Located at the summit of Summerhill Heights, opposite the International Pacific College (IPC), Rendzvous is part of the Summerhill Heights Shopping Complex.
Open for lunches through to dinners, for casual or formal dining. Group bookings welcome.
Phone: (06) 357-4060
Fax: (06) 357-2581
Growing tired of going to the same old places time and time again, I leapt at the chance to try somewhere new when my partner suggested we give Rendezvous a go... especially after one of my workmates commenting about having a lovely breakfast there not so long ago. Stepping inside, I found the atmosphere to be relaxed and friendly, with the decor being extremely tasteful and simple. Open plan and very spacious, there was a "sports bar" feel to one end, where a pool table and big screen tv sat, a relaxing "garden bar" area outside, and the rest had the feel of a fancy formal restaurant that still welcomed kids. Already a definite improvement on the rather limited supply of decent restaurants that Palmy has to offer!!!
Settling down at a table with a window view, we were given menus that showed the usual kind of price you'd find in good quality restaurants, and food that sounded absolutely delicious... so much so that it took a while before I could finally make a selection!! Water was supplied and poured before our orders were taken, then we were left to relax and chat for about 5 minutes. When we'd requested a small change to the entree of garlic bread (a simple addition of cheese before cooking), there had been no hesitation from the waiter with accepting our request, which certainly made a nice change from some of the restaurants I've been to, where it's caused far too much hassle, no matter how small the change that was requested. The slight alteration lead to an almost perfect cheesey garlic bread (I say almost simply because there wasn't enough of it... LOL!!) that was devoured by the 3 of us within mere moments, leaving us craving more, and rather looking forward to seeing if the rest of the meal would live up to the standard that had just been set. As the plates were cleared, our water bottle was replaced with a full one, and the glasses were refilled for us, then we were once again left to enjoy the quiet ambience of the place while we waited for our mains. Being a huge pasta fan, I'd finally settled on the Cajun Chicken pasta, served with ciabatta and rocket. 10 or so minutes after our garlic bread plates had been cleared, our mains arrived, and my eyes almost boggled at the size of the portions, making me wonder just how the heck I was supposed to finish this monster of a meal, that was SUPPOSEDLY a LIGHT lunch!!! Yeah right!! This should definitely have been classed as a main. Where was I supposed to put all this? Errr, maybe it should have come with a doggy bag??? The first mouthful told me that there was no way I was going to want to leave a single morsel behind. The sauce was rich and creamy, the mushrooms were flavoursome and cut in good sized chunks, instead of the usual thinly sliced pieces that were barely noticeable, and the chicken pieces were well cooked, full of flavour with the cajun spices giving it just the right amount of "zing", and as with the mushrooms, cut into good sized pieces. I had no regrets whatsoever about choosing this meal... other than maybe not bringing a bigger appetite with me! Pudding followed... a delicious creamy rice pudding with cinnamon and apple that I shared with my partner, served with vanilla bean ice-cream that tasted very similar to french vanilla. Both the pudding and the main had me wanting to head into the kitchen and find some way to get the recipies out of the chef!!! Guess I'll just have to head back to Rendezvous for another round... with a doggy bag (a rather large one at that!) in tow!! Overall, the meal was relaxed, plentiful, and wonderfully tasty; the staff very warm and friendly, to the point of our waiter often partaking in light banter with both my son and partner (so nice to see that customer service DOES still exist in places!!!), and also rather discreet... leaving us to enjoy our meal, yet checking in when the plates were cleared to see if we enjoyed the meal, and even managing to replace one of the 4 bottles of water we were given without us even knowing it had been done. One moment the bottle was almost empty, next thing the waiter had been and gone, with none of us ever seeing a bottle in his hands, and a fresh, full bottle was now sitting on the table. Was there a special pocket in his apron that could hide a full bottle of water somehow that we hadn't noticed?? This was one of the best dining experiences I've had in a LONG time, with fantastic value-for-money, and although the location is somewhat out of the way, it is WELL worth the extra drive!!! Thanks heaps for the beautiful meal team... we will be back... many times I'm sure!!
I dined here at lunch time with a group of 10 or so colleagues.
Earlier in the week, we rang to make a booking and we also asked for the menu to be faxed to us so we could pre-order. Two days later, we received the menu. Unfortunately, we later found out (after we had eaten and were paying) only part of the menu was actually faxed to us! So we missed out on a lot of choice.
So, we all pre-order and ring through our order a few days before we arrive so our meals can be brought out to us soon after we arrive (limited lunch breaks, you know).
The day comes and we arrive at Rendezvous at 12.30 on the dot. I was really impressed by the huge, spacious dining area and classy looking tables and chairs. It was impressive alright! There is a big screen TV above the dining area which is great. We were shown to our table, and water was brought over within about five minutes. Drinks orders were taken after another few minutes. All our pre-ordered meals came out after about 10 minutes after we arrived, which was really excellent and I will give Rendezvous top marks for that.
The food was very delicious. Most of us had salads or pasta, and everybody thoroughly enjoyed their meals. They were all a very generous size and presented very well. I had Thai Prawn and Beef salad, which came with crispy noodles, red onions, cashews, and a nice spicy dressing. The steak was very tender (fillet), and the prawns were juicy. The ratio of meat to salad was great, everything in good quantities. Pastas were served with bread and shaved parmesan, and by the comments of others, tasted wonderful. When we were finished, a waitress came to take coffee orders. Our plates were cleared about 15 minutes after this.
There was a downside to our meal however, and judging by the last review it seems we may have caught the staff on a bad day, as the previous reviewer found the service great. My experience and observations found that some of the wait staff were not very attentive, and in my opinion not quite friendly enough towards the customers. A couple of examples: Throughout the initial sit down and drinks ordering, we were not asked how we were, in fact, there was no speech at all other than being asked what we would like to drink. I think greeting the customer and giving personalised service is important. We also were not asked during, or after our meals if everything was in order or if anybody wanted a second drink.
Next, I cringed as I watched two quite elderly ladies (complete with walking sticks) standing around for about five minutes waiting to be shown a table, or even acknowledged at all. I could see they felt very uncomfortable and 'in the way'. Finally, a waitperson seated them, but again, there was no conversation. Another 10 minutes passed before somebody brought glasses and water to them, and again, this was poured... in complete and utter silence. When the waitperson left them, I saw them look at each other very disappointingly, like they were wondering why they had bothered!
Luckily, I think their meal was redeemed when a cheery girl came to take their meal orders. She shared a quick giggle with them. Finally, they were left with smiles on their faces, which made me happy to see!
The lunch service on that particular day was very busy, and perhaps this meant customer service was a little compromised.
When we went up to pay, all went well until we discovered another lunch/brunch menu which was not faxed to us when we asked for the menus to be faxed so we could preorder. This had many dishes which we all began drooling over, and we were really disappointed that this menu had not been faxed to us! The counter lady did apologise as best she could however. All was forgiven, and I guess we have an excuse to go back
Despite a few glitches, I really enjoyed my meal and the atmosphere of the place. I'd definitely go back.
With plans to be visiting the Sakura Festival at the IPC across the road, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to check this place out. I had heard some mixed reports, so wasn't too sure what to expect...
I was part of a team effort here, 2 adults 1 child... this, it became apparent, was going to prove the point of the latest reports I had heard... As we entered and approached the bar, I was greeted by a very pleasant young man, who turned out to be the one who was going to pander to (almost) our every culinary whim. After a quick introduction to one of the owners, we were seated in a nice little carpetted corner, with an excellent view out to some delightful natural terrain.
After much debate, discussion and sheer drooling, for starters we ordered some of the garlic ciabatta... as a bit of a test of their willingness to adapt to customer's whims, I asked if they could put a sprinkle of grated cheese on them before slapping them under the grill. When it came out, it was absolutely perfect. The cheese added a bit of a tangy chew to the bread, which had a definite, but not unpleasantly strong, garlic taste and the sweet bite of a drizzle of something dark and seductively tangy over it... I suspect it was a vinegrette reduction, it had that slightly salty, acidic snap of malt vinegar.
I thought I would play a bit of fun with our waiter, who seemed to be a good character, so I mentioned to him that I thought they must have fluked on the perfect bread, beginners luck, and I would need another dozen plates to continue the quality checking... and was delighted when he joined in the jest with his witty rejoinders.
For mains, I chose the Fish of the Day, which this time around was pan-fried Kingfish with Mesclun salad, drizzled with pesto oil and pickled vegetables... though the fish became a little chewy as it cooled, this was mostly my fault, since I ate slowly while discussing impressions of the meals with my cohorts. (I adored the little taste I had of the Cajun Chicken Pasta... OH SO WICKEDLY SMOOTH!) If I ignore the unfortunate delays, and their effects on my meal, I have to say I thought it was divine! I have never eaten Kingfish before, and it has a taste slightly unique from your run of the mill slab of terakihi... not to mention it was a solid 4cm thick and by no means a tiny 'gourmet' meal either! I was also impressed with the pickled veges, which gave a really nice sharp highlight for the more subtle flavour of the Kingfish.
For dessert, since I was quite stuffed, I shared a portion of the Apple and Cinnamon Rice Pudding, which was as good as my childhood memories recall, with the added -oomph- of a tangy Apple Glaze drizzled over the rice pudding, then topped with a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon, and a small side-dish of Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream. When I next looked at my watch, I was surprised to see that over 2 hours had drifted pleasantly by, as we soaked up the sun and enjoyed some stunning fare.
Overall, I was blown away by how much this place has changed from the first reports I heard... from a rough start, through a major overhaul bringing about a change of ownership and head chef, to come out the other side considerably improved. The decor really sets the tone... semi-formal, but with casual elements thrown in, such as the pool table at one end of the bar, and the wooden bench tables outside... you can turn up wearing anything from shorts and a T-shirt for a lunchtime wedges and beer out front, to suit-&-tie for formal indoor dining in tall-backed comfy chairs... Rendezvous caters for groups as small as 1 to as many as you can seat...
I was particularly impressed at how they were nopt only kid-friendly, but also kid-smart, with 2 carpeted corner sections so that kids can play in safety, without getting under the feet of other patrons. This really did strike a chord with me, as it is a rarity for parents to be able to relax so fully in a formal setting when the rugrats are in tow. Top marks for that! The only slight issue that drops this place from a perfect 10 for me, was the parking. Shared parking with the shopping mall will mean, if not now then eventually, parking issues during peak flow times such as lunch. Today was a good example, though this time the carpark was full of cars of people heading over to the festival at IPC (Despite the hastily hand-made signs asking "Shopping Mall Patrons carparking only" at the front gates.)
Very, VERY well done folks... I happily recommend you to all diners wanting to try something really impressive in town.
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