Fine but not Finest.
Ever since I saw the advert about the opening of a supermarket selling higher end groceries, I've been excited. I might not be wealthy, but I do like to indulge in better quality stuff once in a while. And especially after my exchange programme stint in Europe, I've come to want to have all the European qualities of life. Hence, I though Fairprice Finest might hold the answer to my wants. Hence, a trip down to recce the place. Hence, ta-dah, this supermarket review!
I knew that the Fairprice Finest was at Bukit Timah, I thought it meant at Bukit Timah Road, and proceeded to go to the only Fairprice I know in Bukit Timah, at Coronation Plaza. But when I reached there and found out that that wasn't the place I was to be at, I was disappointed, and quite humiliated. After checking the sign directories at the bus stop, I summarised that it was more probably to be at Bukit Timah Plaza, which ironically was not in Bukit Timah but at Upper Bukit Timah, and hence my misunderstanding. Anyway, I popped back into a bus and headed up to Bukit Timah Plaza.
Yes, I finally got the place right.
I was excited when I got there. A totally different sign, with its orange logo plastered tastefully over the trolleys and the signage and nowhere else to lessen the gaudy factor known throughout all the other Fairprices. Nice and clean, with upmarket written all over it. I like.
Going into the supermarket and taking a quick walk around, I was somewhat disappoint. There weren't anything truly exciting, or at least nothing exicted me. The things were upmarket, but not really upscale. There weren't a large variety of good quality stuff, but lots of better stuff selected from the normal supermarkets.
The suaku me thought that there was only one level in the supermarket because I was blind to notice the escalators right smack in the middle of the supermarket. Anyway, the other level didn't really feature much other stuff which made my excitement die down pretty quickly. I wanted to take pictures of everything, and complain about all the lackings, but I was afraid that taking photos would be too attention drawing. Instead I took pictures with my handphone camera.
Think we've heard a lot about the square watermelons in the news. Looking at it, they looked quite sad actually. There was a sign pasted above them saying that these weren't for consumption, but only for display. Like what crap? Buying a watermelon and not eating them, what a waste of money that even rich people also won't throw their money around lor. The expensive musk melons look great though, and I bet they're real sweet, I'd rather get that if I've the spare cash. But the musk melons aren't anything new. I know I can get them from Jason's at Raffles City where I frequent. So no biggie.
The portobello mushrooms were also nothing new to me because I know where else to get them, and it's not even Jason's. Fairprice Xtra at AMK Hub carries them also lor, and there's a wider variety of mushrooms at AMK, and a higher quantity of everything in general. Thus say, Joan is not impressed. That caviar seen on the racks were also not the best sort of caviar I can find in supermarkets when I was in Europe. In fact these look quite dodgey even though I read that those were imported from Europe, think one was from Germany because of the language written on the bottle.
What was great was the wider selections of gravy and sauces offered. I love gravies and sauces because they can truly make or break a meat, so I was quite excited at the sauces offered there. But after looking at them carefully, I realised that they weren't imported, ie they were halal stuff. That's a huge turn off to me because I firmly believe that pork and lard do enhance the taste of food, and I need them in my cooking. Oh crap, I'd still be heading to the German supermarket to get the condiments for pork cooking. I'm seriously wondering if the wine sauces actually contain wine at all, or have I to add them in myself. geez...
The Meiji selections of chocolate were nothing new also la. I saw in a blog about people raving over the black chocolates. I first saw them and bought them from Isetan in Parkway some eons ago.
But there was one thing I've never seen anywhere before. The Alaskan King Crabs. wahaha~ I so wanted to get them, but I don't really know how to prepare them so I'd let it pass. A stop by the butchery disappointed me in fish and seafood. I always thought the epitome of high end eating was seafood, but nopes, not much selection, not premium stuff. But over at the meats section, there lay a Wagyu grade 4 and an Angus. Okay, I can get better at specialities stores but this the best I can get at a Fairprice already ba, I guess.
The hams were pathetic. There were two versions of my much love and cannot be found blackforest ham, but both weren't what I want. A quick check at which butchery supplies the hams there saw that most of the meat were by Hubers which well, isn't what I'm looking for, and it's probably not the best out there. If only Fiarprice could get supplies from the Swiss Butchery instead. The sausages were also nothing special, Cold Storage, Carrefour, Fairprice Xtra all offered more varieties, better quality, higher quantities of them.
You know the poster advert for Finest is the champagne and cheese and the whole idea of yuppie living? I went there in search of good cheese and was disappointed by the lack of cheese. There's just one small little square of normal cheese in the deli, and the dairy rack were normal cheese found in any small little Fairprice outlet. The Xtra had more stuff lor, greater variety, high quantity, better quality. Carrefour, Cold Storage, Jason's had much much much more of offer. So much for high end grocery shopping.
Even though Finest didn't have many cheese, they did have a cheese slicer, which I learnt to use and come to love after my host family taught me how to back when I was in Germany. I haven't been able to find one here, until I saw the new kitchen supplies shop in Raffles City. I think it's call Zone, think it's either Swedish or Danish I can't remember. Ya, but my point here is that Fairprice was selling a China made one for $15+, but Zone was selling for $7+. Just tell me, which should I choose instead? geez...
But what got me all excited again was that whole rack of gummies. I love them. They were my childhood staples, but I don't know why as we grew up they disappeared from our lives which was very sad. I saw a little revival some weeks back when I bought the apple and orange flavoured ones in Isetan at Parkway, but now there was a whole rack of them in many many many more flavours including my favourite peach! wahahaha~
Funnily, there was a KFC within the Fairprice Finest compounds. erm... Chocz there was great, you know, rich expats and great chocolate cafe go together, but KFC? Is that for the American expats? I don't think so, neither do I think it's for anyone else. It's quite a bit out of place, unless that's what the Finest is targetting their consumers to be.
In all, Fairprice Finest is fine but not finest. Think I'll still go to Jason's and Cold Storage, and the respective speciality stores for the speciality items, and maybe wait for Cold Storage to launch their Select line of supermarkets. I wonder how Select is it going to be...