It’s not often that a restaurant impresses me. Not anymore anyway. There was a time when even the littlest thing would have me squealing like a piglet. A couple of hundred reviews under my ever-expanding belt however, it has to be something really, really special to get an oink, leave alone a squeal. In this specific case, what tickled (more than the food) was that my dysfunctional family and I walked out and all agreed (in union) that we enjoyed our meal – I cannot remember the last time that happened; one of us always ruins the clean sweep, complaining about one thing or another. So thank you newly opened California Pizza Kitchen in Festival City. You well and truly impressed this ravenous family.
The restaurant itself is HUGE, one of the bigger restaurants in Festival City. Try and get a table with a marina view on the opposite side of the entrance. We were led there (without having to ask) by Jean, the dynamic restaurant manager, who just happened to also greet us as we walked in all goo-goo eyed at how big the place was.
My wife and daughter, just back from their summer holiday in the US where they visited one of many CPK’s in…um, California…knowing the menu ordered a starter and their mains while I was still leafing through mine. I love the way CPK simply chucks conventionality out the window, doing things their own way…like their Kung Pao Spaghetti – how cool is that? Anyway, eventually I choose the amazing Spicy Mexican Fettuccini; which is basically the contents of a Chipotle Burrito emptied into a bowl of fettuccini pasta: O-O-O-OMG! (that’s OMG with a stutter).
My daughter opened the batting with a diet busting Fried Mac ‘N’ Cheese; breaded and fried cutlets of…er, macaroni and cheese – this is like extreme comfort food and must have a good part of a gazillion calories. Who cares when it tastes this good. She went on to order the surprisingly good Fire Grilled Ribeye steak.
The love of my life, on yet another diet, screwed up her pretty nose at our nutritious starter and ordered the Arugula and Quinoa Salad as a main – really? But my Spicy Mexican was the best. Order it. You will not be disappointed. Unless you are on my wife’s diet.
I’ve seen two reviews by suspiciously conspicuous, first time reviewers on Zomato giving this restaurant a 1.0, claiming service was bad, blah, blah. That’s absolute poppy-cock! If anything, service was as delicious as the food; inviting, friendly, attentive and fast. And yes, I’m being a little biased by overlooking the little, just-opened, teething hic-ups like the lack of salt, pepper and sauces on our table and the ever-so-slightly over-doneness of my daughter’s steak. Instead I’d like to highlight that manager Jean came to our table twice to check if we were smiling and made a point of walking us out, chatting to my teenage daughter like they were school chums along the way. It’s the little things which make good service great.
So there you have it, my first experience of CPK…and most certainly not my last.