Thanks to the rise of culinary TV programs, cookery and catering have well and truly entered the mainstream, shedding the old fashioned image of chain smoking chefs with fake French twangs and battleaxe middle aged ladies pummeling pastry to within an inch of its life with rolling pins. Unsurprisingly, the games industry has been quick to catch on and in Delicious 2 Deluxe, we have another in a long line of colorful, multitasking restaurant sims.

Similarities to the hit Diner Dash series are unavoidable, though in essence, Delicious 2 Deluxe is probably sandwiched somewhere between D2D and Cake Mania. Reprising your role as restaurateur Emily (this time strangely bereft of freckles) you must aid your uncle Antonio’s ailing business, which is threatened with closure after his gambling son runs up massive debts with the local Mafioso.

The idea is to run a catering establishment and earn as much money as you can within a given time limit by preparing and serving food and drink to customers. After each consumer has decided what they’d like to order – represented by an image in a thought bubble – you must click the mouse cursor on the corresponding food and beverage icons behind the counter, then deliver the orders to the clientele. Take too long and your patrons will become red faced and irritated, and may even storm out.

Some orders are more complex than others. Ice creams, hotdogs and certain types of sandwiches for example, require you to click on two icons e.g. a cone and ice cream, before they’re ready to be served. You also need to keep a close eye on the ever-expanding number of tables within your establishment to ensure they’re promptly cleared. Messy tables mean no new customers.

Adding an element of originality are secondary, easy to control characters, which help you run your business more efficiently. These include Ziggy, a hippie guitarist who keeps your patrons sweet with serenades, a clown and a second waiter to help clear tables. The quicker you serve customers, the more they’ll tip, meaning you’ll have more money to spend on restaurant upgrades such as flowers, shop signs, popcorn stalls, new grass, lights and a bigger counter, which in turn will increase the amount customers tip. What’s more, if you manage to hit the Expert total of earnings in each level, you’ll be given even more money to spend on improvements.

As well as these plot-driven levels, there’s also a Happy Customer sandbox mode, in which you must keep patrons satisfied for as long as possible. If three customers storm out, it’s game over.

Well-polished and unquestionably entertaining, Delicious 2 Deluxe offers five nicely varied establishments to manage, while its levels are increasingly difficult to conquer. Thought it’s not hugely different in essence from the original, there are enough nuances here to make the whole experience fresh and fun, while the visuals have also received a thorough buffing. On the down side, patrons are incredibly uniform and lack the quirkiness of Turbo Pizza and Mystic Inn‘s customers, while there’s also a lack of the fun mini games and alternative diversions that gave Diner Dash: Flo on the Go and Turbo Pizza their original edge.

If you were a fan of the first game, then Delicious 2 Deluxe will certainly help satiate your craving for more delectable multi-tasking catering capers. However, if you’re primarily looking for fun side diversions and quirky clientele, then you may prefer the taste of one of Delicious 2 Deluxe‘s alternatively flavored competitors instead.