All reader reviews by PAR

New Golden Palace

Slightly greedy dim sum for two without drinks £30 – including £2 to pay for the very expensive parking meters outside (30p per 10 minutes).

Contrary to the previous comments, I found the service pleasant and organised, and was quite happy to pay the service charge but agree that it is automatically added. The two senior staff ran an efficient service.

The food was of a higher quality than my last visit (November 2005). Lemongrass chicken , hotpot, and curried cuttlefish were all very good. Crispy deep fried squid was simple but perfect. BBQ pork buns perhaps not as good as Royal China Baker Street, too sweet and tight on the meat, but this was an exception. The rest was definitely superior to Royal China and maybe the best dim sum I have had to date.

On the last couple of visits I have found Royal China’s dim sum to be slightly bland and formulaic, especially the steamed dumplings in which the flavours are indistinct. However, at the Golden Palace I tasted every ingredient in the steamed seaweed rolls, and the ginger and lemongrass broth with the tripe was stunning.

Only complaints are that smoking seems to be allowed everywhere and the specials which seem not to have changed since my last visit.

Monday, April 24, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7

Le Pont de la Tour

In the bar, on the set menu with a couple of sides, and with wine shop prices, £100 for three, 3 courses, 2 bottles of wine. Wine very good value, especially a 2004 Hunters NZ Pinot Noir for about £12.

Food average, but acceptable given value for money of set menu. Pork rillette was well seasoned with nice brown bread, but too coarsely shredded, poorly mixed and served fridge cold. Salmon was slightly overcooked and a bit flabby. Crème catalan topping was grainy and under-caramelised but well flavoured. Liver was a bit dry but mash and gravy were good. Side of rocket and parmesan salad was very light on the parmesan and cost £6.50! Ice-cream was ok, but espresso was excellent, served with chocolate coffee beans.

Service ok, but few issues which would have been serious if not on set menu. Whitebait ordered as amuse didn’t arrive until after starters but was then taken off the bill (and was a small portion and not very crispy). Replacement bread didn’t arrive, but first lot was excellent (from in house bakery). Extra wine glasses left on table which became cramped and staff a bit keen to pour the wine. Mains served without cutlery.

Bar is loud due to hard surfaces and cramped tables. Piano player was a nice touch, especially her version of one of Keane’s songs. Overall, very good value – good choice to impress a date and enjoy a walk along the Thames afterwards, but not one for a quiet romantic meal. Might go back to have a bottle of wine at the bar.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8

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