phone: 868-223- CHIC (2442)
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This may seem very bizarre in the world of reviews and reviewers and believe me when I say, I have thought about this and tried to reconcile it several times in my head before deciding to post this addendum to the review which I had written a few weeks ago on Dream Ultra Lounge and Bar.
By nature I am very open to learning new things and am extremely eager to get facts straight and this is what has prompted me to make this post today. If you haven’t read my initial review on Dream, please take the time to read it as I will refer to that post during this addendum so as to clarify my opinions and experiences at Dream.
I decided to take to ‘paper and pen’ today because I feel like I owe everyone reading my blog and especially my reviews, the truth. I am unbiased in my opinions and serve only to be a vehicle of truth and honesty here at thehiddencook.com and as such feel utterly compelled to make an addendum to my previous review.
I re-visited Dream for dinner a few nights ago with my family and all I can say is that some of my previously noted ‘cons’ have seriously caught up with the people behind Dream. I’ve also read some comments and other reviews of Dream and have to say that I completely agree with many of the ‘cons’ observed by fellow patrons. Like some of the other commenters, I too visited Dream at dinner time with my family, including of course my toddler. To say that I was disappointed would be a euphemism! After rating Dream’s service, food and decor a high 8.75/10 there was very little that night that garnered that score- in fact, nothing did.
First off, we too were seated in the upper mezzanine- the justification for which is beyond my comprehension- which as one person said and I have to agree, is a ‘death trap for children’. If the owners desire a ‘no children’ policy then I think they would be better off stating that since putting children upstairs is clearly not a feasible idea. The other issue I had, being a second time diner, is that the portion sizes, tastes and presentation of the food at Dream has been vastly altered. In my initial post I actually applauded the portion sizes, flavors and prices of the food items, this time…not so much. The portions have decreased, the items- for instance in the chunky vegetable add-on have changed- broccoli and cauliflower have now mainly been replaced by the more economical carrots and cabbage, and the presentation is appalling. We too were handed hot plates in our hands, menus were thrown on the table instead of being handed to us, when we asked about non-alcoholic drinks, like juices, one of the waitresses clearly did not know which juices were available, the food arrived in such a haphazard manner that side dishes were brought out long before mains arrived, steak was overcook-waiters never asked how we’d like our steak done- sauces weren’t brought to the table to accompany main dishes. I mean, this is a place I had been to once before (and on the same day of the week mind you) and I had almost nothing negative to say, this time it was as though I had woken up in some sort of Dream clone-the bad edition!
I am not going to go much further with my qualms about this place. Suffice it to say I am hoping that management:
- Seeks the opinions of their patrons and really listens to constructive criticisms- Dream, your reputation is only as good as your last diner’s experience
- Trains their staff to be more formal- your staff simply does not suit your establishment. If you have a place decked out to look exclusive and expensive (even if you didn’t) you need to train your staff to be more vigilant about their diners. Orders that take 30 minutes to arrive to the table on a night where tables are virtually empty should at least be RIGHT! You cannot be giving people fish when they ask for beef and vice versa, that is purely unacceptable.
- You need to be consistent with your portion sizes and more importantly the taste of your food- there is no good reason to have one meal one week taste superb and then the following week be salty or bland, tough and rubbery. Where is the consistency?
- If your intent is to have an adults only lounge then please, indicate that. Don’t chuck the children up into an area that isn’t even safe for them and then tack on 10% extra!
- If items aren’t available, please inform the wait staff and let them mention that when patrons arrive and are seated- over 3 items weren’t available the night we dined; one of the guests we took actually got do disgruntled he gave up trying to order anything and just left.
In closing, I would like to say that although I was thoroughly aghast at the seeming decline in quality and service in the space of 3 weeks, my motivation for writing this addendum is not to ridicule and criticize Dream, but rather to inform and hopefully uplift it. I would really like to see this place grow into something better than it is right now so that South patrons could have the variety and option of dining and liming somewhere other than the usual suspects. I feel that a lot of work needs to be done in order for that to be achieved.
I trust that anyone reading this will appreciate that I put a lot of energy into writing reviews and getting good, positive information about Trinidad and Tobago-dining, food, entertainment and places of interest- out there. I take this very seriously since I know that my credibility is all that I can offer using this blog as a forum for information. That being said, I work to bring the raw truth to anyone reading since I know you may potentially ‘take my word’ and choose to dine/visit somewhere or not. I will neither review a product or service of someone or something that I am in any way associated since I feel that my opinion may become inadvertently biased nor will I take the opinions of others and use them for my own personal views here at thehiddencook.com.
Ultimately, what I strive to do is present a picture – in an unbiased, objective way to everyone reading this blog. In the end it is my hope that dining in Trinidad and Tobago becomes on par with that of larger cities like New York, London and Paris and the only way for that to happen is by owners and managers of restaurants listening to their patrons and fixing flaws so that dining can be elevated in our country. I do not intend to be negative in any way and hope that that is conveyed in my writing, since my desire is to always applaud the positives in any product/service.
This experience has been a learning one for me as it has taught me to visit an establishment a few times well before committing to writing a review; in fact, I will openly state that ‘any restaurant review will only be written after dining/eating at/from said restaurant on at least two occasions.’
So, I’m excited about this one; Dream ultra lounge and bar has been open for less than one month now and I’m getting the opportunity to do a review! I’m not in any way, shape or form affiliated with Dream Ultra lounge- again, simply went there, ordered, dined and left (remember Bacco Pizzeria Italiana review?)
My good friend called me up out of the blue and invited me out for lunch, with limited ideas but a plethora of excitement (we hadn’t seen each other for months!), we called up some people and asked them for ideas. It was my husband who suggested Dream- we’d heard of it but hadn’t gotten the opportunity to dine there since it’s opening- my friend and I were game.
So this is the low down- the location is good, it’s pretty central- I mean everything is central in South- the parking is sufficient and the opening hours acceptable. The one problem I had right off the bat was the entrance. There isn’t proper signage and the heavy industrial gates make you question whether you’ve found the right place. There were no directions saying this way or that so it’s just a little bit confusing.
Once inside you’re greeted by a hostess who shows you to your seats. The decor is modern and sleek with a very sexy color palette- warm burnt oranges and vibrant cherry reds intertwined with subtle taupes and creams, the smooth jazzy tunes blaring in the background only add to the sultry atmosphere- I mean, it is a lounge! You immediately notice the ‘lofty’ feel- an open mezzanine with tables and chairs overlooking the open floor space, cable wired stair cases and highly polished tiled floors- you can easily envision a ‘pumping’ Friday/Saturday night after work lime or fete.
The staff are very friendly and somewhat informal- giving patrons a sort of ease of dining if you will. It took me by surprise since I could very naturally see a more formal type exchange between waiter/waitress and diner in an establishment outfitted to the nines like this one. Either way, what counts for me is an attentive, clean, well-mannered waiter/waitress- which I had.
Now for the most important thing of all- the food.
The menu is simple offering a few choice items- which in my opinion makes sense for a lounge. There isn’t much frill or fru-fru to the menu items- unpretentious and to the point. It’s almost as though the head chef, when creating his menu was saying “you want Thai red curry? Well, here it is. You can get it with shrimp, chicken, fish etc etc. That’s it. You’re done. Choose and move on.” I like that. There aren’t pages upon pages of menu items (in fact, it’s a flat menu card- one for drinks and one for food) and noticeably missing were dessert items.
We weren’t offered or given a ‘soft drink’ menu, which I found a slight bit strange. Are we meant to have hard liquor only? Well, we did!
We both chose Mojitos- not the hardest hard, but who’s checking?
When it came to our choices for food we decided to share everything- there was the Thai coconut mint soup, Emperor wings with sweet/spicy sauce (baked not fried), Chicken alfredo and Thai red curry shrimp. Everything was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! The tastes were subtle, never intrusive, the spice was perfectly adjusted to suite the discerning Trini palette and the quantity? Nobody could even try to accuse Dream of small portion sizes- I felt like a child at a swinging party- party bag in tow when leaving. I left with more food in my stomach and doggy bag than I had had when I entered, how could that ever be a bad thing?
As good as the meal was overall, these are the minor adjustments I would make or at least take into consideration:
- The main Thai meals(and I’m guessing the ‘Western Style side of the menu is the same) don’t come with built in sides so you find yourself ordering a dish and having to ‘add- on’ (aptly named ‘add-ons’ on the menu) rice or vegetables or whatnot. I find this inconvenient as a diner. I would prefer to have a complete meal as a main since the brain behind the planning (the chef) will know what goes best with what.
- Although the items in the stir-fry vegetables were varied and delicious, cooked to perfection, some of them were very salty as though salt was added at the end and not fully incorportated.
- The presentation could be improved upon. The soup was brought out with the spoon already submerged- I don’t fancy this- unless it’s some small ‘hole in the wall’ eatery. I’d prefer to have my spoon on the table and as the food is brought to me I’d use it.
- A ‘soft drink‘ non alcoholic menu should be given to diners.
- The music could be a bit lower and the lighting a bit brighter. I’m no authority on ‘good restaurant practices’ but I think it’s safe to say that when one dines, one must be able to visualize one’s food in totality.
In all fairness to Dream Ultra Lounge and Bar however, they are newly opened so these little details might well be fixed in due course and my lists are my own and based on my dining preferences so that’s something to bare in mind.
However this is my verdict…
I would definitely recommend Dream Ultra Lounge and Bar!
Here is the breakdown:
- Very clean and furnished to a high standard
- Very reasonable prices especially for the large portion sizes- Dream, don’t get bright and change this!
- Very romantic (although I would quicker say, sexy) atmosphere- turn on the charm gentlemen
- Very tasty, well cooked meals- the chef certainly knows what he/she is doing
- Affable staff
- Menu is simple without too many distractions
- The food was brought to the table very quickly
- Bathrooms are highly sanitized
- Card machine was giving trouble- slight inconvenience but no big deal, I think they’re working on it- the manager was extremely apologetic and I see this as a minor con, for now.
- Could be a bit brighter during dining hours
- Music could be a bit lower during dining hours
- Non-alcoholic menus should be given as well
- Main dishes should be served with at least one side
- Entrance should be clearly marked and signed
Overall I would give Dream Ultra Lounge and Bar a rating of 8.75/10Dream Ultra Lounge & Bar: Gulf View, Trinidad
phone: 868-223- CHIC (2442)
dream facebook Find Dream here on the web