I don’t live anywhere near the West (i.e. Jurong and beyond) and rarely have the opportunity to head that way. Since I had the day off on Thursday, mum suggested that we check out the new JEM mall and Westgate. Since we’ve never been there and the crowds at JEM should have eased by now (what’s with Singaporeans and the world flocking to a new mall the moment it opens? I don’t get it), we decided to head West.
Here’s a heads-up: I don’t really like shopping unless I have something I need to buy. I find it rather mind-numbing to walk along air-conditioned aisles for hours and staring into rows and rows of shops. I also don’t have much patience for shopping, i.e. looking through racks and racks of clothes to find clothes that I vaguely like, then try them on at the dressing room. I personally find trying on clothes really tiring! Also, I have adverse reactions towards huge crowds where everyone’s pushing and shoving and there’s people in my face everywhere I look. Explains why I try and avoid shopping malls on weekends and public holidays.
So anyway, we drove to JEM and thankfully, parking wasn’t an issue. I have to add that we arrived at about 11am+ so it was considered pretty early for a weekday. This means that the aisles were pretty empty and shop keepers were eager to serve you – the best! Despite my disdain for shopping, I must say that JEM was pretty darn impressive for a “heartland” mall. For one, I thought that it was HUGE! Mum and I actually spent about 5 hours (!) at JEM itself. It is split into 2 separate areas so that can be be a little confusing at times. I love that they have a huge Robinson store as well as Marks & Spencer. I can see how the Westsiders no longer need to travel to town to do their shopping.
We took a much-needed tea break at Paris Baguette. The seating area was really small so it was packed. Thankfully, the server in-charge of the tables found us an empty table for 2 pax. That’s mum’s mushroom thingy and my chocolate croissant (yummy!).
Without going into details (because I’m too lazy), let’s just say that the food is good but the service leaves a lot to be desired. It seems to be staffed by eager but clueless students on their part-time holiday job. Also, there’s a strange system where we tried to order pastry to take away and one of the servers rolled her eyes and repeated: Those are for display only. Not real. Please order at the cashier. However, you could totally order the same pastries for eating-in.
Weird service aside, Mum remarked that the mango pudding is good though. She ate it all up happily. Ha.
Anyway, my random but important observation: There were loads of wooden benches outside the toilets so that people can sit and wait for whoever’s still in there – very good! Also, there were MANY cubicles at the ladies’ toilet and best of all, paper towels are provided! That was definitely a nice touch. Not sure how long this will last before kiasu Singaporeans start stealing ’em towels by the truckloads. Pffffft.
We also walked across the link bridge to check out Westgate (took us a while to figure out where the link bridge was though – the mall directory wasn’t very helpful).
Most of the shops aren’t open yet so I guess if you want to check it out, you may want to wait it out for a while. There is an entire non-airconditioned annex just for F&B alone. Interestingly, Tim Ho Wan already had a queue when we walked past it at about 5pm+. Side note: Don’t get the fuss about Tim Ho Wan. The only thing that was yummy are the char siew buns. Everything else failed in comparison to the rest of the dim sum places we have.
We walked past a restaurant called Osaka Ohsho. There were pictures after pictures of gyozas and my eyes glazed over. I LOVE GYOZAS. CANNOT RESIST GYOZAS. So we headed in there and ordered some gyozas.
Phwah, each table came equipped with an iPad Mini for you to place your orders. Very good!
Check out ’em gyozas. It did not disappoint and was YUMS! I have to also say that their service recovery was good. I discovered a tiny bit of hair (eeeeew) in my 2nd last gyozas and politely pointed it out to the server (note: Always be kind and nice to the person serving your food. ALWAYS).
He was very apologetic and even came back to inform us that they are making us a new batch. I told him that we can’t eat another 6 gyozas and just 2 more will do (i.e. what we left). In the end, we were given 3 fresh-out-of-the-pan gyozas and he apologised again. Excellent!
We finally left the West at about 5.30pm so as not to get caught in the evening traffic. I must say that it was a pretty fun “excursion” to the West! It might have been a different story if it was a weekend, I’m sure.