As far as flavor and concept, I can understand everyone has their own preferences. I actually wasn’t referring to heat, I’m talking about the rest of the flavors. (I expected most of the dishes to have clean, yet sharp flavors that intermingle as you eat them. )
But I can’t remember a kitchen meltdown like this. We ate the spring rolls and are thinking, we’ll send this back. Then after trying other things we were just looking at each other like, what do we do, send it all back? The worst offender was the Pad Thai, which we actually complained about to the server when he asked if we liked everything… but he didn’t offer a replacement, so we just stopped there. (Even though that happened, I would still rate service very good, cooking just needed to be above average to keep us coming back.) Still, fine, it can happen. You’re a regular, and obviously have more experience.
What I will debate with you, however, is the prices. I think $17 for a Pad Thai or $18 for an herb salad is too much. I used to complain Merlion was inconsistent and expensive, but at least 50% of our items came out well prepared. (And they will re-fire dishes.) I heard Merlion had increased prices again, so maybe these places don’t have enough competition. We’ve been to one other place in Raleigh, just can’t recall right now. Maybe it was Turkish, will try to find our pictures. It was fancy-ish, too, but not as expensive (at that time.)
Also, the tables at Bida Manda don’t seat four people properly. For that price, we shouldn’t be struggling to keep our dishes and plates on the table.