One of the restaurants that I never fail to vote for in The Miele Guide, is Excapade Sushi. It´s actually surprising how I have actually never written about this place before. My whole Japanese vocabulary was learnt from the menu. My host family in Japan, last year, always laugh when I can´t even pronounce (and at this very moment can´t even remember what it means) simple Japanese words like ¨daijobou¨ but can recite the ingredients of an okonomiyaki one by one in Japanese.
But digressing aside, I really like Excapade. Boipren and I have a running joke where whenever we encounter bad service from a restaurant waitress, we´d always remark, ¨mun kaja di Excapade kana gulung udah dalam nasi¨. In short, their service has become a hallmark that we measure other restaurants with.
My favorite branch remains the cozy and small Kiulap one. Sometimes I crave for a Japanese dinner, or am just feeling nostalgic and missing home in Fukushima, armed with a very good book, I enter the wooden doors. I´ve met many kinds of characters on the train, and many book genres too!
Today I met two more new characters in Excapade, Kiulap, the second branch. But first let me dissipate all the worry lines on your forehead: they´re not closing down the old Kiulap branch. This will be the 5th branch of Excapade Sushi in Brunei.
Anyway, back to the 2 new characters I met today, I really think that I need to write about them. Also, by now, if you´re still reading, I´m sure you know by now that this is not a food review.
They are two people we seldom think about whenever we take that bite of rice ball wrapped in inari, yet without them, we´d probably could only dream about the awesomeness that is dipping raw fish in wasabi and soy sauce. They are the two people who indirectly taught me my Japanese, using that picture encyclopaedia they call ¨Menu¨, the very successful owners of the Excapade franchise.
I was first of all, surprised to see how young they were. I´m not sure if I can use their names here, but let´s call them M & S. I´ve actually seen them around before this in my numerous visits to the Excapade branches, but I always dismiss them as waiters.
Wouldn´t you? I remember seeing M standing near the door, in Excapade Gadong once, greeting each and every single customer that came in and out of the restaurant, and all Excapade goers will know, that restaurant is always full. Sometimes a greeting is all a customer needs, and I´ve never seen a restaurant that has it´s owner opening doors for people. If that is how much he values customer service, then it is no wonder why Excapade´s waiters are some of the best in the country. They´re fast, they´re efficient, they´re friendly, and when they make mistakes, they´re very quick to apologise and get the matter resolved.
It was wonderful to see S too today. A petite lady, wearing a simple and light grey cashmere cardigan over a crisp white blouse and slate long pants. She looked her part: professional, practical and modest, yet her ponytail showed how she´s very down-to-earth. But let her sweet demeanor not fool anyone, if the 5 branches of Japanese restaurants is any evidence, clearly behind that soft smile, lay a sharp business mind.
Here is some trivia: do you know why there are 2 branches in Kiulap?
Answer: Well because after so many requests, they realised they need one branch that doesn´t require climbing 2 flight of stairs, and is big enough to accommodate wheelchairs. In other words, they need one that is handicap-friendly. No one should be deprived of tempura no mater how physically challenged they are!
The whole of Pusat Ehsan was invited for the soft opening today to illustrate this point. And they´re right, it got noisy as usual, as are all Excapade branches, but it was still roomy.
Try out the new Excapade Branch. A little different from the one in Gadong or Kiulap, but I like it. So before I end, here is some words said by the guy pictured above before he left:
Bye! So long!
All pictures are taken by Marul. 🙂
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