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China Red Chinese Restaurant (Coventry)

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58 Hertford Street, Coventry, CV1 1LB. Tel: 024 7622 9333

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      15.09.2009 03:46
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      Very worth a visit and great value for what it is!

      China Red
      58 Hertford St
      Coventry
      West Midlands
      CV1 1LB
      024 76229333
      China-red.co.uk

      When it comes to eating out it's one of my all time favourite pastimes and whenever I get the opportunity to eat and to pick where to eat I'll always opt for a Chinese buffet type of place. I can never make a decision on what to eat from a menu so I like the feeling that I can just nibble whatever I fancy really.

      Last year in Coventry this restaurant arrived and it caused quite a stir. Everyone was saying how the people that owned this restaurant owned one in London and Coventry really is so rubbish on places to eat at so we all got rather excited about it's arrival and this was the first restaurant (and the only one thus far) of this type to be here and it's really, really popular!

      Situated in the town centre (10 minutes walk away from our train station) and very accessible on alot of bus routes it's placed amongst shops and is a stones throw away from other pubs and restaurants as it's slap bang central. Next door there is an Italian restaurant and like I say there are other pubs. This restaurant pretty much looks like a shop front with it's large blinded window and simple door.

      As you walk in your met with a lovely small seating area with nice sofas and tables and traditional ornaments and flowers and a small fountain and this is where your sit if waiting for a table (which is rare) cos the turn over of people is pretty good.

      To the the left of that are there is bar which is extensively stocked with all sorts of drinks and a good selection of wines and bottled beers and alco-pops and it's all really well lit up so you can see what you want! The rest of the restaurant is cream in colour, very well lit but not stark and too bright, tiled floor, bamboo walls, high backed chairs and dark tables covered in white tablecloths, cutlery and glasses. Again ornaments, lanterns and vases of flowers are points of interest and add colour to the room giving it a nice warm feeling.

      Table wise there are quite a few of them and of different sizes and I have eaten here many times and it's great if there's two of you and you know to ask for a private table but if you go in on the off chance say on a Friday or Saturday night they bung you in anywhere and they do have some tables very, very close together which feels rather uncomfortable and one night there were 4 couples all on a row of two tables each and it felt really crowded and I could really hear other peoples conversations! So if you do want a more private table I suggest booking and making it clear you want a table for two that is quiet which I have asked for on a few occasions and got! There are huge tables as well and again booking those really is advisable.

      The whole place is very clean and the staff are absolutely superb and really efficient. They actually know me now and know I like a very private table and that's what I get each and every time I go in. Dressed in formal black outfits they are there purely to wait on you and serve and they do this very well in a none obtrusive manner and what they don't know about the food here isn't worth knowing. Gentle music plays in the background and providing your happy with your seating (like I haven't been a couple of times) the atmosphere is pleasant (though rowdy and packed at weekends) but quieter on a week night.

      The Food:

      The idea here is to order as much or as little off the menu as you please when you please. There is a massive selection of starters, mains, noodles, side dishes and sauces to pick from and you simply order whatever you like. When done they remove the plates and stuff it all came out in and ask what do you want next it's that simple. There is no limit to the amount of food you can request or consume at any time and again when you've been here a few times you can sort of specially request stuff as well. They are really there to please!

      Because the food is cooked to order I do suggest if eating here to order quite a few things at once. At first I always felt greedy asking for about 12 dishes at a time but what you get is very small portions of things and like I say while you digest that your waiting for a next course if you put your order in and typically I find I wait about 10 minutes for the next round of food no matter how many dishes I order (at most 15 minutes).

      So what food are we talking?

      Well there are about 50 starters to choose from and about 150 main meal type things and lots of side orders as well. You can of course simply eat the starters if you want to or start off with main meals and go back to the starters, you simply mix and match to your hearts content as it's all displayed on one big menu. An example of this was my mate once when we went out started of with a Chinese curry and then ate two whole crispy ducks, pancakes the lot and then ate plate after plate of beansprouts lol!

      I'm not going to list all the dishes available of course but I will tell you some of my personal favourites! From the starters I always have Butterfly King Prawns, Wafer Wrapped Prawns, Crispy Aroma Duck, Malaysian Satay Chicken Skewers (topped with Satay Sauce), Salt & Chilli Squid (this is delicious!) Salt & Chilli Mussels (x10 lol), Honey Glazed Chicken Wings, Thai Style Garlic Ribs (served with Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce) and some sort of soup which again there are loads to choose from and my personal favourite is the Beef Westlake Soup! For mains there is a selection of both Chinese, Szechuan and Cantonese dishes and once again I usually know what to order! I love Loin of Pork with Chilli, Garlic & Dried Shallots, Stir Fried King Prawns Szechuan Style, Roast Duck Kung Po, Beef Chow Mein and I have to hold myself back from indulging in many other dishes like curries and fu yungs and stuff like that or I'd bust my belly! What is nice about this place is that everything comes out on plates or in little pots and attention is really paid to the presentation of the food. Like what I eat sounds absolutely loads but in reality you get like three small spare ribs say and you share them so it really is quite a sociable experience! The noodles and side dishes here are delicious too and I always have loads of rices and things!

      I like the fact that here there are lots of lovely things to eat but lots or rices, noodles and side dishes of vegetables and things served as well as extras like sauces (E.G curry sauce bbq and a variety of chilli and plum sauces). Also chips are on the menu for philistines and there are absolutely loads of options for vegetarians that are really lovely either made up from tofu, vegetables or both and the menu really does explain what each dish contains and explains if it's hot or not etc. The only small negative here is that there are no desserts available but to be honest I've never much liked Chinese offerings in that department anyway and find I have no room for dessert left anyway!

      The food here is truly delicious, served hot and promptly and never have I felt rushed or been put ill at ease. The tables are kept clean and like I said earlier you do have to keep ordering to get the food running well to your table and if your a bit shy then this isn't the sort of place for you or you don't get fed lol! The drinks here are reasonably priced too. I'm not sure of individual prices of drinks but I think its a bit more than pub prices but not hugely so. I know my mates were pleased they sold bottles of Budweiser and didn't complain of the prices and me I usually opt for a bottle of white house wine at about £11.00 a bottle.

      Negatives:

      The place feels very busy even when it isn't really. It's a great place to go with friends and family in a large group but not the sort of place you go on a first date! I went on a date here and I'm a pig and felt all I was concentrating on was what I was having and when and you get no privacy but like I say for groups this is fabulous and the standard of service and the way the food is, is so amazing and well presented it is worth going to and the price is amazing too! (I'll come on to that in a minute if I may) lol.

      The other negative is that if your not completely mobile then this place is hard to navigate your way around. It isn't a huge restaurant and they have tried to capitalise on the space they have making the aisles between tables not very much at all and there is no wheelchair access or disabled toilets I'm aware of. The toilets here are an after thought being very small and cramped but clean and nothing to report there really. They're not awful but the as the restaurant is so nice you'd think the loo's would be a bit posher!.

      Verdict:

      I absolutely love the food here and never once have I eaten something and not enjoyed it and it's great way of sampling foods that you've never seen or heard of before. I feel like the chefs here love their work and that the waiters and waitresses enjoy their jobs.

      There is a karaoke bar upstairs and I haven't been up there though the waiters have tried to physically force me and my company up there on a few occasions. Lots of times I've seen lots of Chinese people going up there all dressed up and giggling and I've heard it's a great, fun night out and it has a dance-floor and bar up there too and lots of seating etc. What is nice is that although that is all going on when your eating you can't hear anything and it isn't intrusive to your dining experience at all. This is open Thurs-Sun 8.30-4am and Fri-Sat nights it's open till 6am!

      The restaurant is open 4pm - 7pm and then the second seating is 7pm -10:30pm and priced at Adults - £13.90, Children (under 8) - £7.00.

      Service charge of 10% will be added for parties of 8 and above.

      I do recommend this restaurant if you come to Coventry. It's a nice little restaurant with good service, nice surroundings and fabulous food though it always seems busy! Children are welcome here but there is no where to change babies, no play area and it's strictly seated and come to mention it I've never seen children in here oh and there isn't a smoking area so you have to go to the front of the restaurant if you want one!

      Booking is advisable!

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