So when the Pacific Eden received its refit. Away went the traditional buffet troff. In its place came an elegant restaurant where food was put on your plate by members of staff. It may not seem like a huge difference, in fact, many would argue it was the same. Yes, I would somewhat agree. But instead of 1,500 people handling utensils, coughing all over the food. You have one or two staff members serving. This minimising the risk of widespread illness onboard.
So we found that the first meals here were the best. I mean the first night (the day we embarked), we sampled couscous, salad, and some fish. We didn’t notice couscous again on the salad bar. This was disappointing as we wanted to start to cruise as we meant to carry on. I mean I had heard so many stories (including one from my mother). Her ringing in my ear (you will find yourself overeating at first and then not eat so much towards the end of the cruise). There was no way I would be disembarking in Singapore 2 stone heavier.
We didn’t like the breakfast much as all. For the following reasons;
- Baked beans were hard (it’s not that they were undercooked, I think it was because of the cheap bean it just didn’t soften)
- Unfortunately, the Bacon was far too fatty (not a problem if it’s nice and crispy. But when you get bacon that you can see being thrown on the hot plate 4/5 at a time. Its never going to give you that crispy fatty bit).
- The fried eggs and the poached eggs were slimy. I know its a small minor thing, but its something that neither of us likes in our eggs.
One thing that I noticed that was good was the constant cooking of toast. We will understand why this was a good point in our Waterfront Restaurant article.
Towards the end of the Cruise
We found ourselves eating more and more at either the speciality restaurants or the Waterfront Restaurant. We noticed that the food was becoming very repetitive. This was across all the food stations, I mean at the Fat Cow, you would get the same meat. Whether it be 1/4 chicken (which was always over cooked), beef (that was cooked to the point it was like chewing leather) or pork (this was the best meat that they served. Always beautiful and moist and the crackling was not too bad either).
Hook’s Fish and Chips always served either grilled fish (that seemed to have a flour coating onto of it), breaded or battered fish. Along with wither chips or wedges. We sampled this a couple of times on the P&O Australia Indonesian Explorer, but! The fish we found to be over cooked. I understand that they cannot leave anything to chance, but still.
I often grabbed a wrap from the Mexicana station. Here you could grab yourself a taco or a wrap (often a burrito), you had a broad range of fillings. There was only really one meat, 1 fish, and two vegetarian ones. The best was the night that put chilli con carne and rice together. This made for the best burrito I had eaten in the 12 days onboard.
All Day Snaking
The Kettle and Bun were open from 11.30am (so just after breakfast) through to 9.30pm (when the sugar bar closed and dinner service was over). Here you could grab yourself one of three different daily sandwiches. All were on different pieces of bread. If you found yourself visiting between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, you could take away one of the cakes that were offered at the Sugar Bar during lunch.
Although it was officially open for sandwiches for 10 hours, it was open for you to pick some different pieces of bread for breakfast. Even grab yourself a slice of toast or two.
We were initially impressed with The Pantry, but as the cruise went on we found ourselves being less faithful and sneaking off to other restaurants.