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Food on Saga


lincslady
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To get the ball rolling - kentchris mentioned slow lunches in the dining room.  I obviously do not know the set up on SOD, which may not be as helpful.  On Sapphire, one of the starters is  something like' a choice from the salad bar', which for me, as someone who does not want another three course meal in the day, a light meal in itself.  At the help yourself salad bar there are meats, good pork pie, fish (including pickled herrings, sardines etc.) and quite a varied collection of salads.  I can make up a plateful of these, maybe with a bread roll, and with maybe an ice cream or another go to the buffet for  the cheeses,and  have had a quick and enjoyable lunch, only troubling the wait staff for a glass of wine.

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It is clear from reading previous SoD cruisers posts and would be SoD cruisers posts that the Grill, aka the buffet, is not being used to it's possible strengths.

Why doesn't Saga use it in the way other cruise lines use their buffet, giving different options?

I quite like the idea of showcasing different countries fare e.g. an Italian night, a Mexican night etc. The Russian night looked interesting but it looks as though it was held in MDR.

When I'm on holiday I do like being served rather than using a buffet, but harking back to Oceania, we will use their buffet 2 or 3 times in the evening on a 14 night cruise rather than going to the restaurant. 

It seems that Saga didn't do it's research on this properly and instead stuck to their old way of doing things.

If they want to attract a younger demographic then they desperately need to get this right.

 

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Glenndale - as a previous Saga cruiser, your input on the way the dining room and Grill are run on SOD will be invaluable.  I have tried above to give advice on a quick light lunch in the dining room, which works on Sapphire, but the set up on SOD may be completely different.  I suspect that there may be fewer tables per head, so to speak, than on the old old ships in both Grill and dining room.  And the dining room may not have the buffet bit - which I like at breakfast for the fruit, yogurt, pastries etc. as well as lunch salads and cheeses.

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The GDR lunchtime menu doesn’t mention that there’s a salad selection available, possibly superior to the Grill’s lunchtime offering, plus fresh fruit and cheese/biscuits (I didn’t check if there were cold desserts) so there’s little to choose between them in terms of the food.

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Maybe there is no buffet area in the dining room?  There is on Sapphire, which gives the opportunity for a self-service meal or part of one - which I personally like at breakfast - you order anything cooked to be brought to you - and lunch, though I know some people like to have everything waiter served, which happens with most passengers.  Can you confirm whether there is such  facility in the dining room, Chris, when you have time?  I can see how the room might have been designed to be completely elegant and similar to a 'posh' restaurant on land.

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There’s no buffet: the tables in the centre, under the space open to The Club, are used for the cold display at lunchtime (and when there’s a buffet meal such as the late night Russian Buffet a couple of nights ago). 

Edited by kentchris
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40 minutes ago, kentchris said:

There’s no buffet: the tables in the centre, under the space open to The Club, are used for the cold display at lunchtime (and when there’s a buffet meal such as the late night Russian Buffet a couple of nights ago). 

So there is no serve yourself cereals, pastries, juices etc. at breakfast?

Are these tables available for guests in the evening or are they left empty?

Edited by Glenndale
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As Glenndale will know, the arrangement on Sapphire (now of minimal interest, alas, as she won't be here much longer)  works very well - a special area, half hidden by a half height wall, so that you could do your own thing with fruit, yogurts, cereals and the toppings at breakfast time, which I think most people prefer to having to ask the waiter to bring a bowl of cornflakes etc.  Not spoiling the look of the room as a whole.

 

It has only now struck me how well it works; not intrusive on the room, but very accessible.  You simply ordered your eggs etc. as you sat down, and the waiter brought your hot dish after you had had your starters.

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3 hours ago, Glenndale said:

So there is no serve yourself cereals, pastries, juices etc. at breakfast?

Are these tables available for guests in the evening or are they left empty?

Yes, there is a ‘buffet’ set up for breakfast in the GDR. We only ate there once as DH was not happy with what he ordered but I had yogurt and fruit from there. I didn’t see if hot food was available in addition to what you could order but the full range of cereals and fruits was laid out. They have ‘homemade yogurt’ but it was thin and watery (same as in Grill) nothing like the thick Greek yogurt I prefer. 

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54 minutes ago, cinnamon said:

Yes, there is a ‘buffet’ set up for breakfast in the GDR. We only ate there once as DH was not happy with what he ordered but I had yogurt and fruit from there. I didn’t see if hot food was available in addition to what you could order but the full range of cereals and fruits was laid out. They have ‘homemade yogurt’ but it was thin and watery (same as in Grill) nothing like the thick Greek yogurt I prefer. 

Yes, has to be thick, creamy Greek yoghurt, I cannot abide the thin, fat-free abomination

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Oh dear, I am obviously too easy to please - I too like Greek yogurt, but found that on Sapphire acceptable, and I am sure not fat free.  I just don't like the idea of asking a waiter to bring me a dish with a dollop of yogurt, fruit compote, various fresh fruit pieces and some dates and dried fruit and other toppings!  Easier to do it myself.

 

No hot dishes at the buffet, only the starters and pastries at breakfast and the salads and cheeses at lunch time.

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5 hours ago, Glenndale said:

So there is no serve yourself cereals, pastries, juices etc. at breakfast?

Are these tables available for guests in the evening or are they left empty?

They are tables used for dining in the evening but which are repurposed for buffet purposes, eg breakfast (which I forgot in my previous post), lunch, and special occasions. 

 

There isn’t a buffet in the sense of an area set aside for that purpose, but a bit of table shifting creates an ad hoc buffet as necessary. 

Edited by kentchris
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That does not sound very satisfactory- it would seem that the designer of the dining room and the Saga F and B people did not get their act together sufficiently.  If Saga do intend to continue providing some buffet food at breakfast and lunch, there should really be a special area, ideally slightly not in full view of the rest of the room, for this to be placed.

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The GDR is not just one large room. It has smaller areas which have a cosier feel, and are not in sight of the buffet area. I like the layout, and the breakfast and lunch buffet have a good selection of cold options, including a really good cheese selection, and plenty of fresh fruit, and my favourite smoked salmon at both meals. In fact I have no complaints about the food in all areas of the ship. The Living Room is a real asset, with snacks available until 5.30pm, along with waiter served speciality coffees and teas. We have eaten in all three speciality restaurants and can’t fault any of them. 

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5 hours ago, lincslady said:

 If Saga do intend to continue providing some buffet food at breakfast and lunch, there should really be a special area, ideally slightly not in full view of the rest of the room, for this to be placed.

Why? The full capacity of the GDR is needed for dinner but not for breakfast and lunch, so using otherwise unneeded capacity in the centre of the ‘room’ (as mentioned by IbizaLover it’s a series of connected spaces rather than a single space) for the cold self service options at breakfast and lunch makes sense.

 

We never realised there was a

dedicated buffet area in Pole to Pole, not that we had breakfast or

lunch there more than a couple of times each and were never told it was an option, so as far as we were concerned it may as well not have existed. 

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Pole to Pole is the dining room on Sapphire, Beaujolais.  It is divided into 'continents', with appropriate art work etc.; a bit strange and old fashioned, but works well in making a large room seem more intimate.  It seems as if the dining room on SOD is also  divided into more intimate areas - from photos, which is all I had to go on, I thought it was one large rather grand room.  In which case a part time buffet area would not have looked good.  Pleased to read that this is not the case.

 

 

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Whilst not strictly food (although some might disagree 😊) here are the drinks currently available in slightly random order. The prices of many drinks will obviously become academic in a very few weeks. The cocktails are all made with a single shot of spirit (apart from the after dinner cocktails listed as doubles) but doubling up for a stronger drink isn’t exactly ruinously expensive. 

 

There aren’t that many premium drinks on the list at the moment but there’s space on the shelves behind the bars for more bottles so perhaps that offer may improve. Note that the only sherry listed is Bristol Cream which, while a perfectly good sherry in its own right, is not what a lot of people want as an aperitif these days. And it’s not even kept chilled. 

 

While typing this it occurs that I don’t think I’ve seen anyone ordering wine from the full list at meal times - the included wines are reasonable if fairly ordinary. Only one each of the three reds, whites, and roses is offered every day but I’ve shared tables with people who’ve asked for their preferred wine if it wasn’t wine of the day. 

 

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Edited by kentchris
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Kentchris ... Thanks for the drinks menus. Really helpful. Do you know whether the bar staff are happy to make other off-menu cocktails? My partner loves a Manhatten. He was successful on getting it made on Sapphire, so I'm hoping that SoD bar staff are as amenable (and accomplished).

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Sorry, I really don’t know. I haven’t asked for any off menu cocktails, and I haven’t sat at the bar to watch drinks being made, so I don’t know whether they’re using mixes, or whether eg a margarita really contains Cointreau as a triple sec substitute. Plus of course the tequila which doesn’t even appear on the bar menu except as an ingredient (assuming I didn’t miss it when snapping the menu).

 

We’re dining in the Club tonight where there are seats at the bar, so we might be able to chat up the bar tender and/or see him making cocktails - nothing promised but I do find out I’ll let you know. 

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