Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Food

Well before I left on my trip, there were signs of an interesting food development in the Meridian Food Court in Dunedin. Where the old Flames had been, there was a blank wall, on which someone had affixed a sign with nice clean colours and font saying "Coming Soon - Lemongrass Malaysian and Thai cuisine". Of course, this was of great interest to me, as it picked up two of my favourite cuisines. And being in a food court didn't mean it would be bad. So, I made arrangements for some friends and I to have some sort of farewell lunch there before I went on holiday. It was not open in time - which I thought augured well in terms of the care being taken to get things right.

Returning home in January, it appeared that no progress had been made. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the light in the drinks fridge was on, which helped me think the project had not been abandoned. Last week, there were drinks in the fridge: a sure sign of imminent opening.

Last night, it was open. There was a significant queue of people waiting to be served, but that was true of all places in the food court. I was a little dismayed to see that there were no "cook while you wait" dishes; more so to see it was a smorgasbord. Nonetheless, I piled my plate high so that I could try everything. The soup was inedible - a thick milky white tastelessness in which some mushroom floated. Being chicken soup, I suppose there was some chicken in the depths. The food itself was decidedly average by food court standards and poor by any other standard: even the chinese place is better (thanks in part to being run by the people who used to provide my favourite dish in Dunedin, chilli beef and beans).

A much better thing to happen foodwise is the running of the Circadian Rhythm kitchen by the good folk who used to have the Indian vegetarian restaurant. That was always a bit too pricey for every day eating, but when the price is $8.50 for all you can eat (and they really mean that - I was restrained from leaving by an insistence on the part of the staff that I go back for more) it is a bargain. And right next door is Saigon, Dunedin's first Vietnamese cafe. Things are looking up.



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