Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Scenic Diamond Lunch 01/10

Lunch was the most uninspiring meal on the Scenic Diamond. It was an indifferent buffet with the addition of an extra choice from the menu, always including a vegetarian or a light option. Always available were chicken breast, cheese or beef burgers or fries.

At the head of the buffet a chef stood with either risotto or pasta with either a red or a white sauce.
He served out tiny portions resulting in many guests requesting more.
Seasoning was erratic being either totally bland or excessively salty. The risotto was quite creamy but the individual grains were undercooked and hard. The buffet was positively meager in variety 'though not in quantity.
There was always sliced egg with mayonnaise, a couple of bowls thinly sliced vegetable or pickled vegetables. There was also a dull and uninteresting salad such as sliced vegetables with tofu. There were generally two soups, a consomme or a cream soup with a choice of breads or rolls.
The consomme was often poorly seasoned and very thin and in our opinion the cream soup was also thin, lacking body and seasoning. We felt that this was because the stock was not rich or sufficiently full bodied.

There was a platter with rather ordinary cheeses and crackers. They included a selection of chevre, which ran out, a Camembert, a semi washed rind cheese, a pepper cheese, a dill cheese a blue cheese and a cheddar. They were not well presented, often much to cold and the soft cheeses were not ripe.

There was also plenty of fresh fruit and a variety of patisserie which looked a lot better than they tasted plus jellies and other desserts.
A good quality bought ice cream was also available served with an over beaten cream.

You could fill yourself from the buffet or replace or supplement your meal from the menu . This listed the buffet items, soups and usually had a choice of a meat or fish or vegetarian dish. Meat and fish were invariably over cooked even when specifically rare was requested. This probably came about because of these products being frozen or, in the case of the meat , pre cooked. They dad a different fish every day including turbot, stripped bass, turbot, char, bream and mullet. They lacked taste and the sauces were thin and undistinguished and did nothing to improve the meal. Meats could not be served rare, were thin and sad.

A mostly indifferent quality red or white wine was abundantly available served by extremely attentive, and keen to please, waiters. Scenic Tours stress the No Tipping policy on their tours. Despite this apparent lack of incentive all staff, who mostly come from east Europe, appeared to be very happy with their conditions and service was always extremely prompt.

Score: 13/20


John Salisbury said...

These sort of dining facilities appear to verge on the formuliac don't you think Elliot?

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi John
You're absolutely right however it wouldn't matter on a 15 day cruise if only they had prepared them well. We felt sorry for them because they tried so very hard. It was a step up from good cafeteria food. They have a small staff of chefs, working in a pretty small galley, producing meals and additional snacks between meals for about 165 passengers. The kitchen on the Silver Wind, which produced excellent food for about 295 guests, and about 200 crew were easily six times bigger.

modern canvas art said...

Sounds like you've summed it up there Elliot, the chef looks slightly embarrassed in that picture!

Elliot and Sandra said...

I guess the heart of the matter is one goes on these river cruises to see the sights. The food is OK but, although they try hard, it never quite gets to be haute cuisine.