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Peter's Palace Chinese Restaurant (London)

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39-41 Bridge Street, London, KT12 1AH, Tel: 01932 246777

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      28.08.2009 18:51
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      How not to do chinese.

      I first discovered Peter's Palace in Woking, we used to visit often after the cinema. The food there was always good. Buffet style Chinese restaurants can be a bit hit and miss, the Woking one, we loved - definitely a hit. When they opened one in Walton on Thames, we thought great a bit closer to home. Shame this one was a miss.

      To be fair we've visited a few times, it's been open quite a few years now and it used to be ok, not as it's good as it's sister shop but ok. It seems however, to have gone progressively downhill and our most recent visit I think will be our last. It's a shame as they also have a take away in Walton too, which is excellent. It baffles me then, how it can produce such good food round the corner, but still come up with rubbish in the eat-in section of the business.

      The restaurant is located in Bridge Street, just off Walton on Thames high street. Not the prettiest location but down just down the road from the river, for some nicer surroundings to walk your pile of stodge off.

      As it's buffet style, it a set price per head, and you eat as much as you like. Mid week evenings cost £11 per adult, lunch times is around £5 but there's not as much choice. Weekends is £1 more for lunch and dinner per head. Drinks are fairly reasonable, a pint glass of fruit juice set me back a around £2.50. They serve all beers by the bottle as there are no taps. Astonishingly they charge £1 for a jug of tap water. Is that still allowed??

      The place is tacky cheap Chinese restaurant chic. You know what I mean, right? The restaurant is big, too big really and I've never seen it more that a quarter full. Our visit the other day, we were one of four tables that were occupied.

      Plates are stacked high and you wander up and down the buffet cart and choose what you like. Dishes change from day to day but here's a typical selection of the good and the bad and the just plain strange.

      The good...
      Prawn Toasts / Spring Rolls / Trigons - My favourite part of the Chinese is the nibbly bits. Peter's do this bit well.

      Duck and pancakes - I don't eat duck, and just opt for the onion and cucumber and hoisin in a pancake just because I love hoisin sauce soo much!! The duck is always a hit here though. Get there early so you don't miss it.

      Sweet and Sour Pork - Always a winner, yummy.

      Big Prawns- There often a prawn dish, and I don't mean little shrimps I mean big prawns. There are always plenty of people taking more than their fair share though, as I found out last time. Make a beeline for these first!

      Beef in Black Bean Sauce - A bit hit and miss depending on the quality of the meat. They make the sauce well and the veggies are always nice and crunchy, it's a shame the meat is often a bit chewy.

      Crispy Shredded Beef - They do this nicely but it's very dry, need to have some veg or sauce on your plate with this to moisten it up.

      The bad...
      Lemon Chicken - One of my favourite Chinese dishes, I love it whether battered or unbattered chicken. Here though, the batter is very soggy and the sauce (which you add yourself) is far too thin, making a watery lemony soggy mess.

      Sweet and Sour Chicken - Usually a favourite again, but here they use the same chicken as for the lemon chicken and again, the soggy batter ends up very stodgy in the sticky sauce.

      Crispy Seaweed - Far too much salt

      Ribs- Such a shame I love ribs, but again it's all down to the quality of the meat. The ones here are just too gristly.

      The strange...
      Chips- If I wanted chips would I be going to a Chinese restaurant?

      Sausages - See above.

      They offer a range of cakes and brownies, jelly and ice cream for dessert! All Sainsbury's basic as we've seen the staff in there stocking up!!

      Overall, it's a real shame Peter's Palace is not up to scratch. I think it could be good if they maybe spent a little more on better ingredients. I know it would put the price up a little for the customers but I'd be happy to pay more if it meant a better meal. I left there the other day feeling worse that when I'd gone in, having not enjoyed what I'd eaten and being entirely conscious of every mouthful of sugar I was eating. That just means I won't go back, so they've lost a customer. Maybe if everyone feels the way I do cutting corners is a false economy.

      On the other hand, I think there are a lot of customers who like the 'eat as much rubbish as I can in one go' type set up. I don't consider my self thin by any means, but I felt it looking around me in there. Maybe it's the customers with a 'larger appetite' shall we say, that keep the place going.

      One couple must have waddled up four or five times, coming back with bulging plates. Now I know it's 'all you can eat' but have some respect for the people who have paid the same amount of you, but end up with not much to choose from. Must admit I had a giggle about it as it reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Homer goes to an 'all you can eat'!

      Well I hope there is enough greedy guts around to keep this place going, because I will be dining elsewhere. We've found another fixed price Chinese Restaurant, while charging more stick to serving good quality authentic dishes rather than sausage and chips, but that's for another review.

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