Restaurant week…What exactly is restaurant week? Well for a fatty like me it’s one of the happiest times of the year. It’s something I look forward to all year round. Basically, it’s when quite a number of restaurants ranging from high end to low end come up with a prix fixe menu. These menus offer a selection of an appetizer, entrée and a desert, quite often with a complimentary drink. There are different categories, scrumptious, savoury, delectable and divine and the price spectrum extends from $120 to $400.
Now I don’t know about you but lately I’ve been doing life on a budget so this couldn’t be any more convenient for me. Some of the menus were really exquisite. I stayed in the savoury/delectable zone and found that a lot of the menus were really diverse with a wide selection of choices. The entire cost of dinner was the price of an entrée regularly so of course, your girl went bonkers. I usually like to choose restaurants I’ve never been to for restaurant week so I can get the most out of the experience.
I’d start with the better experience of the two.
First up, Melange which was in the delectable category. As with everyone else going to restaurant week, I chose what I wanted 2 days prior to going to the restaurant and was super excited to get there. My first impression of the place was that it was a cozy spot. It was small and intimate. I loved that they used different sizes of bowls on the wall as decoration. We were seated immediately when we got there, A+ +.
We waited about 10 minutes before anyone came to us to take our drinks and order, which honestly, considering that it was restaurant week and it is busy, was not bad. A pleasant female waitress came and took our appetizer and entrée order. It was a while before she came back to ask us about our drinks. Again, expected. We ordered water, which we waited quite some time for, and were given some delicious garlic bread. We were really appreciative for that garlic bread! Our appetizers also took REALLY long to come. Our reservation was at 8, we were seated by 8.10 (we ran late) and we didn’t get the appetizers until 9.
However, when it did come, I was impressed with the presentation. I had the Smoked Salmon Caesar and my date had the Croque Madame. Both dishes were displayed quite lovely and the smell was amazing! The portion size was really good too, my date had to help me finish mine! We both could not wait to devour our meal. First bite, DELICIOUS! I am not a fan of any kind of fish and I was eating like a hungry hippo. My date also said that his appetizer was quite good. And let me tell you, he loves food, if eating were a full time job, he’d be the CEO and he had no complaints about the food.
We had another long wait after getting the appetizer, then the waitress brought out a peach and basil sorbet. This was for palette cleansing something something. I think the fancy name is Remise en bouche. I was really hesitant at first, but after my first mouthful, I ate it like ice cream! It was so refreshing and such a nice touch.
The time was now 9.45. My date was getting a little antsy with his bottom less pit but I had no issue. After another 10 minutes or so, our main courses arrived. I had the Lemon and Thyme pesto Chicken and my date had the Rosemary Leg of Lamb. Presentation was a 10 outta 10 outta 10 outta 10. I must say, the food was worth the wait. It was so scrumptious! It definitely tickled my palette. The sweet potato cake, the veggies, the parmesan crisp…I’m salivating thinking about it. The chicken was not dry and it was extremely flavourful. I tasted my date’s lamb and was also blown away. It was soft and tender and didn’t have that ‘lamby’ taste. He enjoyed it thoroughly.
During dinner, another very pleasant and polite, but stressed out looking waiter came to the table to give us our complimentary glasses of wine. He was genuinely a kind soul. Their politeness for the entire night made it really difficult to be upset about the long wait times.
We finally got dessert. My date got them to give us a sample of both options to which they obliged without a fuss. Let me tell you, if the rest of food wasn’t good, this dessert would have made up for the entire thing! I think it’s hands down the best dessert I’ve had in Trinidad. Let me start with the chocolate mousse. Heaven sent! It melted in my mouth, I honestly had my suitcases packed. I was ready to move in.
The ice cream was so rich and the toasted coconut on the top made it pop. My absolute favourite was the sorrel jelly. GURLLL, lemme tell you. That was the best, it was sweet with a hint of sour and Christmas! My taste buds were singing parang. The berry compote and fresh fruit made the entire dish come together. Divine!
All in all, I think Melange just got itself two new regular customers. The service, while the wait times were long, was still excellent because the servers were so friendly and accommodating. The food was definitely highly ranked and the overall ambience was satisfactory. A nice touch as well was that the chefs came out to greet us after dinner. We definitely appreciated that.
On another note, the second restaurant that I went to was Le Moderne. This one is also on the Avenue and it’s an Indo-French restaurant. I’ve also never been there. Their menu was extremely impressive. They were on the savoury category and I found that the choices of dinner were beyond impressive for the price point. I was really excited about trying this place out.
(Note: also not my picture, taken off the internet).
I’ve asked a few of my friends who went for restaurant week and I read reviews online from other bloggers about restaurant week. All of these reviews were overwhelmingly positive! Even my friends who had been were quite impressed with the food. This made me even more excited and more confident in my choice of this restaurant.
Unfortunately, my experience was not that of my friends’ or the other bloggers’.
I had a 9.00PM reservation. My bestie and I were running a bit late so we called the restaurant out of courtesy and so that we also would not lose our reservation, to inform them. They were polite on the phone and said that they understood. Great.
We arrived at the restaurant, walked in and stood at the entrance. No one acknowledged us. A very busy looking waitress bustled right past us almost shoving us out of her way. We stepped aside. We noticed some people standing around a table which was placed almost in the entrance looking very annoyed. The waitress, after about 10 minutes then came to us. We told her the name the reservation was under and she proceeded to inform us that they had no space and it will be another 15-20 minute wait time.
We were slightly annoyed because we did make a reservation and did inform them that we were running late. We also knew it was Friday and even if we left there, chances of us finding another restaurant were slim to none. We were very excited about the food because of the reviews we heard and we were understanding of the fact that it was restaurant week and they may have been busier than usual. No problem. We’d wait.
The waitress then motioned to a man who was standing at the side to ‘take out two stools for them to sit’. The man walked into a room and took out two stools. Lemme tell you, my heart is easily melted and things that normal people would be like WTF for, I’m like AWW, I feel bad. So this teddy bear looking man, with the most confused expression ever on his face has these two stools in his hand. He does not know what he’s doing. He literally just rested the two stools in the middle of no where and was like “Here.” I admit, I burst out laughing because he literally had no idea what to do with us. Poor soul. We then suggested that he put the stools by the bar for us. Honestly, I swore I saw a light bulb go on over his head. Cutest old man ever.
We decided that if we had to wait, we may as well have a drink at the bar. HA! There wasn’t anyone behind the bar. We waited for at least 20 minutes before a lady came up to us and asked us if we were getting through. We told her the situation and asked what was the length of time that they hold the table for when you make a reservation and how much time is allotted for the meal. I don’t know if she thought we were trying to be some smart mouths but we were met with some hostility while she informed us that the table is usually yours for two hours. She eventually agreed to give us a complimentary drink to compensate for the wait time.
Nay… it wasn’t until another 10-15 minutes passed that another waiter came up to us to ask us if we were getting through. This man was honestly the reason we ended up staying because we were about ready to leave to get Gyros. He told us he could set the bar where we were sitting and serve us right there, otherwise we would have been waiting forever. We aren’t fussy. A couple minutes before he came we were actually saying we didn’t mind eating right there. We immediately told him YES!
He set our bar-table (wiped down the area and gave us menus). We told him we already knew what we wanted and we were ready to order. I feel like this guy was the MVP of this place because EVERYONE kept calling him from every direction. He had to go at least 3 times before he could take our order and in the middle of it the fourth time, someone called him again. We then told him we’d take his notepad and write down our order for him. We felt sorry for him. So, that’s exactly what we did. We wrote our order in his notepad.
When we finally got his attention again, we mentioned the complimentary drink to him. He was honestly our saving grace. He mixed a delicious cocktail for us. It was really smooth and tasty.
Shortly after, surprisingly, our appetizers came out. We both had the escargot. The presentation was lovely. It smelled really good too. We had a 5 minute wait for cutlery, and with that food in front of us tempting us, it felt like an eternity. We finally got our cutlery and dug in. It was delicious. The escargot was not rubbery, it was soft and the white whine sauce was a nice touch. There was a slice of garlic bread which was a bit stiff but tasted really good anyway with the sauce and the escargot. We both licked our plates clean.
We thought that the main course would come just as quickly as the appetizer. Wrong. We waited another 20 minutes before being served the main course. We both had the lobster, because we clearly share a brain. The presentation was average. The food smelled great. There were chunks of lobster with vegetables and a vegetable and potato mash. First mouthful, disappointing. The vegetables were soggy and the lobster tasted like frozen lobster that was freezer burnt. My best friend and I looked at each other to make sure our brain waves were synced. Yup, we both shared the same thoughts.
We endured as much of the taste as we could and finally asked for ‘to-go’ boxes.
For dessert, we each tried something different. I had the dark and white chocolate cheesecake and she had the crepe. Inevitably, there was a long period before we got our desserts. When it arrived, it looked like I made it. The presentation was very basic. Looks are usually deceiving right?
I stuck my fork into my cheesecake, it was a thick crust with a very thin layer of actual cheesecake. My picture is actually doing this dish justice. An appropriate name for the dish should have been, ‘Graham cracker crust with a dollop of cream cheese mixture’. For what it’s worth, the crust did taste pretty good. I did not taste my friend’s crepe after seeing her facial expressions and hearing the comments she made.
We did have our drink that was on the menu, I had the strawberry margarita and she had the lime margarita. These drinks were mixed perfectly by our saving grace. They were quite delicious.
All in all, I can safely say I will not be returning to this establishment. I was extremely disappointed especially since I read so many highly praising reviews. If you guys decide to try them or have tried them, let us know about your experiences in the comments and I pray to God that you had a better experience than we did.