Husband Guy and I went to the Marco Polo Restaurant at Lansdowne for dinner tonight. We'd walked by the Marco Polo before, so we were curious. And it was our first real date in a while... =P
The food... er, how shall I explain it? It's reminiscent of a crazy ass restaurant in Hong Kong that's trying to serve Western food. I should have taken my first clue when I saw all Asian staff and only ordered off the "Asian Entrées" section of the menu. But, dumb as a stump as I still am about these things, it went right past me.
I'll give an example: I ordered a Chicken Caesar. You can't go wrong with a Caesar salad, right? WrongwrongWRONGwrongwrongwrongwrong.
The concoction I got had half Romaine lettuce and half Crisphead lettuce. The chicken was okay, half white meat, half dark (I don't mind either white or dark) - it was a free-range chicken, which I guess isn't what I'm used to in a Caesar salad, but free-range chickens are actually better for you, so I didn't mind that. There were large cucumber and tomato slices garnishing the plate.
The kicker of it was - GET THIS - instead of salad dressing, I got mayonnaise on it. *sigh* Umm... no. They think mayonnaise is The Pillar of "Western" cuisine, just like Westerners think that adding soya sauce makes anything "Asian".
Husband Guy got a steak dinner platter. I imagine it wasn't too bad. I didn't hear any complaining from that end of the table =) I think his mind was pre-occupied, trying to think of the name of a person we met recently. He had this person's face stuck in his head and couldn't think of who it was and it was really bugging him.
The service was really good though. The staff were very cordial and helpful. Our food came out within minutes of ordering. Which kinda makes me think that it's just a bunch of buffet tables in the back kitchen - you order, they whomp it all together while throwing your steak on the grill and you're served. It brought back fond memories of Japan. =)
There was also a live pianist. He didn't suck, but he's not a classical pianist. He mostly played piano adaptations of popular soft rock/top 40 favorites. He took requests, so I wrote on the request slip that I'd like to hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, as an off-tribute to yesterday's Mid-Autumn full moon. He was kinda flat, with no feeling... *shrug* Oh well, it was enough to help me hear Beethoven in my head. Piano Guy also played a flat, unfeeling Für Elise as well.
The highlight of the evening was a little girl, one table over and two down from us who got permission from the floor Captain to play while Piano Guy went on a break. The little girl played Für Elise again with much more gusto and then another piece that I didn't quite recognize - sounded something like a Mozart Étude/Concertino... but it could have been a Schubert. I was truly entertained.
Husband Guy says, "why don't you request something now? What's a really tough one"? And I said, "Flight of the Bumblebee" with an evil glint in my eye. >=}
After the little girl finished, I bought her a fruit punch. The floor Captain brought it over to her himself. As he gestured at me, I raised my wine glass (filled with water because I was having a [Tetley's] Earl Grey) and did a little toast to the little girl and her family =)
Her mother, Mrs. Cheng, came over, thanked me and chatted with me for a little while. It turns out they speak Shanghainese, but Mrs. Cheng speaks Cantonese as well. I never did get her daughter's name, but she was 8 years old and had been playing since she was 3. She had passed her piano Grade 7 exams and was having a recital soon, so her Mom wanted her to get some practice playing for a public audience. =) Then the sweetie gave me a box of Dragon's Beard Candy (a dessert made by pulling Maltose syrup over and over until it becomes thin threads like a gossamer threads) =)
On the way out of the parking lot, Husband Guy and I were hypothesizing how long Marco Polo's would stay in business. I give them a year or two tops (they've been open for approximately 3 months now). They have fairly good business right now because of the Night Market at Lansdowne in the evening. I doubt the Night Market will go on through the winter. But, they went all-out in the Decorating and Atmosphere department. I don't think many people would be willing to go there twice. They're expensive and the food is crazy. As well, there's that 9's Restaurant that is simple, genuine Chinese food that's not as expensive.