Haven Delights is trying to mimic the success of Tao. While early reviewers have had good comments about this place, this place has seriously underwent some backward changes. A rival to Tao it definitely isn’t in its current management.
Location. People have been known to go out of their way to find good food so, not having a great location (i.e. Gurney Plaza, Queensbay Mall, etc) isn’t a big downer. It is still situated in a shopping mall, Times Square Penang. What’s not so great about its location is that Tao is opening just around the corner from it. Can it stand a chance against what is arguably the one of the best value Japanese/Asian buffet in town? Click next to continue reading or click next and scroll to the end to see the three word summary.
Price. With online vouchers priced at RM28 nett per person and promising a luxury food spread that rivals Tao, it managed to attract a lot of buyers, 3366 to be exact in its first round of online vouchers which is just expiring and a second round is on the way (here) and garnering some attention too. However, it you were to pay the usual price of RM49.90 quoted, I would really recommend you to go to Tao. Even at RM28, the food quality is inconsistent as there are some who gave good reviews while a majority gave bad reviews (see the comments on Ezivoucher deal currently underway).
Food. This is one area where it really failed me. The food were either too salty, too bland, too hard or not fresh. But, credit has to be given where credit is due. There were some exceptions where the food quality was acceptable. But those were the exceptions and not the norm. Even ordering the same dish twice returned different results. As an example, the first sashimi ordered was not fresh with the salmon having some blackness. The second sashimi ordered which came later had fresher fish. This shows that either the first plate was pre-prepared and not well kept or that the preparations were just inconsistent.
There is supposed to be a counter where they have some appetizers, fried rice, fruits, fried noodles, drinks and miso soup. Well, the counter is present but once the food or drinks run out, they are never refilled. A quick query with the staff was returned with the answer that the chefs are too busy preparing other food and have no time. This is simply inexcusable. Those were supposed to be available for everyone and should have been prepared for it. Especially when they demand that customers make bookings three days earlier. I cannot accept that they did not prepare for it when they had at least three days prior notice of how many customers were going to dine in their restaurant that day. Or perhaps they did not even bother.
Do not be fooled by the pictures of foods on the voucher pages. Rarely are they served in those beautiful looking dishes and looking so expertly prepared. One example is the sushi that we had. It looked very hastily prepared and really disappointed. While in every case, the photos are just illustrations and the real product may vary. In this case, do not believe the photos at all.
Some side notes, the restaurant was poorly managed the night I went to dine. There were a grand total of three persons waiting the tables, two of them kids, probably the owner’s children and very possibly underaged. I had pity for the two young children as it was not really their fault that the service was bad and food was bad. They could be seen hurrying from kitchen to table all night long as they brought out dish after dish that was prepared. In contrast however, the chefs in the kitchen did not have a sense of urgency to them. They could be seen taking their time preparing the dishes and even then, the dishes did not turn out well. Were they trainee chefs recruited out from a college? I don’t know.
A point also has to be made about the food service. At times, the right orders were delivered and at other times, your orders simply vanished without as much as an explanation. Food service was also slow for whichever dish is served to you. However, if one of your dishes came, at least you know that a few more of yours is coming. If I had to guess, they had mistakenly delivered some dishes to other patrons and in some cases, the dishes were just out of stock. We only found out that the tempura is out of stock after patiently waiting (compared to other patrons who were standing in front of the kitchen demanding where were their food) for it before asking one of the young children to check for us. I really feel for the children as they had to face some not so gracious customers and answer questions which I’m sure they were not equipped to deal with.
Overall, even at RM28, I cannot recommend this buffet to anyone except those who are willing to take the risk. Be prepared that it will not be a good meal. Indeed, most patrons of the restaurants were those who had already bought the vouchers and did not want them to go to waste. Perhaps a few patrons saw the “crowd” in the restaurant and were misled in. I’m sorry that you were fooled.
On a last note, perhaps those who gave good feedback and reviews were those who went there early enough and whilst it was empty enough for the full staff to take care of their demands in a timely manner. For everyone else, we were greatly let down.
If all the above were too much to read, here’s the three word summary: DO NOT GO!
Photos can be found here.