September 14th, 2005 at 12:42am
For those of you who don’t know (and that would be everyone who hasn’t been to Dickson College), the Majura Cafe is a “most tuesday lunchtimes” cafe run by the hospitality students. It presents itself as a standard commercial cafe with that style of food and service (although the service is slightly more towards the restuarant style of service than the lunchtime cafe service). I have often thought about going, and last week on Tuesday I decided to try it out, and these were my findings.
On previous occasions I have heard of people booking tables for this cafe, so when I arrived I checked if I had needed to make a booking and was informed that I didn’t, and that I could take any seat I wanted. I decided to sit outside in a sunny spot. After I sat down, two other people asked if they could sit at the table I was sitting at, to which I gracefully agreed and a conversation began.
A waiter came and attended to the table and asked for our orders. It was a difficult decision, but I eventually settled on a quiche and a cappaccino (the quiche was the difficult decision). After this another waiter brought out a vase filled with water, I’m sure there is a better and more appropriate word, but vase is what I’m calling it.
After a little while, and at about the point in time where I was starting to wonder when the food would arrive, the food arrived. My quiche was served with an overly generous serving of slightly less than fresh salad. The cherry tomatoes were nice and fresh, but the salad was a bit dry, and there was far too much of it. I suspect they wanted to fill the plate, I suggest they get smaller plates.
Onto the quiche, it was interesting, it had a very nice crusty pastry, but the quiche itself wasn’t quite right, they had the right idea, but something went wrong. The quiche wasn’t fluffy, quiche is supposed to be at least partially fluffy, but this was solid, and didn’t have the right consistency, apart from which they used the wrong cheese, it overpowered everything else, which was unfortunate as everything else seemed to be just right.
While I was eating, I was starting to wonder when the drinks would arrive, and the discussion at the table turned to “I wonder if he wrote down the drinks?”, at this exact moment the drinks arrived, and I must say the coffee was excellent. This has to be one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had, smooth and consistent, and even the froth was just right. I was rather suprised by the coffee, as it takes a lot of practice to get coffee right, and everyone has a different version of “right”, but the hospitality students appear to have perfected the art of coffee making, and the Majura Cafe is worth visiting just for it’s coffee.
The atmosphere is interesting, inside they have a room with tables and chairs which is rather attractive, outside they have a nice little alfresco dining area which is also quite attractive, the path between these two places is where the payment desk (for lack of a better description) is placed as well as the door through to the kitchen. The whole area seems quite nice, and if you forget that you are in the middle of a school you can almost imagine it being a real public cafe in Dickson or Manuka.
There are two things however that need some improvement. One is the payment desk area, this lacks the ambience of the other areas…a couple fake plants would fix that, and secondly the noise from the kitchen, I’m all for kitchen noises, they make one feel as if the food is being prepared in a mystical and wonderful manner, what I don’t like, however, is yelling and screaming. When I am sitting outside I really don’t need to be able to hear the senior kitchen staff yelling instructions to the other side of the large kitchen, especially when they have rather piercing voices. Please keep your voices down or close the doors and windows when embarking on yellathons in the kitchen.
All in all, the Majura Cafe is well worth a visit, many staff and students at Dickson College regularly attend it, and I can understand why. Perhaps next time I will try something a little less ambitious than the quiche, something which doesn’t require as much specialised skill, as I believe fluffy quiches are a highly specialised skill.
The Majura Cafe does, however, make excellent coffee, and the pricing is very reasonable (I think my lunch was around the six dollar mark, I can’t quite recall), and I would be delighted to recommend them to anybody who is willing to try something slightly different.
As far as I can tell, the Majura Cafe has not been reviewed before (Google doesn’t seem to think so), so I am proud to be the first.
The Majura Cafe runs most Tuesdays during the school term and is located in the hospitality building at Dickson College, phone (02) 6205 6455 for more details.