Friday 30 May 2008

Cafe Zique

As you may know from my earlier post the mini-adventure, I rate Delizique as a deli. I was particularly impressed with this steak and Guinness pie, whose only fault was that there was not enough gravy in it, which for a self encased pie that might be a feat hard to achieve.

They had packed it full of large chunks of good quality steak and good chunks of portobello mushrooms. The pastry was crispy on the outside and had a good layer of wodge at the bottom. A good effort, which you might expect given it cost a fiver!

Now this naughty little morsel was a particularly rich gooey brownie, with hazelnuts on the bottom and a dusting of high quality cocoa over it.

It was rich, but not too sweet-an easy mistake to make, but so rich I had to eat it over two days.

I was therefore interested to see how this would translate into Cafe Zique which is directly adjacent to the deli. It would seem however, that some things are lost in translation.

The space itself is cool, with double height, a mezzanine level and lots of odd angles covered in a variety of wood and stone. Perhaps the best thing about the place, if I am being harsh, is the fact that they have retained the original Hargens Dairy shopfront.

They started off on the wrong foot when I had gone in earlier that day to scout out what was on offer as they don't have a website. I was due to meet my friend Choiti later that evening for a bite to eat and to catch up. I had a look at the regular menu and enquired as to the specials. 'Yes we have specials, they start at six'. Thinking to myself 'yes, I know that, I am standing in front of a huge blackboard that says specials but has nothing on it', I inquired sweetly if they knew what they were. A particularly surly bar tender/ waiter looked at me and shrugged as if he couldn't care less. 'We don't know yet'. Given it was 5.20pm and they were directly in front of the kitchen, one would think, it was not too hard for them to find out. 'Ok' I said, and walked out hoping that this wouldn't reflect the general attitude of the staff.

So we turned up at 7pm and it was pretty packed. We hadn't booked and it would turn out that we were lucky enough to get two seats on the mezzanine level. This was quite a good place to sit as it allowed us to sit next to each other and chat but also to look at what everyone else was eating. We shared a Caesar salad with chicken

which was good, but not as good as Fifi and Ally or even Louis' for that matter.

Choiti had a crab linguine which was marred by the fact that they had put way too much chili in it and that the garlic was still a bit raw. Now, she and I can handle heat, so it was hot.

This was further compounded by a fifteen minute wait between asking for a second glass of water, and getting it. I had a steak sandwich. All I can say is that I left half of it. Actually I can say more: the bread was some sort of rye effort with no butter or mayo, they had put on a horrible red onion relish and some un-marinated roast tomatoes that were sour and actually spoiled the taste of it.

The steak was marinaded well, and had a good chargrill flavour but was over cooked and as it was sliced thinly, a bit tough. Both mains lacked seasoning.

If you want to see how a steak sandwich should be go to Firebird at lunchtime. Just ciabatta, rocket some pesto and thick rare cuts of steak. The juice drips out of that one.. Anyway back to Cafe Zique.

As mentioned before the service was a bit slow, but at least this time it came with a smile. We again had to wait about fifteen minutes and ask three times to pay our bill.

Would I go back? I don't know. It's obviously a popular spot, perhaps a place to been seen for the denizens of deepest darkest Dowanhill and Hyndland. But, Heart Buchanan does a mean eggs Benedict that's two pounds cheaper, Fifi and Ally a better Caesar and Firebird and mean steak sandwich.

Maybe they will, with time, come up with a reason to return.

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