Having used the Chef Peking for 40 years in its various re-incarnations at Maidenhead, Cookham and Henley, I stopped using it after the poor, stale food served to us at a disastrous £3000-plus private party for 50 business friends in 2001.
2014 saw me willing to re-try. I took a party of four to the Cookham outlet, and, perhaps foolishly, ordered the £25 per head fixed menu, which I assumed would be pretty jolly good at that price. Suffice to say that it will be another few years before I re-open my Asian food experiment programme with this profitable group..
I may have too high an expectation, as I spend quite a bit of time in the Far East, where one dines so well (for so little). A maxim used by Asian diners is 'Never try an empty restaurant' - had I acted on that , I would not have entered - we were the only customers for the session.
This is a good spot for MSG enthusiasts and for anyone who revels in dried pre-shredded crispy(??) duck in dry pancakes. (Used to be skilfully prepared from a fresh side of duck, at the table.) I would complain about the tiny portions, had the food been enjoyable, but as it was, I was grateful that they had put us on ration.
Why not complain at the time? Because I am English and I was entertaining old friends. We don't do that. Had I been alone, I would have sent some dishes back for replacement with newly-cooked, or required a significant alteration to the heavy bill.
Service was fine- but why not? That's all the front-of-house people have to get right.
I only once had a more disappointing Chinese meal - knocked up by an Armenian in Crete. That was predictable!
Notwithstanding, I am impressed to see that so many of the reviews are so positive, and I suppose that many reviewers wrote from long experience of critical culinary appreciation. Shame my own trial-run bore such unripe fruit.
As good (or poor) as the Llandrindod Wells take-away.....
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