The only photograph I have of this restaurant and its siblings (Chez Petit Salut, Marina Bay and Holland Village) is its card. Dining nearby, we took the opportunity to check Au Petit Salut out for another time and bring a larger group with us. The welcoming smile of the receptionist quickly turned into a face approaching disgust when we asked whether they had any gluten-free options on their menu. She said we would need to call in advance to check whether the chef had anything he could make for me on the day, but there was no promise that would be possible. Also, we shouldn’t even think of booking online. How to make someone feel welcome…
I later checked Au Petit Salut’s evening menu. Curiously, if everything is made from scratch rather than the kitchen relying too much on processed foods, there should have been a couple of choices that would have been fine for me. This off-putting attitude might not reflect the view of the chef, or the care with which his kitchen prepares his food, but front-of-house is a crucial position and I can only assume that it is just too difficult to have to think about dietary needs and they don’t mind losing potential customers.
I think it is short sighted though. One in 100 people are coeliac (and need to dine g-f for medical reasons). As many as 1 in 20 are gluten intolerant. Add to that the fact that any restaurant selection may be dictated by the needs of even one member of a group. Why would you potentially turn that number away, especially when you are not very busy? After all when we dropped by it was Saturday evening – surely the busiest time for most good restaurants – and Au Petit Salut had many empty tables, both inside and out.
Coeliacs quickly learn that they won’t have the full range of menu options, are generally pleased to have any choice at all, and appreciative of efforts made to work with their needs. They are also very loyal customers: when they have a good experience at a restaurant they are probably much more likely to return, not least to avoid the kind of reception Au Petit Salut offered us.
They are however the only restaurant in Singapore we have so far come across who have given such a negative impression. All the others have tried their best, even if that just extends to removing problematic items. Some such as Jaan deserve a medal for showing exactly how it should handled: with professionalism discretion and imagination.
Au Petit Salut, 40C Harding Road, Singapore 249548: Tel: 6475 1976