The Neopian Food Review: Kelp
Duty has called, Neopia. Have you ever gone to that favorite eatery, whether you prefer Hubert’s Hot Dogs or Kelp, and ordered something sublime? Wouldn’t you have liked to share your joy with the rest of us? That’s where I come in. I’ll eat at a variety of locations around the globe (and on the Space Station) so you can know what to eat when you go out. I’ll tell you what’s good and what you should definitely stay away from. From here on in, Neopia, you can count on me.
Now, I know you have all been wondering about Neopia’s one-and-only gourmet, five-star restaurant. It’s so fancy there that you need a reservation just to sit down and have a drink. Not quite my type of thing, but for many in Neopia, it’s extremely alluring. Kelp prides itself on its “eclectic blend of both modern and traditional cuisine”. I’m here to see if they’re everything they say they are, and, more importantly, if their food warrants its infamously large price tags.
Starting off, the service is clearly very nice at Kelp, as it should be. The maître d', a nice Maraquan Scorchio, led me to a table with a lovely view of a field of coral. While I was eating in the surroundings, the waitress, a kind Uni, came up and said “Hello, may I recommend the Ocean Platter today?” She was so personable. I felt right at home at Kelp.
I will now review the food by section: like at all restaurants, some dishes are delicious and some just miss the mark a bit. I’ve done the “hard work” and separated the amazing from the sub par. Here they are:
Appetizers are important for Kelp: if someone gets a truly bad appetizer, they might leave without ever ordering an entrée, which is where the real money is made. There are nine appetizers on their menu, two of which are soups and three of which are salads. Starting with the good, the Tropical Fruit Bowl was amazing. Growing fruits underwater is difficult (there’s no sun down there!), but Maraquans have been doing it for generations and this dish uses only the freshest Maraquan fruits. Every fruit complements the next; the whole experience is very satisfying.
Another quality appetizer is the Kelp Gazpacho. Cold soups are the way to go under the ocean, and they’ve done it right with this variation on a basic gazpacho. There are hints of lime, pesto, shellfish, and other spices. Truly delicious.
For the misses? The Ocean Delight Salad has simply too much food. The menu’s description reads “Liberal helpings of shellfish and sea food...”. Even ‘liberal’ is an understatement. There really is so much food there that I’m not sure anyone who plans to eat the whole thing could ever finish a main dish. Perhaps they should make it a main course?
Another disappointment for me was the Pate A La Kelp: it was just too bland. The vegetables were great, and certainly very fresh, but it lacked some sort of flavorful sauce (or something similar).
Eight main courses are offered at Kelp, each with wildly different flavors and decidedly different appearances. Many include meat or fish, but there are also two vegetarian options. Personally, I am crazy about the first dish I had the pleasure of reviewing: the Fish Special. I certainly believe that they caught the fish the morning I was served; the fish was cooked perfectly and had that amazing fresh taste. The angel hair pasta was served with a delicious cream sauce that perfectly complemented the fish. I was truly happy eating this dish.
I also really enjoyed the Luxurious Vegetarian Star Pie. A lot of restaurants tend to leave out flavor along with the meat in their vegetarian dishes, but Kelp delivers a perfect vegetable quiche with no flaws that I could find. Kelp’s chefs should be applauded for this dish.
Only one dish wasn’t quite working for me; the rest were all pretty delicious. It’s hard to go wrong if you order a main course at Kelp. The Stramberry Sausages deserve a bit of questioning, in my opinion. I simply cannot decide what in the world they’re filled with. It tastes like some sort of seafood, but I just can’t put my finger on it. It’s not that the dish tastes too bad – it’s just that there’s a bit of a “mystery meat” feel to the whole dish, and that’s simply unbecoming of an upscale restaurant such as Kelp.
Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of any meal: dessert. Easily the most popular choice at Kelp is their Signature Ice Creame, boasting that “people travel from all over Neopia to sample this most unusual dessert”. It’s true, too. After polling the dining room I was in, there was at least one person from each world in Neopia (Kreludor and the Space Station were not represented; it’s a bit of a journey for them). It also seems that liking the ice cream depends on where you’re from. For example, residents of Maraqua, Mystery Island, Krawk Island, Shenkuu, Altador, Terror Mountain, Tyrannia, Brightvale, and Meridell all loved it. If you’re from a different place, chances are you’ll either think the ice cream is “just okay” or you won’t like it (which seems uncommon).
Aside from the ice cream, each of the other five desserts are certainly mouthwatering, especially my personal favorite, the Honeyed Horn of Plenty. Kelp, already famous for its desserts, has proven that it deserves its current praise.
Finally, after dessert, it’s time for cocktails. My complaints? The Seaweed Surprise is too salty. Seriously. It tastes like salt. Someone should have seen that coming; they live down around the seaweed all the time. They should realize that seaweed is salty. I’m also not a fan of the Cornupepper Lemonade. Lemons are very acidic, and when they’re mixed with spicy cornupeppers, it’s almost too much to handle. I certainly don’t want to drink it again.
On the bright side, I enjoyed the rest of the cocktails, except for the Lemwart Fizz, which I just found to be okay. My favorite drink, however, was the Rambus Blend: the fresh Rambus from the Space Station was just the thing to finish my meal at Kelp.
After my meal, I was convinced that Kelp deserves nearly every bit of praise it gets from us Neopians. On a scale from 1 to 10, it definitely deserves a 9.5. Nearly every entrée – the most important course - was superb. The only real issue was with a few appetizers; many patrons at Kelp would never notice the imperfections. The atmosphere was just as good as the food. Kelp truly deserves a solid 9.5.
Don’t forget to look out for the next review!