Saturday, 17 May 2008

From Malaysia to France

Last night, it was getting late, we were hungry, and after rummaging through the Entertainment Book, we found a few places in Lower Hutt which would give us 25% off the total bill. A Taste of Malaysia, it was, then. This place has had mixed reviews. We tried popping in a few weeks ago on a Thursday night but it was fully booked, which we took to be a good sign. We enjoyed our meal and continued our quest to find the best roti in town. We judged this second place, with Ayudtthaya Thai in Petone still holding first place. We'll probably be back to both restaurants at some stage.

Today, a group of us had a late lunch at Simply Paris. This place used to be one of my absolute favourite cafés, with exquisitely prepared pastries and tasty treats. I loved the décor, with its pale green interior and French memorabilia adorning its walls. Now it's been repainted white and has huge gilded mirrors (which used to have the menu written on them) decorating the walls. Still very French, but not as quaint as it used to be.

I enjoyed my salmon and spinach quiche, followed by strawberry millefeuille, which was absolutely delicious. I really like the heavy cocoa taste of their hot chocolate, rather than the excessive sweetness which is often served up at other cafés. This wasn't to everyone's liking, though, although there was general agreement that the chocolate almond served in the side was yummy.

What really let today's experience down was the service. It took ages to clear up the previous group's dishes. Orders placed well before others were served first. That's fine when you are in a group and everyone gets their meals at similar times. However, having to ask for two more hot chocolates (part of different orders), and another strawberry millefeuille (when two had already served been to the same table) well after everybody else had finished their meals is not a good look. The same goes for desserts served way before the main meals arrive.

I'm not sure when things started to decline at Simply Paris, as I hadn't been there for a while. On the surface, it looks great and there are so many good things about it, but they need to lift their game in the service department. Their website sums it up perfectly for me; the home page looks great, but several others are blank or incomplete. A shame, really.

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