton.
After being seated we noticed they had ongoing Love Dining promotions with Amex and before we could ask/find out more about it, Henry told us this is for the real Amex card. Horrors of horror, what was that supposed to mean?! Like the man over the phone wasn’t bad enough, we questioned what he was trying to say? Fortunately we found out it was just a misunderstanding, as Henry explained he wasn’t exactly fluent in English as he speaks more Japanese and have spent the past years in japan. He was actually trying to tell us that the regular buffet menu was of more value than the Amex promo for lunches.
Having cleared the misunderstanding, we started our lunch! First up were the starters, prawn tempura, shishamo, salmon sashimi and a portion of Makimono sushi (can’t recall what was in it).
Followed by the garlic teppanyaki prawns. These were really good! Bouncy and fragrant buttery garlic prawns. Think we had 3 more portions of that after. Haha.
The teriyaki salmon and chicken were less impressive. Salmon was a tad bit overdone, not overly dry but just seemed to fail the expectations that I had for Shima. The chicken, according to Bunny, tasted like it was simply coated with a layer of instant teriyaki sauce. I ordered another portion, but this time without the sauce, tasted much better though. Probably also cuz I usually prefer my meats without sauces. Haha.
Next up was the beef, diced and done medium-rare, served alongside fried garlic slices. Beefy and tender, this was also something we ordered extra portions of. Like that it was done without any sauce as well.
The side of stirfried mixed vegetables was very passable, as well as the miso soup and garlic fried rice. Nothing to fault, nothing that impressed. The meal ended with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
One thing to highlight and note though, was amidst the displeasure in service, there was a more elderly Japanese waitstaff who was really nice and prompt in service. His presence really helped clear up the bad experiences at the start.
I guess I had higher hopes and expectations from Shima, likely due to the memory and experiences I had from when I was much younger. The fact that lunch started out on such a bad note didn’t help. But for $49.90 per pax for a teppanyaki buffet, I must say it is of value. Hopefully, if there is actually a next visit, the service would’ve improved.