When I grew up in Australia in the 70s, Chinese restaurants were ‘the’ exotic family treat that usually had mum and dad bickering. Dad, being a tradtitional Pole, hated all things foreign that took him out of the comfort zone of meat and 2 veg. Mum on the other hand, decked out in a bouffant “do” and platforms, found it all very glamorous, surrounded by red laquered panels, black and gold wallpaper, silk lanterns, and names like ‘Golden pagoda’ and ‘Mystic Dragon’. Born and bred in the heart of Melbourne suburbia, I had to agree with mum, and delighted in the bilingual Chinese/English menus, threatening my little brother with spicy chickens feet, while dad ordered a T-Bone from the ‘Australian’ menu. In those days there was nothing better than masses of egg special fried rice, beef in black bean sauce and banana fritters.
Like Miltons description of Hell, but for Shrimps. Boiling, steaming fragrant heaven by my standards
Which, quite frankly, look a little rude, but so incredible you would not believe. and there’s no question that Viet garden is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in London. Glamourous and palatial it is not, but what counts – the food – is utterly divine.
A Saturday afternoon at the Cow on Westbourne Park Rd is such a treat! Owned by Tom Conran, it looks and feels like a wee Irish pub by the sea. Sip Guinness, slurp on native Oysters and shuck prawns. All delicious, fresh and bountiful. Makes for an impromptu feast with friends. And the Fish soup is to die for!