The Hungry Neopian’s Fine Food Reviews: Grundos Cafe
This week I chose to be daring and step outside the usual refined area of formal restaurants. While not immediately considered among the fine dining restaurants of Neopia, Grundos Cafe deserves a second look considering its infamous chef, an out-of-this-world location, and widespread food selections. You can mix and match whatever main courses and sides you want. The restaurant boasts a more informal experience than Kelp or The Golden Dubloon, which may help its appeal toward a larger audience. The Cafe is a hot ticket for local residents and Virtupets tourists alike.
Grundos Cafe can be found on the Recreation Deck in the Virtupets Space Station. It has undergone a fairly recent renovation in order to better serve its customers, so if you have not visited in a long time, it dishes out a whole new experience. Unlike many restaurants, the chef is prominent in Grundos Cafe: Gargarox. He is also a renowned Gormball player, a hobby he enjoys when he is not whipping up delectable treats in his restaurant. The cafe features processed and condensed foods where flavours are masterfully re-hydrated. There is plenty of space, so do not worry about reserving ahead. Grundos Cafe is also a buffet style restaurant, with each food item negotiable. Take a glance over everything and decide what will satisfy your palate!
The Virtupets Space Station does not skimp on space, so Grundos Cafe is roomy and there is plenty of space for all customers, even in its busiest times. I suspect that a room expansion technology is being used so that thousands could be seated comfortably inside. The decor may seem harsh and Spartan, but you will spend more time looking out over the marvellous view of the stars. You can also watch the activity in the Space Station below you if you sit near the balcony edge. There is plenty of entertainment to keep you occupied as you eat.
As mentioned, Grundos Cafe is casual so there is no formal service or attire. Gargarox is always nearby to personally attend to your needs, and, as the chef, he can also recommend his best dishes. Ignore his gruff appearance; once you start talking food or Gormball, this mutant Grundo has a heart of gold. You can eat as much as you want in one sitting, depending on how much you are willing to spend. There is also no need to eat and run.
The intergalactic journey has left me feeling quite ravenous. I decide to start with a light vegetable medley, so I pick out the Vegetable Deluxe (1192 neopoints) with a side of Cosmic Broccoli (1204 neopoints). Gargarox keeps the Vegetable Deluxe recipe a secret, but I can definitely taste asparagus and blunkabean. While not aesthetically appealing, the price is right and the taste does not suffer. The Cosmic Broccoli proves to be a good addition, recommended for its high nutrition value.
The Gargarox Special Lunch Dish (846 neopoints) is a house speciality, so I am naturally eager to give it a try. Once again appearances can be deceiving. From the outside it resembles moulding spaghetti, but proves to be a wonderful treat. The combination of flavour and texture are superb.
For dessert I opt for Blueberry Gateaux (357 neopoints) along with Sugarbunny Surprise (246 neopoints). The gateaux is simply divine. It comes packed in a handy tube which cuts down on mess and dishes, but the moist cakey texture and fruity delight are not lost. The Sugarbunny Surprise ends up being a slight disappointment. The food synthesizers may have been on the fritz during its production, because it winds up being overly sugary and gritty.
To wash it all down, I toast the chef with a Grobleen Fruit Punch (1128 neopoints). It is marvellously fruity, made with various imported fruits from around the universe. Gargarox also discloses that the drink is a particular favourite for Grundo residents. This little drink really packs a punch (har har).
Naturally, due to the informal atmosphere, the prices are less expensive than at a formal sit-down restaurant. How much you spend entirely relies on what you want to eat and how much you eat during your meal. A full course dinner can be eaten for as low as 1000 neopoints, especially since Gargarox is willing to negotiate on prices. However, do not be too cheap, because you can really enjoy what Grundos Cafe has to offer in imported and gourmet foods. I recommend budgeting around 5000 neopoints to really enjoy what Gargarox has to offer.
I feel I should note that if you are too impatient for new food choices, Gargarox will refuse to show you any more selections and you may have to wait a long time to return. Do be patient, as sometimes he has many customers to deal with and a large buffet area to keep filled. If you remain choosy, you can find some rarer new items to choose from, but snap it up before others pounce on it. The buffet can turn into a bit of a free-for-all.
Grundos Cafe is an unexpected treat. Despite lacking a formal reputation, this hidden wonder has many delectable tastes to offer. It does suffer from a lack of aesthetically pleasing presentation, partly due to the buffet style experience. However, this does mean that you can choose what you want, how much you want, however many times you want. I particularly enjoyed being able to chat one-on-one with the chef, Gargarox, since many other chefs choose to remain anonymous. Some of the foods offered did present problems in taste, likely due to synthesizer malfunctions. Upon entering Grundos Cafe it should be noted that a posted sign states that the chef is not responsible for computer errors that may occur. Some foods are unable to be modified and processed into the Space Station and can suffer in taste and appearance. However, if you eye it right, you can leave Grundos Cafe feeling entirely satisfied and with neopoints still jangling in your pocket. With a bit of attention to small details, this restaurant could be blasting off to new heights.