An unintentional comedy nosebag
Where to start? We had planned a pleasant evening at the William IV pub in Albury (www.williamivalbury.com). Their website encouraged us to expect something out of the ordinary with its talk of using 'local produce whenever possible' and 'including sometimes the free-range pork that Giles [Giles Madge - 'your host'] raises himself'. The menu at the pub refers to various breeds of pig, for added interest. Well, the beer was good but the menu was, to say the least, uninspiring - as far as we are concerned. No effort is made to incorporate the rare breeds into the menu - the only pork dishes we could see, both on the list of specials, were 'pork chops' and 'cumberland ring'. Shame. We didn't stay after we'd finished our beer.
So we headed off to Dorking, already later than we wanted, where we knew there would be a few places to choose from.
We walked past the Bali (we've been before - http://oldhorsesnosebagclub.blogspot.com/2009/08/january-2009-bali-5-6-new-parade-london.html) and the Gurkha Kitchen (almost empty). We passed an empty Thai restaurant and came to the Sang Thai and the Peking, which are next to each other. We chose the Peking, as Paul and I had had a Thai meal last weekend. A pity, that.
First impressions were good. Nice tables, a friendly greeting, a moderately priced buffet. The prawn crackers brought to us while we looked over the menu were tasty enough. We happily chose 6 starters (salt & pepper ribs, barbecue ribs, smoked shredded chicken, chicken wings, Mongolian lamb and sesame prawn toast) and three main courses (crispy shredded beef, sea spicy shredded pork and chicken with satay) plus egg fried rice and Singapore noodles. We were ready for it.
OK, maybe we're spoiled. You can tell from some of my previous posts that we have been to some very nice restaurants, but...
- the smoked shredded chicken was almost cold
- the chicken wings were overly greasy
- we had to ask for the barbecue ribs twice
- the Mongolian lamb, when it eventually arrived, was very fatty with some tough pieces - and had clearly been hanging around as the sauce was cool and thickened
As for the main courses:
- the crispy shredded beef would have been good had it been warm - or, better, hot - and if the batter had still been crisp
- the chicken with satay was OK but we were not convinced it had ever seen a peanut
- the rice was bland at best
- the sea spicy shredded pork was very tasty and
- the Singapore noodles were among the best we've ever had
- Paul and Lyn's jasmine tea was very good and did not grow bitter. and it was refilled part way through the meal
We also noticed that some of the serving staff were a little on the brusque side.
Still, the comedy service lightened matters. The waitress who almost threw our dishes at us with a mumbled 'Your lamb'. The finger bowl that was taken in passing - and before we had even been served with the missing barbecue ribs! The disintegrating heated towels.
Overall, a patchy performance on all fronts.
Our rating: TWO STARS
PS: The comedy continued on the way home. One of us, who shall remain nameless (Lyn), managed to fiddle with a knob on Paul's seat by the head rest. That would have been OK, except that (i) he was driving and (ii) it made his seat shoot back till his feet struggled to reach the pedals! (Visions of clown cars, doors dropping off etc.)