Visited at Bon Accord Shopping Centre, Aberdeen
With a very special occasion in sight – my best friend getting married with me proudly serving as her maid of honour – I have been really trying to be good, keep off sweets and milky coffee, and only allow myself a daily dose of not-too-pleasant-but-still-caffeine offering from my work canteen. However, that weekend I had been wandering around for hours looking for a dress and accessories and was desperate for something special for the belly. I usually try to stay away from the shopping centres’ food malls, but that Sunday I hit a brick wall and decided I wouldn’t visit another shop before grabbing a coffee.
I was actually going to settle down for an M&S café, but then spotted Di Maggio’s – thought it was a good idea to give it a go, since I hadn’t heard of the place before.
It was a typical high street/shopping centre chain, Italian-branded but with none of the staff looking remotely Italian; I didn’t expect anything different, although I did have that small hope for a bit of Italian charm. That hope disappeared when I placed myself in a queue where other customers were waiting with trays in hand and orders were taken in advance down the line by another staff member to keep the customers from dropping out.
In my mind I had already allowed myself a sweet treat after I noticed the afternoon offer: cake and coffee for £3.49. I had also instantly decided on the amaretto cheesecake, the second I saw it on the sweets menu – but had to make do with an apple pie, because a cheesecake was nowhere to be seen. Disappointment aside, at least my conscience was slightly recuperated when I just ate the apple mix and left the pastry out – nothing wrong with it, just carbs.
As for the coffee, the choice was harder – I was not keen on a sweet mocha, and was considering a cappuccino, solely because I was, after all, at an Italian café… but I dreaded the prospect of a dry, frothy concoction and decided to go for a safer latte. Safer – maybe, but probably not tastier. It was too hot, too milky, not at all punchy – and not presented in a typical Italian layered manner, but that was out of the question from the start.
I did gain two things from this visit, however: I did have a bit more energy to continue with my shopping (which ended a success, eventually) and I arrived to the very firm conclusion that shopping centre chain coffee shops are to be stayed away from, definitely, with no exceptions.
Verdict justification: The staff was a hit and miss (one pleasant, one not so much), the food average, the coffee not worth the hassle. Not an afternoon-tea (or coffee) place.