Har Gau


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Peninsular Restaurant, Greenwich, London

Let’s put it this way. How can a restaurant have such good quality food for its dinner service, but such bland, greasy, stale food for dim sum lunch.

Perhaps this question should be asked of Peninsular Restaurant in Greenwich, London.

If being given the stare by one of the waiters was not enough (he was staring from behind a partitioning which was clearly see-through), the same waiter also:

1. Asked us who put us at our table with possibly no effort put in for politeness
2. Mockingly laughed at us when I said ‘We don’t need a big table’
3. Proceeded to ask another waitress loudly in front of us who put us there
4. Waltzed by us ignoring all our efforts at trying to get a waiter to take our order

When we finally managed to get him (reluctance thrown in for good measure) to our table, and gave him the selection list (something like a list of dishes from which you select which you want), he actually put it back on the table, saying that we were to:

‘Colour in the boxes, and not circle them’.

Should I also sharpen my 2B pencil, check the page numbers and make sure I finish within the allocated hour?


When the food came, my already soured view of this place was not made any sweeter.

With each dish, the view went more and more lemony.


Malaysian fried noodles £5.50

If there was ever a misrepresented dish, this was it. I’m not sure what element about it was Malaysian, but certainly, there wasn’t supposed to be the smell of curry powder wafting from this dish.

It was bland, and the curry powder was spicy so the only after taste from this dish was from the curry powder. There was not much in terms of colour, as though the chef wasn’t bothered what the dish looked like. He has a point I guess. When the food tastes like this, why bother making it look nice.


Deep-fried stuffed aubergine £2.80

The aubergine pieces were stuffed with fish paste, and deep fried. This was tasty, and served hot.

I would like to say nicer things about this dish, but the waiter who was staring at me as I took the pictures put me off. I didn’t notice him staring, and probably wouldn’t have stopped snapping away, but my friend noticed it and mentioned it when he wasn’t staring.

Was he staring to hint that I should stop, was he staring because he was trying to put us off our meal, whatever the reason, the meal wasn’t made any nicer because of it.


Cha leong (deep fried crullers with steamed rice noodle) £3.00

This was below average compared to the other cha leong I’ve had. The noodle was too thick in taste, and the yau char kuay (crullers) felt as though they were stale and had been re-fried.


Char siew sou (BBQ pork in puff pastry) £2.20

Look at the colour of this supposedly light and fluffy pastry. Not having had too many meals where leftover items are re-fried, this meal made me an expert on the subject. The ratio of pastry to pork was 1 to 0.1.


Whelk in curry sauce £2.30

To put it in plain English, the whelk was too soft, bland, and we didn’t finish it. In fact, we had about one piece each.


Steamed beancurd skin stuffed with fish and pork £2.90

The fish paste was soft and mushy, not chewy as it should be. The beancurd skin felt as though it had been drenched in that overly starchy gravy for some time. I had less than half of one, and was not impressed.


Deep fried custard buns £2.20

This was nice, slightly re-fried, but nice. The filling didn’t flow like hot custard, and was rather more like lotus seed paste, but it was nice.


Grilled Chinese glutinous sweet rice cakes £2.80

This was sweet, and very glutinous. Perhaps it should have had something else to it, like a batter or something, but there wasn’t very much about this dish.


Glutinous rice with minced lap cheong (Chinese sausage) £3.80

This was voted the worst dish of the meal. Glutinous rice without much flavour or filling, it was one of the most tasteless dishes from a dim sum selection I’ve had.


Steamed prawn and chive dumplings £2.30

With the prawn and chive mixture, there was alot of what seemed like a floury paste in the translucent skin. It was one of the nicer dishes of the meal, but by no means up to standard compared to other dim sum restaurants.

Would we make a return visit to dine here? Possibly not for dim sum, but the dinner dishes are good. We’ve been for the dim sum quite a few times now, each time with the same conclusion and I am very puzzled as to why we keep going back to give it another try.

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Anonymous said...

Why should anyone put up with some of the nonsense and impolite behaviours of some of the Chinese restaurants waiters/waitresses in these day and age. Competition is fierce and the tsunami of the current financial meltdown will wipe half of them away.Really, most of us just try to give them benefit of doubts and accomodate their rudeness and laugh away the akwardness of the situation. but why should we?? Great now that customers have a chance to vent thier displeasure thro blogs like this and if more of us consistently make a note of the unwelcoming atmosphere, there will be a dawn in the new era of food servicing!!! Agree?? Disagree??

monchichi said...

It's almost a pre-requisite that the service in Chinese restaurants are below standards, but this one actually was mockery which is not tolerable. It's one thing being rude to be cost efficient (i.e. no chatting with customers, very quick clearing up), but it's another thing to be rude when it's quite obvious that he wasn't rushing around waiting on tables.

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