You can see the sea from Tides Café & Bistro, especially if you are upstairs in the open-air area. The area itself is rather spacious with contemporary black, wood and concrete décor, ZZ plants, and when we climb up the stairs for a really late lunch, a waiter tells us that we had just ten minutes if we were going to enjoy their lunch buffet.
We decide to order off the menu; the buffet offerings were at that point dwindling, an indication of its popularity perhaps.
We take our seats, near a mural, and a waiter brings us the menu and water. “They’ve got Hainanese chicken rice!” I tell my friend. I find myself rather excited about that, as I haven’t had a chicken rice meal in probably the last five years. “I think I’ll have the grilled white fish; I want something light,” my fried replies. I must note that the menu is quite extensive, there’s a whole lot of variety including Kothu, Indian food and Thai food; not too pricy too;
“I think there’s an air-conditioned area downstairs,” my friend tells me. “On the right side. Did you see it?”
“No. But let’s go check it out.”
We ask our waiter whether there’s room for us downstairs, he confirms there is, and we make our way down to the smallish but comfortably cool area. One wall is mustard yellow; the other one opposite it has a brush stroke like blue green white pattern. There’s a large indoor plant too, and I find myself liking this ambience a bit more than upstairs.
We finally get our food; if the waiter had taken just a minute longer with it we might have complained about it. And here’s the important bit: it was worth the wait, really every bite of it.
My chicken rice came with this really good chilli dip, the rice had a good ginger flavour going on in there, the chicken was succulent and not overcooked, the soup combined well with everything else and there was this sambal that I particularly dig.
“You should taste this,” my friend tells me, pointing to his grilled reef fish.
“But I am enjoying my chicken.”
“I think you should really have some before I finish this off,” he insists and I cave.
“Okay that’s some smoky flavour on that fish. I like that sauce too. Is that lime butter or tartar?”
“I don’t know,” he tells me, gobbling some more fish and veggies. “I’ve always thought of this place as a coffee shop. For some reason I honestly didn’t expect the food to be this good.”
“Me too. I was of course trying to keep an open mind, but this took me by surprise. I am really satisfied with my chicken.”
The bill arrives and we part with MVR 240. That’s for the chicken, the fish and a large water bottle. The food certainly surpassed our expectations and the bill, we think, is not hefty at all.