All reader reviews by Stephen C

The Good Earth

My partner and I went to the Knightsbridge branch of Good Earth last night (a Saturday evening), and had a pleasant time.

The decor is clean, smart and unfussy, without being minimalist. The busy upstairs seemed much noisier than the relatively calm downstairs section, where we sat.

The menu is fairly extensive, but not so much that you have to order by number. We were delighted to see the separate vegetarian menu, with its "chicken" (sic) dishes made of soy protein. The menu doesn't seem authentically Chinese, with its influences from Japan and Malaysia, but if you were looking for a truly authentic experience you'd already have gone elsewhere. The presentation of dishes was good, although I thought the "sizzling mushrooms" a little bit over the top. But that's not really a complaint.

Service was surprisingly friendly and fast, although it slowed down a lot as the place got busier.

We spent about £80 for dinner for two, including wine and service, and we thought it was just about value for money.

I'm a bit surprised at some of the negative reviews. Some of the staff look stony-faced, but we found nothing in their manner that we would call unfriendly. The food certainly wasn't "c**p", far from it - although I'm not wild about Chinese food, I would happily eat here again.

My impression is that the restaurant is more suitable for groups than for dining a deux. The larger tables, equipped with lazy susans, seem well set up for parties of six or more. Having said that, the couples near us weren't ignored and it would be possible to have a good evening here if you didn't have your heart set on intimacy.

It's not as cheap as its reputation suggests (although I understand the set lunches are very inexpensive), but if you had a small group to entertain and you wanted to go one or two better than Wagamama, I'd seriously give this a try.

Sunday, February 18, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Fairuz

Like Matrix, I also went to Fairuz on Sunday, and I'm pleased to say it lived up to my usual expectations (perhaps because we ordered our wine by the glass?). This is my favourite restaurant in London and has never, ever let me down. The food is delicious (at least, the vegetarian mixed mezza is - I can't speak for the meat). Unpretentious but delicious, and extremely filling (my partner unwisely had a snack before leaving home and had to give up halfway through). Unlike some of the other reviewers here, I have always found the service speedy, charming and friendly. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've been to Fairuz half a dozen times and never been disappointed. I'd go regularly if I lived closer. Please don't let the negative reviews put you off - sure, nowhere gets it perfect all the time, but this is a wonderful restaurant and demands to be tried.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9


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