When I was working at L.C. Taylor, I would occasionally wander down to the Convention Centre for lunch at the Centre Place Cafe. I went back recently to see what may have changed in the course of the renovations to the centre itself. The biggest change is that the cafe location has moved from the east to the west side of the second floor. At least as far as the place where you order and collect your food is concerned.
My visits were taken in the middle of fairly cold weather. The first was one just after the noon hour communion at Holy Trinity. I appreciated being able to get in the skywalk system at the library and travelling indoors to the cafe.
Centre Place Cafe – New Location, Same Food
The best thing about the move is that the food hasn’t changed in the process. Centre Place Cafe’s fare is pretty much middle of the road. It’s designed to give convention goers and people working in the area a fast meal, with a variety of options in one place. On the whole the cafe achieves this quite well.
My first visit was just at the end of the lunch service, and so the hot service had sold out and closed for the day. I ended up choosing a sandwich, soup, and I picked up a container of yogourt with fruit and oats for topping.The sandwich was Corned Beef, and it was stacked good and thick between the slices of rye bread. The soup was a beef vegetable and featured a good, rich broth along with plenty of beef, vegetables, etc.
My typical lunch choice at Centre Place was the Carvery. I am a fan of meat, and I really like a good beef roast. So, on my next visit I decided to get there early so that I would have first crack at the Carvery. My beef was good and rare, and that’s how I like it. As well the potatoes and the vegetables were crisp, which is also how I like them. Unfortunately, this is where the biggest change, in this case for the worse not the better, comes in.
Centre Place Cafe used to offer flatware with your meal. Since moving across the floor they’ve switched to plastic cutlery and rather cheap plastic cutlery at that. Not only is it bad for the environment, but try sticking a plastic fork into still hard broccoli. It’s an adventure. Same as trying to cut rare beef with a plastic fork.
However, that said, Centre Place still makes a good place for lunch. I’ve always found the service quick, and even when there are long lines they move them along quite quickly. Also, with cafeteria style service it’s easy to tailor your menu choices to the shortest lines if you are in a real hurry.