Author Topic: QM2 cuisine  (Read 2228 times)

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Offline Jeff Taylor

QM2 cuisine
« on: Jul 18, 2011, 10:14 PM »
I'm speaking of QM2 here, and specifically Britannia--undoubtedly PG and QG are more attentive.  In Britannia there are a handful of defined meals and God help you if you want anything off menu--it just isn't going to happen.  I previously told the story of asking for a shrimp cocktail in Britannia on QM2--the waiter deferred to the dining room manager who huffed and puffed, and perhaps 10 minutes later 6 limp, warm, small shrimp perhaps destined for a pasta dish arrived on a cup saucer with a small mound of cocktail sauce--no ice, no lettuce, no garnish, and entirely unimpressive.  I go all the way back to the original Queen Elizabeth and while the first class menu was two pages long it was only a suggestion--only your imagination limited your requests.  No caviar on the menu, no problem.  Want a beef wellington, no problem.  Oysters, no problem, etc, etc, etc.  Again, the Grills may be different, but Britannia is a mediocre, limited menu dining room  Nothing is WRONG with the food, it's just very unimpressive and ordinary.  You won't get sick and you won't go hungry, but that's about it.  I've eaten at the Commodore's table and it's the same drill--only the wine is free!  I wish I could be more encouraging.

Offline Twynkle

QM2 cuisine
« Reply #1 on: Jul 22, 2011, 09:15 AM »
I'm speaking of QM2 here, and specifically Britannia- ...... I wish I could be more encouraging.

On the other hand...!
From January 5th, till January 13th on board Queen Victoria we were at a table in the Britannia Restaurant, then from 13th Jan until April 19th we also ate in the Britannia Restaurant on Queen Mary 2.
Following his generous invitation, we spent several weeks at the Deputy Captain's table, and at the kind invitation of Commodore Warner, we joined him and his family at his table too.
The Menus for dinner were very rarely repeated - we enjoyed everyone of them. The same menus were in use at all tables, included those hosted by Officers and Staff throughout the restaurant.
Only at the Commodore's table, the deserts werere unique. There are no repetitions!

For the price of around £70 per night per person, there can be few places in the western world where there are five well planned courses on offer at dinner, each with at least 3-4 choices, and five choices for the main course (fish, poultry, meat, pasta and vegetarian) - and including every other service the ship provides.
It was possible to ask for alternatives, we could have requested Beef Wellington! The odd prawn cocktail, and omelette, salad etc was offered, and presented with courtesy and good grace by our exceptionally willing waiter.
If I had one complaint, it would be that the main course servings were by far too large!
(Cunard could save a fair amount by presenting main courses that contained less that 1,000 calories per plate!
I lost nearly 2 stone - this was due to excercise, she's a great big ship (!),  and necessary avoidance of all sugar and fruit!! :)  )

The galley's incredibly busy/ noisy and hot during service - difficult conditions prevail!
The head Chef is very approachable too.

(Mods - this is off topic for Elizabeth - sorry!)
« Last Edit: Jul 22, 2011, 11:49 AM by Twynkle »
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Offline highlander0108

Re: QM2 cuisine
« Reply #2 on: Jul 23, 2011, 01:15 AM »
I hate to dump on Cunard, but the first several meals on our first trip this past January were less than stellar.  I have never complained onboard any ship before, but this time, perhaps also due to my malaise on missing QE2 and the inevitable comparisons, I was not going to less this pass or impede on our much needed vacation.  After speaking to the Maitre de, Jaimie Firth, the situation was quickly remedied.  It was the slow, very excrutiating slow and unresponsive service that I was unaccustomed to onboard a Cunarder.  I really missed Rogie from our last QE2 trip who had us figured out after the first night.

The food, on the otherhand, was very good.  I can't say it wowed us, but we never had a bad or cold meal.  We did order off the menu too!  :o  No one was snippy about it either.  ;D Some things were missing, such as the plated service we had in Mauritania on QE2, the cheese platter and the huge selection of chocolates after dinner.  It was the little things that I noticed, but the food was good, not stellar but good.  Standouts were the meat dishes, but the menu did not seem to have the variety we expected.  One thing I absolutely loved on QE2 were the chilled soups.  Totally missing on QM2.  I was told by Jaimie that unfortunately the chilled blueberry soup I loved on QE2 has gone away and it was a Princess thing.

On a positively positive note, the service in the Golden Lion was much improved and better staffed than QE2's, even though they had trouble finding ketchup to go with the fish and chips!

"There will never be another one like her" QE2's last Master Ian McNaught
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Offline Jeff Taylor

Re: QM2 cuisine
« Reply #3 on: Jul 31, 2011, 12:29 AM »
Everyone has their own preferences, but when I made the somewhat cranky remarks above about Britannia on QM2, it was in the context of having dined with Ron Warwick at his table, Bernie Warner at his, and at a private "retirement" dinner for Ron and 75 of his "best friends" in one of the side dining rooms (all admittedly Britannia's kitchen).  Again, there was nothing at all wrong, just nothing too extraordinary.  I guess what I'm saying is that Cunard obviously isn't really Cunard any longer, and even though there are no real class distinctions, unless you are QG it isn't like what first class used to be on the original queens--superb and unrestricted.  End of rant and apologies to all.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: QM2 cuisine
« Reply #4 on: Jul 31, 2011, 06:31 PM »
I guess what I'm saying is that Cunard obviously isn't really Cunard any longer, and even though there are no real class distinctions, unless you are QG it isn't like what first class used to be on the original queens--superb and unrestricted.  End of rant and apologies to all 

Jeff, I don't see any need for you to apologise, this is after all a forum and we are open to discussions, it would be pretty poor if we were all yes people  ! and lm as bad for going on about the good old days on QE2
But for what its worth l think a lot of people who have sailed Cunard over the years will see a difference, however someone taking a Cunard voyage today for the first time will come back in glowing terms of what they experienced, and rightly so.

Perhaps for the rest of us who notice the small things we do see perhaps a drop in standards.

eg the silver service versus the plated service of meals, when l think back to Mauretania days we seemed to have  a lot of silver service which personally was a joy to be served. Ok some meals were already plated, but my memory tells me more often than not on hosted tables it was silver service.
 The Grills you would expect silver service as standard and nothing less !.
 This plated lark is all very well BUT consider the fact you were (sometimes are) paying top money and as such should expect this, the skill of the waiters to produce warm plates and then go round the table serving the meal onto the plates is a skill, they have enough on the salver for everyone, ask for a bit more veg and it might throw the quantity that they can serve, and what could be worse that the last guest having the left overs! Ok some might say that its old hat and too fussy, as a friend once described silver service as shoving the food from a smiling waiters salver onto your plate hoping it doesn't end up on your lap and the guest exclaiming how wonderful  it all is, Now compare that to plated service where in all likelihood its been plated up with hundreds of others hours (yes hours !!) before hand, its then whacked into a combi oven for 15 mins to be reheated, and then rushed out to the guests who will ohh and ahh about a reheated meal and folk wonder why the meat might be a bit tough, and all the waiter has to contend with is getting the logo on the plate at the top!

 Where l work l never fail to be amazed how the chefs get it right, look at a meal for 150 pax and offering a choice of chicken or beef for main course, how many will have chicken, well the law of averages tell you 75 of each but in reality when the orders come through and the shout goes up "its a beef night" the staff know full well we are all getting chicken for the staff meals, you prey the speeches will go on a bit longer as the chefs adjust various things and when the call comes to serve the main course all goes out and joe public never knows the mayhem that was moments ago.
 Even most large scale functions might probably only have one main course choice .
 Looking at the tea during Afternoon Tea, the pot only holds so many cups, now do the waiters go back to the serving station (as was on QE2 the bit between the Queens room and the lido) do they empty the tea pot of tea bags and replace with fresh tea bags or just add more hot water to save time, l always had a quite smile if my tea seemed extra strong, which is how l like it, and what prey if someone asked for decaf coffee.

I do think anyone who has worked in the catering industry does have a secret admiration for the waiting staff and what they do, and sometimes what perhaps they dont do, when you combine the volatile subjects of food & public, one thing is for sure, there are only three things we require when dealing with such, a strong arm. the patience of a saint and very think skin, and probably not in that order either.   
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Rod

Re: QM2 cuisine
« Reply #5 on: Mar 08, 2012, 12:24 AM »
I always have the greatest admiration for ALL restaurant staff ...from the Executive chef to the Kitchen Porter. If one doesn't do their job the the rungs start falling off the ladder.
Thats why when I watched Karl Winkler  start up I could tell that he was one to watch. To some he was an upstart that dared to suggest something against the: well we have always done it this way!
While I have the greatest respect for the chefs that were on QE2 when I was on there, they, for the most part were cooks that had worked their way up at sea...some had no formal cooking training at all. The menu while I was there stayed the same. Can you imagine eating the same 14 main courses for 20 years?
Then Winkler came in and to begin with, tried to change things.....eventually it started to go good.
For the pax if they did a back to back T/A  then they had the same things to choose from.

Offline cunardqueen

Re: QM2 cuisine
« Reply #6 on: Mar 08, 2012, 08:09 PM »
  For the pax if they did a back to back T/A  then they had the same things to choose from.

It was something of a surprise for some of us!! But then if a dish was just so delicious we knew we could have it on the way home again.
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!


QE2 cuisine

Started by Isabelle ProndzynskiBoard Passenger & Enthusiast Memories

Replies: 8
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Last post Feb 09, 2012, 11:21 PM
by Jeff Taylor