Yesterday evening a friend and me, we went to this dimly lit Pan Asian restaurant for dinner. We were returning from an evening event and were rather hungry. We were very near Oxford Street and there are restaurants all around. We passed several and just went into this one. The place was semi full, not bad for a Tuesday evening. Very tastefully decorated, a nicely dressed waitress showed us to our table. The nice experience ended there. First of all the lighting was so dim we could hardly read our menus. After much squinting we did finally order, the food came quickly enough. The portion sizes were let's just say not generous enough and the food tasted oh so bland. I asked for the chilli oil which made the food edible. I somehow finished my food, my friend left her's half eaten. The bill was generous. Considering the quality of food served the place is way overpriced. Vowing never to return to this place, we paid up and left.
The dinner experience was pretty disappointing. What I do not get is, why do places stress so much on style and decor and clothes of their waitresses, yet the main thing, the food is not upto the mark. I would say open a lounge, not a restaurant.
London may be one of the most exciting cities in the world food diversity wise. But land up in a place without research and chances of you being disappointed and paying exhorbitant prices are pretty high. At least that is what my experience has been so far in the city in the last 4 years.
This experience made me think longingly about my local Chinese eatery in Sutton. This place is about 7/8 mins walk from our house and our go-to place for all occasions. Be it a quick weekday dinner or a lazy Sunday lunch, something to pick up on our way back from the airport or hot soup to beat the cold. We have eaten there innumerous times and never been disappointed. I pretty much stick to my usual order, but my husband has ordered across the menu and he loves most of their beef and pork dishes. According to him they make the best egg fried rice in London.
Now this is no fancy place, it is a typical Chinese eatery. Neat and clean with busy yet friendly waitresses shooing you around. And no unlike some Chinese places I know, they are not rude, far from it. The place is generally always full and we see a lot of South East Asian folks having dinner there. So I am guessing it is pretty authentic.
Mama Dumpling does a whole range of dimsums and the best thing is they serve dimsums throughout the day and in the evening too. I generally order three kinds of dimsums when I dine there and of those three these prawn and pork suimais are my favourite.
Another staple and favourite of mine is this crispy noodles with vegetables and prawn. I first discovered crispy noodles in a Vietnamese restaurant near my student dig in Toronto. Ever since I have been a huge fan of this noodles. I generally tend to order this if it's on the menu. I have eaten this noodles so many times now, I pretty much know what to expect. So if a place gets this wrong I never go back to that place. These guys get the crispy noodles just right and I am so thankful for that.
Mama Dumpling is pretty decently priced and the food is totally worth it. Give me these kinds of local places serving good food over stylish, overpriced places serving bland food any day. Long live Mama Dumpling!