Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Where NOT to eat in the midlands!

Peninsular Cantonese Restaurant
1, Coleshill St, Fazeley, Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 3RB

(I normally try to say positive stuff but on this occasion I just thought to show how strange food was in small towns would be interesting)

Much as I said about garden design last time Britain’s culinary revolution is patchy, if you got to borough market , eat sushi, have a good local Vietnamese and Turkish restaurants you can be lulled into thinking these sort of things are common everywhere but you’d be wrong.

On our 3 men in boat odyssey to Burton on Trent last week we stopped on Sunday evening at Fazeley Junction near Tamworth. We moor up and struck out for some food, hoping to get blokey “things with chips” you know “a high scampi count”, a roast or who knows maybe even some gammon!

Al Pacino ate here?
But as usual in the first pub we went into they look at us funny “you want to eat on Sunday evening?”
So we strolled further into town. Of course the chippy was shut, so we where left to a selection of ethnic restaurants. Sadly the most promising was a Bangladeshi canteen place but they only did take away, the other “India” restaurant had swapped flock wall paper and chintz for “nowtro” modern which just made it look like a motorway service station. The other 2 places where “interesting”, one was a brightly lit place called “squiggle KUDOS”. On closer inspection the squiggle was “signature”. This was a very strange place looking like a cross between an 80’s wine bar and Middlesborough barbers.
Inside along the walls were mirrors and large Athena prints (mainly famous Italian Americans, the god father, Sinatra , Rocky etc), a mirrored bar had bored looking patrons sat along it on zebra skin covered poufs!
It turned out it was a French/Italian/Indian fusion restaurant, RUN FOR your LIVES! I imagine it’s for couples who can’t decide where to eat so can have a margarita pizza and a tandoori at the same place, please god don’t let them serve coq au tikka, vongole y dhal or Bombay duck Lasagne!

Deep fried Salt
The last option which at the time looked the least terrible was a large Chinese place, complete with the usual fountain, sculptures, pictures of willow trees and temples you know a Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately we didn’t look at the menu well enough.
As a crummy slightly down at heel “town” not far from Tamworth had restaurant that had prices to out stripping Central London. The usual Chinese dishes where averaging around £9 each. To add to this they did the slimy trick of charging almost £2 for rice. So at £11-12 quid for a main course we could eat at the Ivy. Of course if the food was good it wouldn’t matter but the food is rubbish.

The starters
Deep fried something in an iceberg lettuce “bowl”
3 boiled frozen prawns in salty gravy with random side salad
Oh and my spare ribs which came 20 minutes late.
Out of the three the ribs were ok

The main courses
Mr G made the beginners mistake of having any Chinese dish named after a place. This usually means a random collection of meat and veg covered in a salty over sweet jam like sauce. And so it was Duck “Shanghai” came with “MSG laden apricot” jam with acrid hot bits of chilli in it.

BLBW had a “sea food hot pot” which could have been good if we where in a Japanese or Korean restaurant. But came from that form of cooking where the container is more important than the food (see also most Baltis, happy meals and of course cuppa soups!). So instead of delicate sea food in a light broth it was rubbery seafood in salty thick sauce in a mini brass spittoon!

I thought I’d been canny and ordered beef with garlic and ginger, simple not much could go wrong. Sad deluded fool am I, it came on one of those “sizzling skillets” so I got stewing steak in salty over thick snotty gravy boiling at the edge, lukewarm in the middle.

So, on the whole pretty grim, we ate really badly for the thick end of £50 quid.

Also the owner didn’t help as he stood near by complaining to a regular loudly about how excessive environmental health standards stopped him doing business!

So if you break down, get lost etc don’t whatever do not eat at the Peninsular it sells overpriced rubbish.

We did find a good pub the “3 tuns” round the corner selling excellent Bass on draught so the night was entirely spoiled.

You will see as usual we never got eat any local food in Staffordshire/Warwickshire no faggots or oat cakes, any cheese we had we bought ourselves. I’m all for food from anywhere but local stuff as well please.

37 reviews of Cuppa soup anybody?

Am I being harse what's the worst place you've eaten out at recently?


s said...

What do you expect in the West Midlands?

In the East Midlands Chinese restaurants are thankfully still unheard of and sturdy plates of cheese and chips would have been readily available.

BLTP said...

I have a feeling they sold them at signature kudos but with rlletes, garlic bread and pakoras!

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