What does it take to please a customer in an eatery? In our Lounge Café, we bend over backwards to fulfil unusual requests, stray off the menu if we can and make our diners feel welcome. It’s not rocket science is it? It’s a business in which you have to have phenomenally good concentration and focus in order to succeed.
Having been pretty depressed of late with everything that goes with eating out in over priced, mediocre and sterile restaurants, it was a breath of fresh air to sit outside at the Marina Cafe, a small and inviting place inhabited with exceptionally good waiting staff who were genuinely welcoming and accommodating in every way.
The menu here is small and simple. A page of sandwiches (each at £5 including a side salad) offering three different types of bread took my fancy and the special of the day, a chicken risotto served with a fresh juice was my companion’s choice.
So what I like about independent places is the willingness to go off menu, as it were, thus ensuring a customer recognises and appreciates the little touches.
Small requests were eagerly fulfilled. A little pot of honey for my tea, olive oil and balsamic brought to the table for the very fresh side salad served with my generously filled ciabatta of chicken, bacon, avocado and mayo.
The risotto, a dish that requires timing and considerable skill, was really rather good, A slight bite, a creamy texture, rich flavours and a generous pile of it to boot. All for less than a tenner including the fresh juice.
A decent sized glass of a pleasant Sauvignon Blanc for a fiver was also a welcome change to the ubiquitous and often disappointing Pinot Grigio.
There are two types of dining that I enjoy. Fine and bloody expensive but worth it as you just couldn’t replicate it unless you’d cut your teeth in a sweaty French kitchen for years, or simple, home made and homely dishes that are prepared with pride, using fresh ingredients that are put together with attention to detail and a little love.
The latter for me is always a pleasure to find as I know exactly what it takes to provide decent grub, served with a smile in a pleasing environment.