All reader reviews by kx

C&R Cafe Restaurant

The C & R is tucked away in a side street in Chinatown and when I went there for the first time, the owner (an older man) was confused by my accent and ordering was a little interesting. A younger man has since taken over and while ordering is easier, simple conversation is still difficult owing to differences in accents.

The food is consistently good. As a former Singaporean, I miss certain things like Prawn Noodles (here the addition of the prefix Penang might cause some debates among SE Asians as to the true provenance of the dish but I digress), char kway teow, kangkong blachan and of course the usual array of sweet drinks usually enjoyed in hot, muggy weather.

I would stay away from the kopi tarek (stretched coffee) as it was only rehydrated Nescafe which I find repellent at the best of times, more so when it could have been done with proper coffee, perhaps some Java from the Algerian Coffee Shop just round the corner?).

Stick with the staples and you'll enjoy food that, if you are from SEAsia, might bring a smile of remembrance to your face (half a boiled egg on the Prawn Noodles, for example) and if you are not, you could for a few moments revel in someone else's life. The rojak is usually crunchy with green mango and redolent with prawn paste, the rendang is properly flavoured through the tender meat and the five spice rolls (ngoh hiang) are crisp, moreish and makes you think of warmer days whatever the weather outside.

And no troublesome SEAsian politics to cloud the enjoyment of the food....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 9 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 8

Mon Plaisir

I went to Mon Plaisir last night (Fri 29 Sept 2006) to meet up with old friends. I had been there once before and quite frankly, couldn't remember much about the place.

As with old friends meeting up after a while, we chatted and chatted and the staff were patient with us as we put off ordering other than drinks. When we did order, we did so hurriedly, all of us having the same main course (cod with a coulis of tomatoes, olives, baby broad beans) and some sides of epinards a la creme, haricots verts et pomme allumettes. I speak French, not my friends but all was accomodated with ease by our French waitress.

The starters were outstanding, a salade nicoise, a goat cheese tartelette and my gratinee a l'oignon. The salad was fresh and appetising, the tartelette was topped with a cloud of airy cheesy mousse and my soup was sustaining and hearty with a hefty crown of gruyere. The body of the soup was robust with good beef stock and sweet with lots of caramelised onions.

The main course was equally outstanding with well cooked cod, delicious peeled baby broad beans and bits of black olive providing sparks of flavour. The sides were good, the green beans were well cooked but a little plain, the spinach could have done with a little more nutmeg and a little more cream but we enjoyed it nonetheless and the string fries were crisp, dry of oil and moreish to distraction.

For dessert, the chatting meant that we gave the list a cursory glance and all of us plumped for the chocopassion. When it arrived, it was a hybrid of hot chocolate sponge and chocolate fondant served in a low porcelain dish. It was topped with a passionfruit sorbet and the combination of hot, intense chocolate and cold, sharp sorbet stopped the conversation except for the occasional moan.

The staff were very French in that they seemed ever so uncomfortable to explain or speak more than was necessary to in English but they were never rude or unpleasant. I suspect their lack of confidence in our language was their main challenge.

Go to Mon Plaisir, preferably with good friends, have a long evening of it and eat at leisure. Go hungry and eat slowly and voluptously and honestly, you will have a good time.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

Konstam at the Prince Albert

We ate at Konstam about a month after it had started. It was a special birthday treat for my partner and the food and service made the evening something we still talk about.

The food was sublime, from the fish to the Amersham pork chop, the pigeon breasts and side dishes, all were expertly executed and special requests were catered for without hesitation. We had wanted to have side salads composed of the vegetables of the day and they threw in some of the most delicious spatzle I've ever tasted.

Some weeks later, my partner returned for lunch with his colleagues. The service, quality of food and atmosphere were as good as ever and the seasonal menu had not changed. That may be strange to some diners expecting the menu to change daily but with their sourcing policy, this is to be expected and respected.

I find the food priced at a level where I would go for a special occasion and not on a regular basis. That is not to say it is expensive, on the contrary the value for money is outstanding. It is more an indication of what I would prefer to spend on an ordinary night out if we are too lazy to cook. The average price is about £30-£40 a person for a three course meal with wine.

An excellent place to have close to where we live.

Saturday, September 30, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9

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