Front Room Disappoints: food was bland

When four old friends gather for lunch there is much talk, laughter and enjoyment. That’s what meetings of old friends are about; a catch up over food, coffee and whatever other liquids we fancy.

So the Front Room (www.frontroomcafe.co.nz) on the beachfront at Waikanae seemed ideal; casual, not likely to be too crowded, a good reputation and we had all been there before, and enjoyed it.

To be blunt this latest experience was disappointing and perhaps even a bit overpriced.

We agreed to share the Spanish tasting plate ($18), because we just fancied a nibble to start. There was one croquette, three small pieces of fried chorizo, some almonds, some piquillo peppers, a small pot of pesto, a couple of slices of manchego cheese, about enough for one biscuit each, some ham, and four small pieces of coca bread. The list makes it sound more generous than it was. So among the four of us, a nibble it was.

To follow two of us had the pork sandwich, ($19) and two choose the salmon stuff on toast. In the sandwich – a fresh bap style roll – there were two good sized slices of pork, spoiled by being rather dry and perhaps overcooked.

The sandwich also had a little bit of rocket and some beetroot chutney. This was sparse and bland. The whole thing needed a kick; wasabi, chilli jam, caramelised onions, something to impart some flavour and some moisture to the mix. The sandwich came with homemade chips – seven of them – but they were hot and tasty.

The salmon on toast came with a horseradish crème fraiche and some dill – again rather bland. We didn’t need dessert, although we were tempted by the brioche ($7). With five coffees and four drinks the bill was $142, which was quite enough for a light lunch we thought.

Service was friendly and efficient.
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The Front Room Café 42 Tutere St | Waikanae Beach www.frontroomcafe.co.nz 04 905 4141

Categories: Coffee, Food, Restaurant, and Writing.
About John Bishop