Maxim is an Ealing institution. I know because I've been going there since I was a child and their food has always been superb. In this era of interior designed venues, Maxim has a slight ‘80s Chinese’ decor which I don't think has been altered for over 10 years but it's always busy due to the beautifully cooked and presented dishes which were full of wonderful flavours. That's why I was so disappointed by my last visit there.
After over 20 years of visiting the restaurant, we've definitely developed a preference for certain dishes on the menu, which means we are perfectly placed to make a direct comparison regarding quality and taste between visits.
The BBQ spare ribs were lukewarm. Still succulent but it’s somewhat unpleasant to receive obviously reheated food in a restaurant. The chicken in cashew nuts had a disproportionate amount of nuts, too little chicken and not enough sauce. All I could taste were cashews. In contrast, the king prawns in chilli sauce were overwhelmed with sauce and chopped onion, the chillies lending only a visual presence. The sauce was too sweet in the ‘sweet and sour’ category which was not remotely what we wanted. It also unfortunately reminded me of the cook in sauce you can buy in those jars in Sainsbury's. Not the standard you want for a dish that costs £13.90. The crispy duck was also slightly overcooked and somewhat dried out.
However the prawn crackers, plain fried noodles and beef with spring onion were absolutely lovely.
It was a Saturday night and the restaurant was full so obviously people are still enjoying the food but it's certainly not a cheap night out. Their prices have risen substantially over the years and with the quality of food we had, it seemed too much to spend on something that was somewhat mediocre.
I've been going there too long not to give them another chance to prove that this was just an aberration from an otherwise really good quality restaurant since it would be a real shame if they were letting their standards slip to this extent.