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Kelp: Worth the Price?

by butterflybandage


There are many amazing restaurants in Neopia, but we’ve all heard of the famous—and expensive!—Kelp, that beautiful restaurant full of (supposedly) delicious foods and requires a reservation to have a table. I began to wonder, “Is the hype surrounding Maraqua warranted? Is this restaurant actually the best restaurant in Maraqua … and is worth the cost?”

Of course, the average Neopian can’t afford to eat out at Neopia’s nicest restaurant, so I decided to set aside some Neopoints—er, quite a bit, actually—to go all out and settle the debate once in for all!

The first thing I did was get in contact with Kelp and asked to make a reservation. They were extremely polite, which was nice considering I probably sounded extremely nervous. I asked if they had discounts on buying large quantities of food, or if they offered smaller sizes of their entrees, and they assured me that they did—however, because I mentioned I was working on an article for The Neopian Times, I’m not entirely sure if they offer this discount to the public. They told me to come back the day of my reservation, and they would handle it from there. I had two weeks to save up as many Neopoints as I could, so I held back visiting the Book Shop and took some extra Neopoints out of my Usukicon Fund. The day of, I put on my nicest outfit, brushed my teeth, and headed out to Kelp!

Entering the restaurant, I noticed immediately the atmosphere was … fancy. Everyone was dressed to the nines, the queue was out the door, and my pockets jingled with coins. When I got the entrance, the host—an extremely professional Scorchio—said, what I imagined to be protocol, “Welcome to Kelp, Sir. We pride ourselves on our eclectic blend of both modern and traditional cuisine, which I am sure a connoisseur such as yourself will appreciate.” (I gulped). “Do you have a reservation? What name will it be under?”

I gave him my name.

He smiled wide. “We spoke on the phone! Wonderful, wonderful … someone will seat you momentarily.”

A tall Uni took me to my table and handed me a menu. Smiling, she told me, “Place your menu upright when you are ready to order, and we’ll get your food out as soon as possible. May I interest you in a cocktail and appetizer?”

“Absolutely. Can I have one of everything?”

The look on her face was comical. “Everything, sir?”

I cleared my throat and explained I was writing an article, testing all the different items at Kelp and writing a review. She raised her eyebrows and said, “Yes, of course. We have your food already prepared. Shall we start with the cocktails?”

“Of course. Thank you.”

After a few moments, she brought out a tray of small, sample-sized cocktails—ten in total—and placed each cocktail in front of me. “Let me know when you are ready for appetizers.” She smiled before leaving towards the other tables.

I tried each cocktail, and noticed immediately the vast difference in the quality of the cocktails—the Aged Tchea Juice tasted more like a fizzy water, the Cornupepper Lemonade had a kick to it, and the Seaweed Surprise had a strange flavor combination.

The cocktail that had the best flavors was Foozette Juice; it was extremely sweet, but the tropical palette of Mystery Island fruits was a delicious combination! My least favorite was the Cornupepper Lemonade; I like spicy food, but I’m definitely not a fan of spicy drinks.

The Foozette Juice costs a hefty 9,000 Neopoints, but a cheaper option is the Lemwart Fizz—it’s a stronger drink, but just as refreshing!

Aged Tchea Juice: ★ ★ ★

Funnydew Melon Delight: ★ ★ ★

Lemwart Fizz: ★ ★ ★ ★

Phear Juice Tonic: ★ ★ ★

Twirly Fruit Blend: ★ ★ ★

Thornberry Brew: ★ ★

Cornupepper Lemonade: ★

Seaweed Surprise: ★

Foozette Juice: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Blue and Orange Rambus Blend: ★ ★ ★

    I placed my menu upright, and the kind Uni waitress (I never got her name) strode up with my tray of nine, delicious-looking appetizers. “Here are your appetizers, sir. Feel free to enjoy your cocktails as you eat! Unfortunately, there are no refills.”

“Thank you.”

I dug in immediately—the Maraquan Cream Broth tasted a hundred times better than it looked, and it looked FANTASTIC. The Mixed Green Salad missed the mark on their vinaigrette, as the tangy dressing could have been cut with something sweet; the lack of fruit in the salad was an opportunity missed.

The appetizers I had were sample sized, so be prepared to enter the restaurant on an empty stomach because the full portions must be HUGE. There’s plenty to go around if you’re dining with a friend.

My favorite by far was the Succulent Cheese Dip—a miniature fountain with wafer cones to dip in is an excellent idea, and they managed to perfect their recipe. I was a huge fan of the Tropical Fruit Bowl as well—fruit is always a great idea, as it’s refreshing and cleanses the palate! The prices steadily rise at this point, and I notice that customers are handing over thousands of Neopoints for a mere appetizer. I glance at the menu and realize that the delicious Tropical Fruit Bowl is a hefty 13,000 Neopoints. How much is dinner going to cost?!

Maraquan Cream Broth: ★ ★ ★

Kelp Gazpacho: ★ ★ ★

Ocean Delight Salad: ★ ★ ★

Mixed Green Salad: ★ ★

Fresh Oysters: ★ ★ ★

Angel Hair Salad: ★ ★ ★ ★

Succulent Cheese Dip: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Tropical Fruit Bowl: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Pate A La Kelp: ★ ★ ★ ★

By now, the waitress and other customers are watching me; they don’t understand what’s going on, and I grimace as the Uni brings out two trays of entrees. The smell is indescribable.

She takes my appetizer plates and sends them back to the kitchen, clears my empty cocktail beverages, and sets out the main courses. She leans in, whispers, “I really enjoy the Ocean Platter.” She left with a wink, and saved the Ocean Platter for last.

Kelp is amazing, because they have a handful of vegetarian options—not all of us eat meat! I set to try the Luxurious Vegetarian Star Pie first, and understood immediately why people would be vegetarian—who wouldn’t love this quiche-type dish? Being one of the cheaper options (29,100 Neopoints), you’re bound to love it, vegetarian or meat-eater alike!

I then went into the Stramberry Sausages, Braised Turkey Cutlet, and Whole Roast Pheasant (of course, my sample dish wasn’t the entire pheasant). The flavor of all these dishes is indescribable; at best, I can use the word “indulgent”, and at worst, the word I can use is “awesome”.

Excitedly, I cracked my knuckles and dug into the Ocean Platter.

You are all missing out.

The flavor combinations of fish, oysters, and fresh vegetables is beyond description, and it’s worth every single Neopoint. I could see why it’s a favorite, and why it’s recommended at every visit. If you have the opportunity to visit Kelp, save the 33,000 Neopoints and splurge!

Filet of Beef: ★ ★ ★ ★

Spicy Radish Salad: ★ ★ ★

Stramberry Sausages: ★ ★ ★

Ocean Platter: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Fish Special: ★ ★ ★

Braised Turkey Cutlet: ★ ★ ★

Whole Roast Pheasant: ★ ★ ★

Luxurious Vegetarian Star Pie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Finally, desserts.

I’m bloated, my trousers are feeling tight, and I’m getting ready to fall asleep right on the spot. I’m looking around for my favorite pillow when I am once again approached by that beautiful Uni waitress, this time with a smaller tray of desserts.

“Have you enjoyed your dinner, sir?”

“Yes,” I groan, bursting at the seams. “But I’m ready for these desserts! That Ocean Platter was absolutely amazing!”

“Of course it was,” she chimed. “I hope you enjoyed your meal, and we’ll present your bill at the end. Thank you.”

What can I say? The desserts—every single one of them—were delicious. I was stuffing my mouth with creams, cakes, and gouache, unable to contain in my mouth … I shamefully admit to having food dribble out the corners, onto my chin and sticky hands. But honestly, who wouldn’t gorge themselves on these desserts?

The Peachpa and Stramberry Shell was divine—the sorbet was sweet yet slightly tart, and the Honeyed Horn Of Plenty was tart with berries and sorbet. You can’t do wrong with dessert!

Kelps Signature Ice Cream: ★ ★ ★

Honeyed Horn Of Plenty: ★ ★ ★ ★

Peachpa and Stramberry Shell: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Coral Cake: ★ ★ ★

Octopi Souffle: ★ ★ ★ ★

Triple Chocolate Shell: ★ ★ ★ ★

After taking a few minutes to settle my stomach, I collected my writing supplies and made my way to the host. He had finished admitting customers and was now working on receipts, to which I handed him my bill and he tallied it up. Because I had sample sizes, my bill was considerably less than what the average Neopian would pay—because you won’t have access to these smaller sizes, I’ll tell you how much each dish cost at full value, and their total.

Cocktails Total: 84,000 Neopoints

Appetizers Total: 128,800 Neopoints

Main Courses Total: 248,600 Neopoints

Desserts Total: 73,500 Neopoints

Meal Total: 534,900 Neopoints

Half a million Neopoints to try everything on the menu.

Half a million Neopoints, you guys. I ended up paying about a quarter of a million, which hurt considerably handing over all that beautiful, gold money, but I had made that decision earlier and knew it would be a lot of money. But that much? I’m still cringing.

Luckily for you, Kelp has a limit on their dishes, and you’re only allowed to order one thing from each section of the menu—one cocktail, one appetizer, one main course, and one dessert. Ordering the most expensive meals will set you back 70,800 Neopoints, while the most inexpensive will set you back 60,400. A 10,400 Neopoint difference seems like a lot, but if you’re already splurging at Kelp, I think it’s better to just go all the way and spent the extra 10 grand! Honestly, if you have any dietary restrictions, you’re going to end up spending that extra Neopoints anyway because the cheaper options are not the vegetarian options. If you prefer complex flavors and modern dishes, you’ll spent more money than if you like traditional dishes with simple flavor profiles.

As I left, the waitress gave me a smile and the host bowed low. I thanked them for their service; they thanked me for my patronage. I struggled to get home that night, my stomach full of delicious food, my pockets considerably lighter, and my mind struggling to concentrate on anything but sleep.

I’m writing this article with a cup of borovan and I skipped breakfast. Thinking back, all the food was worth it. They’re definitely pricey, but it’s a small price to pay for something nice and unique in Neopia; there aren’t many places you can go to dress up and spent Neopoints like it’s candy. Here are some final thoughts on Kelp:

The environment was friendly, despite how “haughty” it seems; no one looks down on you, and they mind their own business (okay. If you get EVERYTHING on the menu, some might look over at you and wonder what in Fyora’s good name is wrong with you). Even the foods I gave a low rating are, like I’ve stated a dozen times, delicious. I’m not here to rag on Kelp, insult their talented chefs, or get anything out of this; I wanted to see if the restaurant deserved the hype surrounding it and if it was worth the price.

Yes, it deserves the hype.

Yes, it’s worth the price.

Overall Score: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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