I may be fast approaching my fourth decade but I still like the rush of living on the Edge, mixing it up, taking the less trodden path….well sort of! In actual fact this translates into often going out for dinner without a reservation or even a clear idea where to go. To do so on a Saturday night some might consider the height of foolishness. Thus it was on a night where we were due at a 40th birthday party somewhere in Waterloo we dropped off baby G with grandma and headed out for a bite to eat first. My lovely wife is not always of the same mind as me about this spin the bottle approach to restaurants. She likes to know where she is going if only to ensure footwear and coat are suitable and how we are getting there. Anyway it was 7:30 and we were adrift in the West End without a destination. I then remembered there was a Chinese restaurant on North Audley St I often walked past. We pitched up asked for a table of two without much hope and lo and behold we were ushered into a very light and airy dining room and settled down to a very good meal.
The Princess Garden of Mayfair screams quality and expense at you from its marble entrance, visually striking bar and upscale interior. However on looking through the menu we saw it was pricey but not barking mad. For a sizeable central London restaurant it opted for the sensible approach of providing food for a variety of budgets. We were previously big fans of the Royal China Baker St but the last couple of visits had been marred by indifferent food and service, we were thus in the market for a new Chinese restaurant. To test the Princess Garden out we decided to order a bit off piste and go for dishes we hadn't had before but sounded nice... well apart from the crispy chilli beef, you have to order that. It came out and was really very nice particularly some spiced lamb served in lettuce leaves. The chilli beef was extremely tasty. It all had a very clean taste not too spicy but neither was it bland, well balanced and well cooked food. We had a very nice evening surrounded by a clientele of tourist and some extremely well-heeled Mayfair locals. The bill wasn't cheap but at £80 a head but for a big meal with wine and drinks to start I thought it was fair especially for Mayfair. It was certainly more fun than the cramped noisy bar/nightclub we subsequently ended up in for the 40th.
It was so good we popped back on Saturday lunchtime for Dim Sum which our waiter had assured us was very family friendly. We took baby G who though off his food due to a sniffle was very happy to sit in the bright dining room colouring in his fireman Sam comic. We had a very nice selection of Dim Sum. The Cheung Fun in particular was lovely. Unlike the Royal China service was really on the ball and very friendly. I was also pleased we were shown to a nice spacious table which you don't always get when you turn up with a toddler in tow. We went in early but it was already half full, by the time we left it was packed with people waiting for a table. A good selection of Dim Sum, glass of wine and noddles came to £50 which was very fair. We weren't rushed at all, we felt valued. I felt sorry for the harassed shoppers I saw later who had crammed themselves into the chain places near there where for the same price they could have dined well and in comfort as we did in the Princess Garden of Mayfair.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Another of our favourite Chinese restaurants, very smart but perfectly fine to take baby G to. It has one of the nices dining rooms in the West End.