Before everything opened up on June 22nd and our only option for restaurant food was “pick it up and take it home” we decided to grab lunch at Magnolia Cafe. We’ve been seeing them around on social media and heard good reviews, so we were eager to try. Will we be back, though? Probably not.
Their Instagram page shows an appealing array of meals from their menu, including brunch and lunch options. We were looking for lunch, so we browsed the main menu on their Instagram Story Highlights. I enjoy pasta dishes, so when I spotted Pesto Pasta, I decided to have that while my business partner opted for the Jambalaya Risotto.
For the pesto pasta, the menu description reads penne pasta tossed in house pesto topped with shaved Parmesan and parsley. It is priced at 82.00 and with shrimp an additional 60.00.
After a warm interaction at pickup, we made our way back to our spot and sat to eat. My first thought on seeing my food was that it does not look like Pesto pasta. It looked like a mushy, creamy pasta dish with a few shrimp on top. There was no parsley or shaved Parmesan. It didn’t appear any shade of green. So, where was the pesto? Despite that, I tried it. The taste was palatable – rich and creamy, like an Alfredo, but after a few bites, I faced so much oil that it put me off the meal altogether. On the other hand, the Jambalaya Risotto tasted dry and a bit bland, lacking the creamy texture expected. A few bites in and this meal was also tossed.
Confused, I wondered if I was inadvertently given the incorrect meal and decided to phone the restaurant. I asked how they prepared their pesto pasta as a way to gauge this. The rep that answered said that as far as she knew, the pesto was a cream-based something, but she asked that I hold on while she got the chef on the phone. She returned and stated that it was cream-based with pesto mixed in. I said to her that this is not the dish I was expecting and suggested that they adjust their menu description to include cream or creamy. She then offered to redo the meal and asked when I would be able to pick it up. I chose the following day at 10:30 a.m.
Still unsure if I was missing something, I messaged a chef friend of mine, asking him to review the menu description together with the photo of my meal. He returned saying that it certainly does not look like pesto but more like overcooked Alfredo that started to curdle, hence the chunky look. He also shared that pesto is dark green, so even when added to cream, it should still appear green.
The following morning, I received a call from the restaurant asking how I wanted the pasta prepared. I indicated that I’d like pesto without the cream. The chef then asked if I had a diary related allergy, going on to share that the dish included Parmesan. I ended the exchange, asking that the Parmesan be added as a topping. About an hour later, I arrived and collected the redone dish. It looked and tasted more like the dish I initially expected, however, a few bites into the meal again met me with way too much oil and the shrimp tasted spoiled.
Unfortunately, out of the two meals, we enjoyed neither and ended up tossing them. Perhaps we visited on an off day, however, the redone meal was not enough to encourage our return. If you are willing to risk it, give them a try but beware of the Pesto Pasta and the Jambalaya Risotto.
While one of our objectives at LOCAL is to share with you the best brands and experiences in T&T, it is also to warn you of those experiences that may not be up to par. We aim to provide our community with an objective view of those we come across. With this, we hope that businesses improve and strive to provide excellence to locals, foreigners and visitors at all times.
What the Ratings Mean: Ratings range from 1 to 100. 1 to 10 is Disaster. 11 -29, Awful. 30 – 44, Mediocre. 45 – 59, Good. 60 – 74 , Great. 75 – 89 Amazing. 90 – 100, Masterpiece.
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Fair customer service
Quickly attempted to fix the meal to my liking
Menu description misleading
Food quality disappointing
Not worth the price
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Jacqui holds a Bsc in Business Information Technology from the University of Greenwich and is the creative director and founder of LOCAL(868). She's obsessed with anything and everything to do with information systems, startups, entrepreneurship, and branding. She also enjoys cooking, music and other areas of the creative arts.