“ Address: 17 - 19 Maxwell Road / Northwood / Middlesex / HA6 2XY / Tel: 01923 826 744 „
Recently I was invited to join my partner's family for a meal at Tai Pan, a contemporary oriental restaurant in Northwood, North West London. It is a located centrally within the main shopping area of Northwood, not far from the tube station. Although it was 7.30 on a Sunday night, the restaurant was starting to get busy and with several other largish parties, and was practically full by 8.30pm. Therefore I would recommend booking.
The restaurant is decorated with square and round tables and comfy leather seats. We had a round table for eight people which had a large 'lazy Susan' in the middle. As there was quite a few of us it took a while to get drinks and food sorted, but eventually we got there. I didn't see the wine list and am not sure which wine we had, but it was very pleasant. The wine was put in a wine bucket and kept over the other side, out of the way. I was initially concerned that we may not be able to reach it if we wanted a top up, but the waiting staff were completely on top of it and came round often to top up glasses. They also offered a limited range of Chinese style cocktails. Although they had Chinese names, they were very similar to Western cocktails and didn't really have any unusual ingredients.
My starter was Spicy vegetarian dumplings, at £4.90. There were four on a plate that looked like roast potatoes - golden in colour, and of a similar size, and in fact tasted a bit like them too! I think they were actually like a Chinese potato croquette, with a little bit of a 'spicy' minced vegetable filling in the middle. I was disappointed actually, as they weren't really spicy at all, and not really what I was expecting. I was thinking they would be more like vegetarian dim sum, rather than solid potatoes. I found them quite filling and elected not to finish mine, in order to leave space for my main course.
There was a duck course which the meat eaters all enjoyed. They did a veggie option but I didn't go for this.
For my main I chose grilled bean curd with ginger and garlic sauce, coated with egg for £6.00. These came as four large pieces of bean curd, and in the first ones I tried I didn't really pick up any ginger or garlic, but the latter piece was more garlicky, but I still didn't notice much ginger. Also, the large pieces of bean curd (tofu) were about 5x8cm so quite difficult to eat delicately with chopsticks, I sort of hacked at them with the chopsticks to try and get small pieces rather than try and hold a piece between the chopsticks and nibble at it without losing my grip and having it plopping back in my bowl and splashing rice and egg sauce everywhere, or worse still landing in my lap. It would have been easier with a knife and fork but I prefer to eat with chopsticks when eating Chinese food. A friend had mixed vegetables with noodles with was very nice when I had a taste. All the meat eaters seemed happy with their dishes, portions were generous and everything arrived more or less together and was clearly pointed out so that everyone knew what everything was. We also had a massive bowl of steamed rice.
I visited the Ladies lavatories whilst I was here and they were clean, well decorated with adequate supplies of soap and toilet paper etc.
Overall, although there was nothing specifically wrong with my food, neither dish was quite what I expected. My spicy dumplings weren't spicy or really dumplings and my bean curd dish wasn't stir-fried like I imagined it. In spite of this I think the menu was interesting enough, that I would easily find something else to eat should the opportunity to return present itself. As I say, everyone else really enjoyed their meals, so I do recommend giving this a try if you are in the area. I didn't know what the bill came to but prices seemed reasonable and typical of other Chinese restaurants in the London suburbs, with most main courses (excluding rice or noodles) coming in between £7-9, with a few special dishes being more expensive.
The restaurant does take aways and has other dedicated take away/home delivery restaurants in the area. Details are on their website.
17 - 19 Maxwell Road - Northwood
London HA6 2XY
+44 (1923) 826-744