CHIJMES Cosafe Maid Cafe Review7 December, 2009
As mentioned in an earlier post on the AreYouBeingServed initiative, PassportChop is on a mission to test the service standards and professionalism of waitresses in a maid-themed cafe. We have selected Cosafe Maid Cafe at CHIJMES (not to be confused with another Anime Festival Maid Cafe – Moe Moe Kyun which we dined at last Saturday) to carry out our mission.
We visited the cafe on a Saturday evening (around 7pm) when there were 4 waitresses (dressed in French Maid costumes) on duty. Customers can either choose to dine al fresco or inside the cafe which has the features of a fine-dining establishment i.e. dimly-lit, crisp white table cloths, properly set table with a series of different cutlery, impressive collection of fine wine in the wine list, complicated-sounding and expensive menu.
We decided to test whether their service standards meet that of a fine-dining establishment so we chose to sit inside. Furthermore, the menu is the same whether you dine al fresco or in the restaurant and the interior was air-conditioned – a plus point considering how hot and humid the weather was.
Despite having a fine-dining atmosphere, there seemed to be no requirement for customers to be dressed formally in the restaurant. We were still allowed in despite me wearing shirt and jeans (I had expected a more casual dining environment in the cafe).
We played multiple roles of a difficult customer to test the service standards of the waitresses:
Indecisive Customer – Not Sure Where to Sit
We were escorted to a table but we tried to be difficult by being picky and indecisive about where to sit (There was only one couple in the restaurant and lots of seats to choose from). The waitress was quick to react and suggested a table by a cosy, romantic corner of the restaurant which we eventually agreed. At the table, she also held the chair for my lady dining companion as she sat down. Looks like the Cosafe waitress was well-trained in services for a fine dining establishment – Escorting patrons to the table and holding the chair for women.
Indecisive Customer – Not Sure What to Eat
The waitress who served us, was patient and professional in handling our order. I ordered a beef steak main course and pretended to be clueless about the different cuts of beef e.g. Tenderloin, Sirloin and the different degree of cooking – Rare, Medium, Well-done and the in-betweens e.g. Medium-Rare. She was patient enough to explain to me quickly and made good recommendations based on my preferences. She was also able to explain the menu items clearly without any notes and asking another waitress.
Insistent Customer – Going Against Restaurant Policy of “No Tap Water Served”
We noted that bottled still and sparkling water was on the menu – which most likely meant that tap water would not be served. Nonetheless, we tried asking her and insisted for tap water. She politely explained that the restaurant only serves bottled water and suggested that we try certain wines which would complement the taste of our meals.
Satisfied with her professionalism and patience, we ordered the following main course with our Ice Lemon Tea ($6) and Sprite ($5).
- Tournedos Rossini – a Classic pan roasted Wagyu deglazed with foie gras jus served with seasonal vegetables and lingonberries ($38)
- Chilean Cod Fish – Slow oven baked Chilean cod served with wild mushroon risotto and seasonal vegetable ($36)
Demanding Customer – Proper Serving Etiquette
For our next test, we will just be observing if the waitress serves food in the correct manner i.e.
- Food should be served to the guests first on the waitress’ left with her left hand
- The plate should be rotated such that the protein (as opposed to the vegetable or starch) is closest to the guest
- Beverages should be served from the right with the right hand
Our food took about 25 minutes to arrive (understandably so with the preparation of such dishes). When our courses were served, the waitress apologized for the wait (although there’s no need to) and met all the above requirements in serving food, even the meticulous rotation of the plate such that the protein (in our case, the beef and fish) is closest to us.
Hungry and Critical Customer – Food Presentation and Taste
The food – presentation and taste-wise, was excellent – well-worth the price. The side dishes (vegetables, risotto, mashed potato) complemented the beef and fish perfectly. The servings were also adequate – we had to abandon our plans for dessert as we were so full from the yummy main courses.
Demanding Customer – Special Requests for Sauces and New Cutlery
Despite being seated in a corner quite far away from the bar counter, the waitresses were quick to react to any assistance we might require e.g. replacement of utensils and request for sauces. All these requests were fulfilled promptly with a smile, making us feel really comfortable.
Photography-Mad Customer – Requests to Take Photos with Maid Waitresses
After settling the bill, we tried asking the waitresses to be photographed with us. Surprisingly, they obliged to our requests and would suggest places with nice backgrounds for the photos. They even gave their most kawaii (cute) pose for the photos! They really went the extra mile in their services at Cosafe Maid Cafe. Kudos to them!
Relating back to the earlier post where we sought to test service standards at Cosafe Maid Cafe:
Service Standards compared to Authentic Akihabara Maid Cafes
- Are they dressed up as French Maids (or any other maid costumes)?
- Are customers referred to as either Master (goshujinsama) or Mistress (ojōsama)?
- No, but we were greeted as Good evening, Sir/Madam as with any other dining establishment
- Are customers greeted with the customary “Welcome home, Master” (Okaerinasaimase, goshujinsama) upon entering the restaurant?
- Are there extra optional services e.g. Polaroid photo-taking (in any permutation – with maid or other maids or customers + decoration of the Polaroid), Playing card or video games?
- No, but the waitresses agreed to take photos with us and even gave us helpful suggestions for places where the photos will turn out nice.
- Is yummy Japanese food e.g. omurice served and decorated with maid’s loving touch?
- No Japanese food available in the menu
- No Japanese food available in the menu
Service Standards compared to typical Singaporean Restaurants
- Are the service staff knowledgeable on what’s available in the menu and able to make recommendations based on customers’ preferences?
- Yes, they could explain what’s on the menu and provide good recommendations.
- Are they patient enough to accommodate special requests about food e.g. more sauces, exclusion of certain ingredients?
- Yes, we tested them in a number of areas e.g. can’t decide where to sit and what to eat and they had been patient enough to explain and make useful suggestions.
- Are they professional in their service e.g. getting customers’ orders correct?
- Yes, even the serving of food is carried out professionally.
Verdict: If you are looking for an authentic Japanese Akihabara Maid Cafe experience, you might be disappointed as you will not find it here but if you want good service with good food at a fine-dining establishment, Cosafe Maid Cafe will be a good place to start.
We rate Cosafe Maid Cafe @ CHIJMES:
- Food (standards comparable to typical fine-dining establishment) : 3.5/5
- Ambiance (quiet and romantic ambiance – could also dine al fresco): 4/5
- Service (Excellent – read above review): 4/5
- Location (near City Hall MRT): 4/5
- Value (rather expensive): 3/5
Map of CHIJMES Cosafe Maid Cafe
This article is featured on AreYouBeingServed website as a reader mission.