Sunday, 1 February 2009
Jen Cafe, 4 Newport Place, London WC2H 7JP
I had previously reviewed Jen Cafe here, and while I’m not going to write a review every time I come here (weekly if possible), I wanted to show more pictures of this restaurant and its food.
After taking a few friends here (at different times), we’ve concluded that this is NOT a restaurant to take your friends to.
Is this because of the stools instead of chairs that you have to sit on? No.
Is this because you have to share tables with whoever it is with some space left on their table? No.
Why, then, why you ask.
It’s because consistency is lacking in this little cafe. Sometimes the food is so tasty, and we have no problems finishing 3 main dishes between us. Sometimes, it seems you’re being served what the next table couldn’t finish (sauce on the noodle just not the usual colour, the meat on the ‘siew yoke’ or roast pork is cold, bland and not what you’d serve).
However, with prices being one of the most reasonable ones in Chinatown, we HAVE to come here almost everytime we’re in Chinatown.
And every time we’re here, we order the same things.
Cha chiang mian (spicy pork mince sauce on hand-made noodles £5)
When done the usual Jen Cafe way (i.e. this is how it looks more often that not here), this is my favourite noodles dish from this cafe. The noodles are made from the same noodle ‘pastry’ as the dumpling skin, and is chewy and thick, making it lovely to bite on. The sauce is beany in flavour, you can really taste the saltiness of the beans, and when mixed together, you understand why people describe this as Chinese spaghetti bolognese. Some people say it should be the other way around, as Marco Polo got the inspiration for the spaghetti from the Chinese, so perhaps the Italian dish should be called the Italian cha chiang mian.
Barbecued pork and roast duck combination rice £5
I like the rice served here, because it’s not cooked with any chicken stock, thus it retains its texture. Most places, when serving these roast meat rice, cook the rice in a chicken stock or seasoning, making the rice slightly sticky but flavoursome. While I like that kind of rice, I also like it when they serve plain white rice, with some sweet barbecued pork sauce over it, the way Jen Cafe does it.
If you want the best roast duck in London, this is not the place to find it (try Four Seasons in Bayswater). However, it’s acceptable by my standards, and probably better than alot of other restaurants here.
Finally, the fried dumplings filled with pork mince and chive that is the main attraction of this cafe. Would I come here again? Most certainly, and have done so many times.
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