Ciao Baby – quite an improvement on last time. Restaurant re-review!

On 15 December 2010, I thought I’d keep a promise to a restaurateur. Specifically, I promised to re-visit Ciao Baby Cucina in Clearwater Mall. If you’re an avid reader of the blog you will know of the disastrous experience we had here and the chat with the manager here. So…. Were we going to be going to be pleased, or was this going to be another waste of hard earned money? Read on dear visitor, read on.

After being seated by our waiter in a friendly and welcoming fashion, and a perfunctory perusal of the menu, I ordered a Fillet in a walnut and cream sauce and chips, with a shared salad, while Mrs Chips selected the Fish & Chips (and why not?).

Our drinks duly arrived and we sipped away quietly, watching, in that faintly detached but amused fashion that patrons of establishments in the vicinity do, as ineffectual parents make feeble attempts to stop their children from drowning in the nearby water feature.

Just over 18 minutes later (I timed them) the meal arrived; and this time, kudos to Ciao Baby. The salad looked scrumptious. Mrs Chips ‘meal de la mare’ (that’s your actual pidgin French), was without fault.

Ciao Baby's Fish & Chips

Now THAT'S what a Ciao Baby salad should look like!

My fillet, while not a disaster, scored 7 out of 10. Here’s why. A chef in a restaurant of Ciao Baby’s advertised standard ought to know how to prepare a fillet to order. I asked for medium and I received a portion that was on the wrong side of well-done.

A fillet - well done

Still, on the whole, it was an agreeable experience and I’m pleased to score it significantly higher than last time.

Category # out of 10 Notable Points
Perceived target market
Allegedly middle to upmarket mall restaurant.
Date & Time of visit
15 December – 14:55
Our greeting was friendly and welcoming
Manager visible?
We didn’t see a manager, but the waiter did return to the table twice to ask if all was in order.
Quality of staff
Our waiter was friendly, efficient and personable
On this occasion, I counted 12 tables occupied, so the family eatery cum business meal venue atmosphere was evident.
Table appearance
Well set out. Clean. Cloth napkins were clean, as were the wine glasses and cutlery.
Menu variety & flexibility
The latest menu has what I’d call ‘old favourites’; good food, satisfactorily prepared. We did not ask for any variation on items ordered.
Again, the dining area was clean
Our drinks order was completed accurately and promptly. Our meals were also accurately executed
Our meal arrived within 18 minutes.
Food – presentation
A vast and pleasant improvement on the last time. My only issue was the fillet. I ordered it Medium – and it arrived over-done.
Ingredient quality
On this occasion, there was unquestionably a massive improvement over last time. The salad was fresh and crisp.
I’d definitely rate this as ‘good’ – but I’ll leave the adjective ‘excellent’ for one or two other family eateries.
Delivered as advertised
Worth the spend
Yes, I’d say this was worth it.
Worth going again
Yes, I may well go again – but not in a rush.
Total Score
Out of 150 – a great improvement Ciao Baby!


I am not sponsored by, nor do I receive any benefit from any restaurant visited. This is a private individual’s opinion, based on several years of restaurant and food experiences. You are encouraged to form your own opinions.


About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
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2 Responses to Ciao Baby – quite an improvement on last time. Restaurant re-review!

  1. Bill says:

    Alan, where do you get the monies for this luxury of dinning out? Are you a tendertrepeneur? 😉

    • Hi Bill,

      I seem to remember you posing this question earlier:
      “ Submitted on 2010/08/04 at 7:30 pm
      How on earth do you afford all this esoteric eating out? Dit moes lekker wees om ryk te wees. ”

      My reply to you then was that we don’t eat between visits to restaurants……..

      But of course, I was lying. As a fat cat Afro-capitalist, I hopped on the gravy train (first class no less, with dining car). I got an all-over dark-tan tattoo, had a sex change and now fit right in to the Current South African BEE dispensation as a black crippled lesbian (made all the more real by my knee operations). I’m now paid squillions of Ronts just to appear at my desk. No one is expecting me to actually produce anything, naturally. My title is Executive Director of Postage and Communications. Within this portfolio resides the vitally important task of ensuring all envelopes are sealed and stamped. Of course, you wouldn’t see me dead licking a stamp or an envelope. No, I have organised well paying jobs for my cousins.

      AS an X-Eye Bee Emmer, you should know all about the pivotal role in business of the function of ‘delegation’. As a South African in the new dispensation, you ought to be aware that this delegation has its rewards; I organise jobs for friends and family, they pay me a monthly percentage as a token of their appreciation. And that, dear sir, is my meal ticket, as it were.

      I hope this assuages the curiosity within.

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