Since many months ago, I have become a huge fan of Cedele, in particular the bakery. They have really awesome cakes as well that I love and allow myself the occasional indulge when I am feeling in need of some sugary treats. But their breads are what I enjoy most about this place, and is my preferred choice of meal for dinner during the weekends. Aside from their sandwiches, I have also started trying their soups which come with a free-flow of a variety of breads that you could pick and choose to go with the order of soup.
Generally, as I have noticed, there are four soup options available at the bakery cafes that I visit, and on a previous occasion I have ordered the pumpkin soup which I thought was really nice. A small portion usually suffice for me because my main interest is of course the bread, and a couple of slices to go with the small bowl already makes for a rather hearty dinner. The usual outlet that I go to at Novena Square was unfortunately closed for renovation when I popped by the other day; even though that outlet is really small, it is not that hard to get a seat during the weekend evenings because somehow most people who go there throng the cafe during tea-time hours for their cake-and-coffee promotion, and probably they would have dinner elsewhere at the other restaurants within the mall. It is really conveniently-located right above Novena MRT, so the lazy me usually make a beeline for it upon exiting the station.
With it closed (and I forgot to check when it would re-open, most likely to occupy a larger space as it seemed to have taken over the unit next to it too), I had to either settle for something else in Novena Square/Velocity/Square 2, or take a slightly longer walk over to United Square where I recalled was another Cedele Bakery Cafe. I chose the latter. United Square on weekends is kind of like an amusement park, with its tenant mix catering to kids and their parents. But Cedele is situated in a corner so it is spared a little of that hustle-bustle, despite it being right opposite the exit of Cold Storage. Or maybe I didn’t notice the noise and buzz because I took a seat in the inner corner of the shop. It was pretty ill-timed for me, because it appeared like this part of United Square was also undergoing some sort of facelift since one part of the cafe was walled up with planks and I could hear some drilling on the other side.
Ok to the point, finally! I wanted to order soup and they had four choices, Beef Stew, Wild Mushroom, Moroccan Spiced Carrot and Clam Chowder. Amongst these, I only wanted the Wild Mushroom but it was sold out. The server was trying to sell me all the other options (except the Beef Stew, which according to her had no more beef and only contained vegetables e.g. potatoes, carrots, etc.) but I wasn’t really keen so I settled for the beef-less Beef Stew.
It was actually still quite ok, because I didn’t particularly want to have beef stew, and a vegetable stew was fine except that of course I was still paying for a “vegetarian” beef stew. That day, the bread options available were rather limited and disappointing but at least it wasn’t all white bread.
To make myself feel better at the less-than-stellar soup/bread choice I had, since I was tired and didn’t want to head somewhere else, I ordered a dessert to go along with the soup; a blueberry/strawberry tart. I quite like the tart base and the fruits on top but then the custard part of the tart isn’t something I’m so fond of. It’s not that it is too sweet but I think I wasn’t in the mood for custard that day.
And I thought the whole experience in the cafe wasn’t very good. While I was waiting, there was a lady ahead of me placing a takeaway order, and the cashier was probably quite new and inexperienced because she was finding difficulty entering the various promotional orders that the lady made. Another staff was trying to help her at the register, and a third person, possibly the outlet manager, who was busy in the midst of preparing sandwiches, was shouting across at the top of her voice in a reprimanding tone. It was all in very bad taste for customers who could see everything in plain view since the counter was essentially open, and even passers-by could witness it all. After all the mayhem, they then look at the customer at the counter, offered a smile and apologised, which I thought was already pointless. I had a similar encounter at the Novena Square outlet once too, where the outlet manager, in her eagerness to clear the growing queue, was shouting orders to her staff. In that small space that they occupy, all this shouting that is meant to be “behind the counter” just mars any enjoyment for customers.
I love Cedele, and I really hope they would be able to do something about these kind of situations that I have encountered quite often. Even service at some other outlets I visited leaves much to be desired. It will be a pity if the establishment suffers not because of its F&B offerings but due to its lack of proper staffing.