18 February 2010
Chinese New Year and Appo’s 70th so we thought we’d try and go posh!
Certainly the plush surrounds of the restaurant gave a good initial impression, which sadly didn’t last for long. We were led to the table and after a few minutes of standing with coat in my hand waiting for it to be taken to a cloakroom I gave up, which was maybe a good thing as to start with the restaurant was very cold inside.
On our table for 10, it seemed a little hit and miss whether you got a plate and cutlery, amusing the Chinese on the table that the Gweilo was the only one without a folk!
The food arrived promptly and whilst not bad, it didn’t match the quality that the prices would suggest. We decided against the sharks fin soup starting at £28 a bowl and had a lobster and spinach soup to start which was good and tasty. For 2nd starter (well it was new year!) we had crispy duck, which arrived and then was quickly whisked away by an annoyed looking waiter as he had to go and shred it, nice but nothing special. For 3rd starter, did I say it was a celebration?! We had soft shell crap, which was by far the highlight of the meal, deep fried with a hint of chilli, tasty and succulent.
Then for mains we had Roasted Crispy Belly Pork, sweet an sour pork ribs, sautéed Dover Sole, stir fried king prawn, lobster in honey bean & xo sauce, sharks fin with crab roe, choy sam and rice. Again all rather ordinary and nothing to really distinguish it from what the local take away brings me on a Saturday night!
To be fair the service was quite mixed, simple things like taking coats, cleaning the table between courses and missing plates and cutlery from the table were missed, wine and water were topped up regularly and food did arrive fairly promptly with no long pauses between courses.
All in all the place was a little bit of a disappointment, we were expecting Chinese food taken to a fine dining level, as the name, décor and prices would suggest. What we got was mixed service, and very ordinary food. In hindsight we regretted not going local as we think we would have had better food at half the price.
Our bill was about £500 for the food part (£50 a head), which puts it on a par with Min Jiang which in my opinion is a far better choice.