(CNS Foodie): Cayman Creperie is one half of the combined eatery on the second floor of Bayshore Mall, Lucky Slice Pizza being the other. It is, therefore, perfectly positioned to attract the cost-conscious cruise tourist as well as the time-conscious 9-5 denizens of George Town. As a card-carrying member of the latter group, the question on my mind as I ascended the stairs to the entrance was a simple one: ‘why have I never been told to eat here?’ The answer turned out to be even simpler.
This weekday lunch started promisingly enough. There were no ships in port and enough cloud to make a covered outdoor table just about feasible. Add the lounge music and there was almost an ambience to be felt. Almost. This illusion was shattered when I walked inside and found a group of ten charmless tourists and one friendly hostess.
She explained the menu concept to me, which briefly consists of crêpes (breakfast, savoury and sweet), as well as sandwiches, veggie bowls, coffees, smoothies, and soft drinks. I asked to be seated outside and chose my own table with a redeeming view. A quick look at the menu revealed that only three items broke the $10 barrier. I would either be discovering an unsung establishment of unparalleled value, or getting what I would be paying for. You can probably already guess which conclusion I reached.
Before the howls of protest begin, let’s make something clear to the reader: it was lunch time. I did not want eggs or Nutella. Who would have when the clouds were threatening rain and the toils of office work were only a couple hundred yards away? I wanted comfort food and every pizza that came out of the sibling restaurant’s oven was wafting in my direction. Besides, you don’t need me to tell you what flour, butter and sugar taste like when combined. I went savoury; specifically, with the “Quesadilla Crepe”, supposedly including “bbq pulled pork, peppers, onion and honey mustard”.
Fifteen minutes later, my order came: two triangular folds of crêpe griddled to a very light crunch, filled with a thin layer of BBQ pork. Precisely three batons of roasted sweet pepper (tossed in a dry seasoning) were placed at each of the four corners of the plate, which was drizzled EKG-style with a honey mustard sauce.
The first bite screamed ‘sweet! salty! sweet again! more salty! sweet and salty XXXX!’ It was culinary profanity of the most vulgar kind. The pork had not been barbecued, only tossed with ‘BBQ sauce’. I don’t know when it was pulled but it was not that day or the day before; maybe not even that week. Without the bitterness of the peppers, or any onions to be located, the filling was completely unbalanced. The honey mustard sauce was the final saccharine sin. These ingredients belonged on a pizza. The crêpe itself offered nothing but the aforementioned crunch. I ate only as much as I needed to work out what was wrong, and pushed the plate aside.
I like to think of myself as a fair man, so I decided to try one more thing. The sun had come out, making my position on the balcony entirely untenable. I asked to move inside and chose what looked like the most cozy table. Apparently I am not the only person who finds that table attractive, as the hostess advised I could sit there ‘until the boss came back [on a specific date]’. Hmm… noted.
The precise plating and complete lack of attention to flavour balance now made a lot more sense. What kind of serious food establishment has a ‘boss’? Still, I thought, I have to give them one more chance. I ordered the “Magic Mushroom”, to include “seasonal mushrooms, bechamel sauce, parmesan, arugula, [and] homemade pesto”, and waited with much less optimism.
To my unexpected surprise, this option was even worse. The crêpe was of such a size, and had been folded so many times, that there were at least five layers on top of the filling, with the sixth layer below the filling so soggy as to be non-existent. The filling itself was more of a sauce; the mushrooms neither magical nor seasonal (though the classic and expected trick of slicing them very thinly to give this impression had been employed). I would not have eaten this filling-sauce with the freshest pasta.
Once again, the much-needed bitterness of the arugula was relegated to the corners of the plate, while the liquified pesto was under seasoned and, in contrast to the honey mustard sauce, not abundant enough to offset the weirdness of the other flavours. Most importantly, the crêpe was spongy; either not fresh or not properly made or both. The parmesan turned out to be of the pizzeria-packet variety and shaken on top of the whole melange indiscriminately.
Food envy was not an adequate description of the feeling that settled over me when I glanced sideways at the 20-inch pepperoni pizza being enjoyed by – you guessed it – more tourists. Food embarrassment is more like it.
The bottom line is that Cayman Creperie is a tourist trap selling attractive menu descriptions and low prices, but serving pizza toppings without much care or skill. I had intended to visit twice in an effort to be balanced if poor service was due to cruise ship demand, but the problems with the food precluded this. A second visit would have added no further insights.
The service was as unbalanced as the food (I was asked for my order three times in five minutes before being forgotten for a further fifteen). Truthfully, I regret going just the once. If you do, save yourself the agony and just get a pizza. It’s the same food.
Cost: CI$18.90, gratuity not included.
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