All reader reviews by Dragon
If you charge below-average prices then you need above-average work rate to generate the same profit. This is the business philosophy behind Thai Metro, which is why diners who are happy to accept cheap-and-cheerful cuisine are prepared to put up with fast-and-furious service. This works well for me at lunchtime, when time is a premium. The quick-selection lunch menu has plenty of choice but don’t expect 5-star dishes at 2-star prices. If all you are after is a quick-in, quick-out meal then there are few better in the area.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10
Princess Garden’s dim sum gets a resounding ten out of ten from me but the a la carte menu can be a little hit and miss. My Peking duck was greasy and the skin lacked the crispness, which you normally associate with the dish. If this is supposed to be the restaurant’s signature dish then emergency handwriting lessons are in order. What’s more, they served the duck with soggy, heavy crepes rather than with light Chinese pancakes, which made the experience even more unpleasant.
However, Dim Sum aficionados are in for a real treat. Princess Garden does the basics with great finesse and specialities with the flair you would normally expect from top Hong Kong dim-sum chefs. The char siu buns are delightfully light, the Shanghai Dumplings hold just the right quantity of stock and the turnip cakes are fragrant and fluffy.
What a pity that Princess Garden quite can’t quite up its game a little, though. It is unquestionably a destination of choice for an enjoyable Dim Sum lunch but there are better Chinese restaurants in the vicinity for an evening meal.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Come on Pescatori, you can do a lot better than this. Let’s try and inject a bit more of that Italian passion in your service that can painlessly turn a good eaterie into special dining experience.
On my latest visit to Pescatori, I ordered the prawn risotto with saffron. It was exquisitely light, visually attractive, delightfully fragrant and the flavours danced gently on the taste buds. However, the staff scored zero points for hospitality.
I’m not asking for singing waiters here. Nor do I want a violin serenade or a prowling accordionist but just a sprinkling of welcome and warmth that many Italian restaurants manage with supreme ease. What’s more, they don’t charge anything like the prices at Pescatori.
But will I go back? Quite possibly. But next time, my tip won’t be monetary but instead I'll just leave them the name of a good charm school.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Food 8 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 5
If VFM is high on your list of priorities, then Bi Bim Bap certainly delivers Value for Money by the stone-bowl full. The food is consistently good, the service always pleasant and the bill at the end of the meal repeatedly pleases.
However, I have recently noticed that the bowls are not nearly as full to the brim as they once used to be. Perhaps this has more to do with my insatiable appetite for mind-blowingly spicy chilli-infused kimchi than inflationary pressures on the cost of rice, meat and vegetables.
That said, the portions are still quite generous and eating a wee bit less never hurts anyone.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9
A visit to Sagar could go some way to make even a confirmed carnivore reassess the need to ever eat meat again. The lunch special at £5.75 is not only superb value for money but also a great way to sample a range of tasty South Indian delights. The dosa was delightful and the upma uplifting. A more expensive thali option is available, but the lunchtime special was more than adequate.
Sagar gets the thumbs up from me!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
It is called C&R for good reason – it is a “Canteen” first and “Restaurant” second. But don’t let the name put you off. Nor should the location of the West End eaterie, which happens to be tucked away in the middle of Rupert Court, ever deter you. The alleyway, which poses as a court, is about as easy to find as a snowflake in Singapore.
But for those who persevere, C&R’s laksa is second to none and the nasi lemak is value for money with a capital “V”. What’s more, the char kwey teow is a tribute to the chef’s masterful use of the wok that gives the rice noodles the right mix of fragrance (it has to be slightly burnt) and texture (it must be soft).
Service (what service?) is something that C&R can (and should) work on. The customer-facing staff are pleasant enough. But the kitchen staff can do their bit by stepping on the gas a little at peak times. An obvious solution is to avoid lunchtimes, but what’s the fun in having lunch at 3pm?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Food 8 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 9
If you visit Kopi Tiam with relatively low expectations then you should leave with reasonably high rewards. But do it the other way around and you could be severely disappointed. After all, Kopi Tiam is just a simple Malaysian coffee shop - somewhere for people to relax and watch a bit of television if that is what you want to do while you eat. It doesn't pretend to be anything else.
My two favourite dishes are their nasi lemak and Hainan chicken rice. Both have always been served with minimum fuss and maximum speed. With the latter, you can even specify the part of the chicken you would like. For the more discerning diner, the roti prata is well worth a try. It's a great way to tickle your pallet before delving into your main course.
For a quick meal at lunchtime, Kopi Tiam should be a destination of choice. But be warned, other diners are thinking along the same lines too. So, you may have get behind me in the queue for a table.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 9
L’Escargot is simply restaurant service at its very best. I will definitely be going back.
Marco Pierre White must be applauded for this excellent eaterie deep in the heart of Soho. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, we were waited on hand and foot. And let’s not forget the exquisite food - my sea bass was cooked to perfection!
The portions, as my mother would say, were of elegant sufficiency.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
The first thing that springs to mind after visiting Inamo is: “Why try to re-invent the wheel?”
Why is it necessary for a restaurant to dream up a new way of taking food orders from customers when the old-fashioned method worked perfectly well? If the rationale behind the system is to cut costs, then something has gone badly awry. Prices are far from cheap at Inamo.
If I want to place an order using some new-fangled IT system, then I may just as well stay at home and fire up my PC. What’s more, if I want to play interactive electronic games while I wait for my food to arrive, then I have a perfectly good PS3 to amuse me at home, too. And why on Earth would I want to want to watch my food being prepared on a poor-resolution webcam?
If I have to say something positive about Inamo, it is that I am positive I will not be going back.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Food 3 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 1 | Value for money 1
This is, perhaps, one of the best value-for-money Chinese restaurants in London. It's not the easiest eateries to find (being tucked away behind Lisle Street) but it's well worth a visit if you enjoy traditional Hakka food at its best.
The restaurant occupies several floors, so there is rarely any need to book in advance in the evening. That said, lunch times can be a little busy, so a quick phone call before you arrive won't hurt.
Joy King Lau's dim-sum menu is easily one of the most extensive in Chinatown. Their steamed barbecue pork buns (char siu bao) are some of the best I have tasted in London. And their Singapore fried noodles are delightfully fragrant.
I have to disagree with some of the comments about the surly waiters. I have never found them to be brusque - if anything, they are sometimes a little over-attentive!
In the main, the portions are very generous so don't be tempted to order more than you need. If you do over order though, don't be embarrassed to doggy-bag any leftovers.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8