Review: Gentle Giant, Christchurch
A taste of… Gentle Giant, 158 Ferry Rd, Waltham, Christchurch.
We'd heard… The popular cafe's menu had been updated.
We manage to... Land a table this Father's Day, despite the distinct lack of dads in our group. Having dined here once before, I see this as a big win and am looking forward to tucking in.
Despite drooling over the cabinet food, we all settle on options from the varied menu.
The vanilla and cinnamon French toast ($18.50), which one of my dining companions ordered, won the morning's menu selection. The toast was light with nicely-cooked bacon just verging on crispy, caramelised banana and a perfect amount of maple syrup. The sprinkle of toasted almonds and walnuts provided complementary taste and contrasting texture.
When it comes to the eggs benedict with smoked salmon ($21), let's start at the top – it had a generous, tasty chunk of salmon; perfectly poached eggs; nice pesto hash (although the pesto was perhaps a little too subtle); a small smattering of sauteed spinach and the just the right amount of hollandaise. While it was good, something was amiss – it was a little on the bland side. Maybe I've been too spoilt elsewhere?
Our table couldn't settle on a unanimous verdict about the brioche waffles with a caramelised shell, warm dark chocolate sauce and vanilla bean ice cream ($16). While my companions found them a touch overcooked and lacking in flavour, I thought the dish was agreeable and exactly what it said on the tin, albeit (for me) very sweet for a breakfast dish.
A smooth long black ($3.50) was well appreciated on this early Sunday morning, as was the rather sweet green tea latte ($5). However, the plum smoothie ($7) was the stand-out beverage – naturally sweet with black doris' plums, yoghurt, honey and milk.
The service... Professional, but a tad standoffish.
The vibe… Is lively and the cafe has a homely hipster-Scandanavian interior. But don't go at peak times for a quiet chat or if you want to have big group discussion, as it can get a little boisterous (or am I just getting old?).
If you go… Book ahead if you want to be sure of landing a table and admire the great food presentation (and the chefs working on it in the open kitchen if you'd like).
Rating out of 5: 3.5