Restaurant Review: Capri Cafe & Bar, Lytham

Capri – Lunching In Leafy Lytham

Capri Lytham, not a 1970s Ford-themed eatery, but a quaint cafe-come-bar furnished by ladies-who-lunch, just distant enough from Blackpool to feel safe. Being warmly greeted by the ethereal manager Leigh set a positive first impression: one reinforced throughout the afternoon by the support act of smart, sprightly servers.

The combination of the howling wind and amicable bar staff encouraged me to loiter around Capri’s well-stocked shelves with intent. Boodles Mulberry Gin with Elderflower Tonic was recommended – transpiring to be the ideal autumnal afternoon elixir. Additionally, Capri’s well-thought-out cocktail menu, produced an intriguing ‘Gin Zombie’ and elegant ‘Pomegranate And Elderflower Spritz’.

Regarding mains; the impressively meaty, yet wonderfully tender, tuna steak was served admirably rare as promised. The quality of this hunk of boldly-seasoned saltwater fish was obvious, the accompanying aioli was a delight, while the simple, fresh side salad did a job. Capri’s mushroom pizza successfully negotiated the culinary tight-rope of truffle; not enough is pointless – too much induces projectile vomiting – just enough provided a world of flavour. The pizza base carried through authentic smokey elements and retained its thin and crispy integrity; however, the crust lacked ambition. Although the mushrooms were oily; overall, the pizza packed a satisfying umami punch. Additionally, two sets of sweet potato fries were gloriously salty, impressively crispy, yet concealed soft and flavourful interiors.

What followed was a billowing freshly baked scone of such rustic British beauty, I requested the national anthem over Capri’s Spotify account. All that was left was to slurp a robust, yet velvety flat white, before settling a not cheap nor unreasonable bill.

Capri Cafe & Bar Lytham Restaurant Review

Rare Tuna Steak w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Capri Cafe & Bar Lytham Restaurant Review

Rarer Than Hen’s Teeth

Capri Cafe & Bar Lytham Restaurant Review

Mushroom & Truffle Pizza

Capri Cafe & Bar Lytham Restaurant Review

Autumnal Gin Serves

Capri Cafe & Bar Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10    Cost 7/10    Quality 9/10    Service 10/10

Find Capri Cafe & Bar, Lytham

Restaurant Review: Northcote Manor, Blackburn

Northcote – Lancashire’s Lone Star Lunch

What better way to congratulate Jesus on rising from the dead, then sniffing out posh Sunday lunch? Northcote Manor, surrounding by sodden pastures and grey skies, is home to Lancashire’s only Michelin star and the formidable Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen.

A sense of Michelin hospitality was undermined by walking both in and out of Northcote Manor without acknowledgement, and neither my coat nor dripping umbrella was offered to be removed. Service was organised, and the smartly presented young Northcote team were cordial, but the bus conductor inspired maître d with his rapid fire: “Have you decided – what would you like – what can I get you?” was less than comforting.

Lunch not exceeding an (outstanding) Amuse Bouche was a ‘first world problem’ par excellance: the first bite had the bittersweet honour of being Northcote Manor’s highlight. Melting magenta shells fleetingly fizzled, birthing a tart, sizzling beetroot flavour, that slapped my taste buds ’round the chops in no uncertain terms.

There was no choice but to accept the Dinner Jacket Potato Soup, which was more butter than jacket. The trendy foraged herbs added freshness, although someone’s hair added the opposite.

The Beetroot was the prettiest plate I’d ever seen: vibrant hues and floral shapes, elegantly intertwined in an act of vegetarian poetry. The sweet and acidic elements energetically danced but lacked a focal point. The alien looking Duck was heavily entombed but worked affably alongside the uplifting sorrel.

The Salmon proudly commanded the plate, yet unselfishly yielded to the fork’s graze. The boldly seasoned fish and convivially sweet roe double teamed the earthy mushrooms, creating a bravely balanced dish, which spoke of land and sea in matrimony. While the Japanese touch of soy, shitake and ikura (roe) worked charmingly. The thoughtfully composed Lamb was quality dead baby sheep but lacked a je ne sais quoi. It was so rare it walked passed the oven while being properly seared and heartily seasoned. The mash was superlatively silky and the scorched and pickled onions added textures and talking points.

I seldom want sandwiches for dessert – bread with the Cheeseboard wasn’t required. However, the trio of cheeses was delicious, especially a terrified looking puddle of something Brie related. Northcote Manor’s cleverly crafted Cream Egg was an enchanting nod to the season, providing deftly constructed contrasting textures, and my personal favourite flavour combination of hazelnut and white chocolate.

Northcote Manor Review Summary

Atmosphere 8/10    Cost 7/10    Quality 8/10    Service 8/10

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Beetroot Amuse Bouche

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Jacket Potato & Foraged Herb Soup

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Three Beets, Yellow, Red & Candied, Pickles Shallot Hearts, Horseradish, Herbs and Flowers

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Crunchy Goosnargh Duck, Sorrel Cream, Oxalis

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Roasted Salmon, Shitake Mushroom, Wilted Watercress, Soy

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Bowland Lamb, Crème Fraiche Potato, English Onion, Pickled, Scorched

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn Lancashire

Three British Cheeses, House Crackers, Breads, Fireside Chutney and Fig Chutney

Northcote Manor Restaurant Review Blackburn

Hazelnut Chocolate Cream Egg

Find Northcote Manor

Restaurant Review: The Italian Orchard, Broughton (Preston)

Italian Orchard Broughton – Consistently Consistent

I’m lucky to have visited The Italian Orchard Broughton at least thirty times; it’s seemingly been around since The Colosseum. The Italian Orchard Broughton’s conservatory is the best dining room in the Preston area: bathed in natural light and framed by cared for colourful flowers, it felt like Asti, not the A6.  Not explicitly reserving a table there constitutes a culinary schoolboy error.

The Italian Orchard Broughton’s menu was overwhelming – the Specials Menu alone was heftier than your average àl la carte. The industrious kitchen must be huge to accommodate the expansive ingredients and cooking processes. Likewise, The Italian Orchard Broughton’s Wine List was almost exclusively Italian and equally vast. It bordered on the expensive side of reasonable, but its mid-price point swelled with a plethora of quaffable options. A notable Sauvignon was selected which offered attractive notes of sage and green pepper, as opposed to the usual passionfruit or gooseberry.

The Bread & Olives were fine and dandy but unremarkable. The Garlic Bread was punchy, salty and comforting as ever. The Oriental Tempura King Prawns were satisfyingly crispy, without suggesting they could ever be greasy. The Calamari was lightly cooked to avoid becoming elastic but consequently lacked colour. The Mare e Monti was an elegant combination of crayfish and prawns in a sophisticated creamy sauce. I rarely plaice place mushrooms with seafood but see no reason not to now.

The Seafood Risotto was generously portioned, providing both quantity and quality. Punctuated with a delicious variety of fresh fishy bits and pieces, including handsome wobbly scallops. The rice was formed with precision, with carefully seasoned stock and attractively served in a crab shell. This was the highlight of the evening and the Italian Orchard’s best value dish. The classic Spaghetti Bolognese had married together well, not disgracing its proud Italian roots, although I could have done without its cress haircut. The Sea Bass was a handsome white hunk, nicely seared, served next to some lovingly prepared baby potatoes.

There was only room for a little gelato; those in the know opt for the Salted Caramel and Black Cherry. Finally, the espresso was as robust as can be found anywhere.

Aside from the initially forgotten Garlic Bread, the Italian Orchard kitchen produced everything strikingly quickly and all on reassuringly hot plates. There was a never-ending flurry of young Italians zipping about in bright white shirts taking care of customers – none of whom laughed at anyone’s pathetic attempts at parlando Italiano. Likewise, I received a proper welcome and goodbye, and someone was always an (olive) stone’s throw away. The Italian Orchard Broughton is a restaurant equally worth visiting for a simple pizza and glass of Motepaolicano to a more formal occasion.

The Italian Orchard Review Summary

Atmosphere 10/10    Cost 6/10    Quality 8/10    Service 9/10

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Bread & Olives

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Oriental Tempura King Prawns

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Garlic Bread

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Calamari

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Risotto di Frutti di Mare

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Spaghetti Bolognese

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Mari e Monti

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Fillets of Sea Bass

Italian Orchard Restaurant Review Preston

Salted Caramel & Black Cherry Ice Cream

Find The Italian Orchard

Restaurant Review: Yu and You, Blackburn

Yu and You Restaurant – My Chinese is Tso Tso

Blackburn’s curiously named Yu and You restaurant was intriguingly Gordon Ramsay’s best UK Chinese Restaurant in 2010. Perhaps I fell prey to overly high expectations, but this accolade now seems outlandish.

Despite a rural Blackburn location, a bouncer worryingly patrolled Yu and You’s door. Guests are invited to have a drink prepared by a ‘cocktail mixologist’, begging the question – what other kinds of mixologists exist? The Yu and You Cocktail Menu was apparently a product of six years of creativity; concerning, as the vast majority were long-established classics. The only ‘Oriental’ element of ‘Yu and You Oriental Old Fashioned’ was the barman.

Moving passed the stylish, polished black bar, the restaurant atmosphere became non-existent with a sterile, silent dining room. Harsh, stark lighting shined directly on our faces rather than the table. Chairs awkwardly cramped back against each other, while swathes of space to the side remained unused.

Yu & You started promisingly with the Hot & Sour Soup – the benchmark of any Chinese restaurant. It was certainly hot, but also comforting and complex. The sound of the sizzling dipped prawn cracker greatly lifted my spirits. The Char Siu pork element was eye-wateringly sweet, but certainly enjoyable.

Charlie Yu’s Chicken Curry followed, being indistinguishable from chip shop curry sauce. Considering this was the house speciality, it was genuinely shocking. My partner’s ‘Tai Po Crispy Chicken’ was the kind of fatty, salty dish my partner was trying to avoid.

Dessert at Yu and You produced the novel Strawberry Samosas. Presumably not particularly Chinese, but intriguing against an otherwise barren list. This delightful dish had a pleasing contrast of temperatures, with light, golden, crispy pastry – it provided a fun, novel talking point, while delivering on flavour.

Service by Yu & You’s manager Victoria was warm and welcoming. After my partner spilt a drink, she graciously cleaned it up, generously providing a replacement. The rest of the young team were polite but often distracted and unintuitive: although Victoria graciously commanded the dining room, it was otherwise difficult to attract attention.

Yu and You beat Mayfair’s Kai Restaurant, winning Gordon Ramsay’s approval, with ‘Wok seared 8oz Wagyu beef with sweet soya, lime, garlic and ginger’ at £65. Similarly, I can only assume Yu and You’s rave TripAdvisor reviews followed their premium duck, seafood and beef dishes – around £27 each (inc the required sides). They could well be stunning but seems expensive given the location and environment.

Yu and You Review Summary

Atmosphere 3/10    Cost 3/10    Quality 5/10   Service 6/10

Yu and You Restaurant Blackburn Review

Excellent hot & sour soup

Find Yu and You

Bar Review: Stratos, Preston

Stratos Bar – Preston’s Best Cocktails

Stratos is justifiably not a budget bar; nowhere in Preston is as attractively designed and fitted. Drinkers who behave themselves early doors, receive complimentary aperitivos – thanks to Stratos, visitors from Burnley can now recognise tapenade. Plus, nowhere else in Preston is open until 3 am with no entry free, with flesh and blood DJs, not iPods.

Stratos, Kuckoo and Forum are the only progressive bars in Preston shaking quality cocktails. The vast majority are £6.50, contain double premium spirits and often unusual ingredients – this price point is rare in Manchester and extinct in London. If you think Stratos is poor value, get out more. Something masquerades as similar in Yates or Revolution, but is predictably sweet, on a sticky table, in a cheap glass without a garnish, but with a 2005 playlist. Spend another £2 and drink something to enjoy, not something to later vomit.

Stratos’ bar staff unpretentiously graft, pushing Preston kicking and screaming to the next level of boozing. If you drink Cosmopolitans through a straw, think Daiquiris only exist with strawberries, and regard Mojitos as exceptionally exotic, converse with the passionate and knowledgeable Stratos’ bar staff. Likewise, if you’ve had more than your fair share of drams, Stratos staff are always happy to learn more.

The real value of Stratos is their willingness to develop customers tastes for those unaware of the great products available, and the ability to cater for the seasoned drinker. A Preston bar where customers can forfeit a menu entirely, forming a relationship with the staff is progress. Regardless of how manically busy Stratos gets, they will craft drinks to your individual tastes. This level of enthusiasm to learning and promoting cocktails is unmatched, making Stratos the best cocktail bar in Preston. (The food’s not bad either).

Stratos Bar Review Summary

Atmosphere 10/10    Cost 8/10    Quality 9/10    Service 10/10

Stratos Preston Bar Restaurant Review

Stratos – Still Preston’s Best

IMG_2357

Stratos – Still Preston’s Best

Stratos - Still Preston's Best

Stratos – Still Preston’s Best

Stratos - Still Preston's Best

Stratos – Still Preston’s Best

Find Stratos Bar

Restaurant Review: Olive Tree Brasserie, Preston

Olive Tree Brasserie – Failed To Ameze

Located in the Miller Arcade, Preston city centre’s first Greek restaurant thankfully didn’t fall prey to cliché emulsion white ruins and checked tablecloths. The Olive Tree Brasserie’s interior was in fact rather industrial, with exposed metal strip lighting, sharp corners and an attractive polished finish. The contrast between the contemporary interior and Victorian exterior created a sophisticated atmosphere which the area cries out for.

Upon arrival at Olive Tree Brasserie Preston, my party was warmly greeted, and shown to the table through a surprisingly busy dining room. Once seated I was majestically bathed in the green neon of the adjacent Subway; you may want to be savvy and select your preferred table in advance. Never one to resist a bargain, I ordered from the Olive Tree Brasserie’s Early Diner Menu, offering three courses for just £13.50. Although very restricting, it was only to be expected from such a sharp price, and available until a reasonable 7:00 pm (6:45 pm on Friday and Saturday).

Some olives and related nibbles were promptly ordered and arrived very quickly, with the young floor staff continuing to work efficiently throughout the evening. Despite just opening, service at The Olive Tree Brasserie Preston was well organised and polite.

For starters, everyone chose the Dolmades which arrived on miniature pallets for no discernible reason. These three rolled vine leaves, stuffed with rice and minced beef, were the perfect sized starter. They were fresh, delicious but very salty. The extra lemon-dill-cream sauce was pleasingly light and perfectly balanced. Incidentally, their own brand mint-balsamic dressing had an incredible depth of flavour and was liberally applied to everything. A Sauvignon Blanc washed this down with a decent smack of Gooseberry but shrivelled my tongue with brutal tartness.

For mains, the Lavraki sounded intriguing. It was Sea Bass “Spetse Style” – a style not even Google knew about. It arrived looking like it lost a punch up en route to the table. The fish itself was perfectly cooked, with a very salty but at least flavoursome crust. The accompanying Kolokithakia (courgette fritters) were the best thing on the plate. They made for an exciting Mediterranean alternative to chips, which in my head seemed healthier. The sexy Mediterranean cousin of the British mushy peas were the stewed capers, but the last thing salty fish and saltier vegetables needed was the world’s saltiest foodstuff showing off. They were unpalatably bitter and left on the plate. The wine was swapped to Pinot Grigio; overlooking the warm glass, the humble house white had a mineral crispness and was perfectly drinkable.

Friends had the Fishcake & Seasoned Chips and wished they hadn’t. Arriving on a spare cheese board, it was impossible to cut without scattering the contents around the table. The overall flavour of the fishcake was potato rather than fish and equally lacked seasoning. Moving on, the Kota Skordata was a chicken skewer on rice, with dip and a side salad. The meat was nicely marinated, well grilled and succulent. No complaints, but it couldn’t justify its full £13.95 price tag.

Desserts from The Olive Tree Brasserie Preston’s bargain basement menu were an afterthought: generously portioned, but the Berry Compote was so sour only a few mouthfuls could be kept down. Conversely, its partner in crime – the Honey Compote – was so sickly sweet, I saved it for my diabetic brothers’ next hypo.

The ambience and staff were equally pleasant, but the Olive Tree Brasserie Preston’s food demonstrated obvious flaws. However, due to the exceptional early bird prices and positive atmosphere, I can’t hold a grudge.

Olive Tree Brasserie Review Summary

Atmosphere 7/10    Cost 9/10    Quality 3/10    Service 8/10

Olive Tree Brasserie - Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie – Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie - Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie – Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie - Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie – Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie - Menu Lacked Balance

Olive Tree Brasserie – Menu Lacked Balance

Find Olive Tree Brasserie (Preston)

Restaurant Review: Angels, Ribchester (No.II)

Angels Restaurant – On Cloud Nine

I won’t bore anyone by deconstructing the welcoming service, eccentric interior and sophisticated atmosphere Angels Restaurant offered – mainly because I already have, secondly because it’s simply excellent.

Despite recently reviewing Angels Restaurant, their ‘Gourmet Evening’ seduced me into Ribchester with their super-reasonable midweek price point. The Angels Restaurant Gourmet Evening was a delight; the menu contrasted unusual combinations and predominately classic British cooking, with every course well balanced and beautifully presented. Angels Restaurant should be applauded for putting ambition above blandness, standing out against the Ribchester crowd.

Angels Restaurant kicked off with ‘golden beetroot, whipped goat’s cheese, tempura cauliflower’. The starter was a wonder, with the humble beetroot and exotic tempura batter getting along like inter-racial soul mates. This apparently simple starter is a guaranteed cock-up if attempted at home, and was the jazziest thing to ever happen to a cauliflower. The paired Pinot Noir was non-offensive but not the life and soul of the party. The ‘salmon, ginger cream, orange purée’ was memorable, as those elegant flavour combinations were a personal first. The citrus notes of the Chablis worked wonderfully with the dish, and I found myself sitting up straight, feeling rather pleased with myself. The ‘mushroom & apple veloute’, balanced the acidity of apple with the earthy mushrooms admirably. The ‘blade of beef, watercress & grain mustard sauce’ was hearty and delicious, with the mustard commendably picking out the peppery Rioja pairing.

The local cheese was well a piece of cheese really, but the artisan biscuits and chutney were fit for the Queen. Finally, the ‘pineapple caramel, banana brownie and coconut ice cream’ provided a satisfying mixture of textures and temperatures. The desert wine was an absolute sensation – think incredibly refreshing port and cranberry juice. I immediately made a mental note to drink more dessert wine.

Some fat, greedy people criticise Angels Restaurant’s small portion sizes. I’m far from wasting away, yet I unbecomingly took my belt off before the bill. Luckily Angels Restaurant manager Claire recognised the large volume of food, rather than forwarding me onto the Ribchester Sex Offenders Register.

Angels Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10    Cost 10/10    Quality 9/10    Service 9/10

Angels Restaurant Ribchester Review

‘golden beetroot, whipped goats’ cheese, tempura cauliflower’

Angels Restaurant Review Ribchester

‘salmon, ginger cream, orange purée’

Find Angels

Restaurant Review: Turtle Bay, Preston

Turtle Bay Preston – Bob Marley & The Waiters

Turtle Bay is Preston’s latest restaurant-come-bar to have risen from the recession, bringing a much-needed splash of colour to Preston city centre. Turtle Bay could be that rare establishment that is family-friendly yet stylish enough to attract late night drinkers. Time will tell, but the early signs are very positive.

I’m always sceptical of themed restaurants that attempt to offer something exotic, as they often descend into the painfully ordinary (I’m looking at you Wagamama). However, a lot of effort had gone into Turtle Bay Preston’s décor, music and menu which made a lasting impression.

Music at Turtle Bay Preston was absolutely spot on. I was half expecting to hear ‘Legend’ on repeat, but the mixture of ska, reggae, dancehall and dub, with commercial and less well-known tracks set an upbeat but relaxed tone. Although Turtle Bay is a chain restaurant, nowhere else in Preston offers a Caribbean soundtrack, despite a clear demand for it.

The Turtle Bay Preston Menu offered simple food that was big on flavour. The ribs were ridiculous; if you’ve watched House of Cards, you’ll get the picture. Similarly, it’s impossible to eat enough of those fried sweetcorn fritters. The sweet potato fries were as good as any I’ve experienced. The spices across all the dishes were big, bold and brash – just as they should be. In a moment of snobbishness I lamented every dish was strangely the same colour, but when it’s packed with punchy flavours, it’s entirely forgivable.

These ballsy flavours extended to the Turtle Bay Preston Bar, with a cocktail menu dominated by strong rum at reasonable prices. Ordering from the menu provided fun rather than sophistication, with the high energy bar staff serving customers thick and fast. Bar Manager Dave is on hand if you’re a drinks connoisseur, or are just looking to learn more. Ask him about the spiked home-made ginger beer and you’re in for a treat.

Turtle Bay Review Summary

Atmosphere 10/10    Cost 8/10    Quality 8/10    Service 9/10

Turtle Bay Preston Restaurant Review

It’s all brown, spicy, and lip-smackingly tasty

Turtle Bay Preston Restaurant Review

It’s all brown, spicy, and lip-smackingly tasty

Turtle Bay Preston Restaurant Review

It’s all brown, spicy, and lip-smackingly tasty

Find Turtle Bay (Preston)

Restaurant Review: Angels, Ribchester

Angels Restaurant – Still Heavenly

Angels Restaurant Ribchester has held or flirted with, Trip Advisor’s top Preston spot for considerable time – building up significant local support. With an empty stomach, I booked myself in for Angels special Autumn Food Month menu…

After I greedily ate too much posh bread, Angels Restaurant Ribchester started with ‘smoked sweet corn & lime soup confit chicken’ – an unusual ensemble, which worked surprisingly well. I didn’t associate limes with autumn, but it added freshness, balancing the moist, flavoursome meat and provided a zingy talking point if nothing else.

Angels Restaurant Ribchester’s Fish Course produced wonderfully presented ‘seared mackerel, beetroot, horseradish, celeriac’. Gloriously in season with pleasingly blistered skin, the oily fish against the sharp beetroot is a classic combination I’ll never tire of. I finished the plate noting that I must remember to buy more beetroot.

Angels Restaurant Ribchester’s Main Course proudly consisted of ‘Guineafowl, spiced squash & mushroom Bolognese’. Who puts Bolognese with guineafowl? I don’t care if your Italian family’s Bolognese recipe’s passed down mother-to-daughter for generations – it couldn’t compete. A delicately piped thimble of creamy mash and ethereal micro leaves framed the rich guineafowl. It was so succulent I wondered why anyone bothers with turkey?

Angels Restaurant Ribchester’s Dessert produced a ‘Blueberry chocolate blondie, caramelised apple, & caramel cream’. This was how puddings should be – indulgent – not comma-inducing. As if that wasn’t enough, the ‘Northumberland Baltic ale-washed cheese, fruit & peanut loaf’ concluded the consumption, although I wasn’t blown away: I viewed the vaguely geriatric quality of the dried fruit and nut loaves with suspicion.

I haven’t mentioned wine because I’ve gone on long enough; however, the pinot noir was a general crowd-pleaser for this time of year when we eat little else but dead birds. For a tricky dessert pairing the ‘Concha y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon’ with its light honey and peach flavours was just lovely with their creamy dessert.

A lot of thought and effort had gone into the interior of Angels Restaurant Ribchester. Perhaps the glitz won’t be to the taste of conservative persuasions. For my money, Angels Restaurant Ribchester got it just right, with a tastefully muted colour scheme with a touch of kitsch humour. Restaurants need an element of fun – how they achieve that while retaining their professionalism is a big challenge – but one Angels Restaurant Ribchester answered.

Finally, just as much effort was exerted by their hard-working shiny young staff, who will almost certainly make your meal an enjoyable one should you be lucky to visit.

Angels Review Summary

Atmosphere 9/10    Cost 10/10    Quality 9/10    Service 9/10

Angels Restaurant Ribchester Review

Guineafowl, Spiced Squash, Raisins, Mushroom Bolognese

Angels Restaurant Ribchester Review

Mackerel, Beetroot, Horseradish, Celeriac

Angels Restaurant Ribchester Review

Smoked Sweetcorn & Lime Soup, Chicken Confit

Angels Restaurant Ribchester Review

Blueberry Chocolate Brownie & Caramel Cream

Find Angels

Restaurant Review: Tang KTV, Preston

Tang Restaurant- Never Left Wanton More

I want to like Chinese food, I really do. However, I can’t be cheaply seduced by salt, sugar and bright colours forever. Mercifully, Tang Preston fought against stereotypically luminous Chinese cuisine, with authentic dishes that thankfully did without fortune cookies.

Tang Preston’s vivacious manager Rob brought the restaurant to life: his omnipresence ensured diners were kept happy and his polite team organised. Rob happily elaborated on what was a potentially intimidating menu, covering Dim Sum, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines. Perhaps the Chicken Feet or Fish Heads won’t tempt, but take his advice and break free from self-imposed Sweet N Sour Chicken prison. Tang Preston had a broader ingredient list than any local Chinese restaurant – don’t waste the opportunity for exploration

Regarding atmosphere, Tang Preston had a sparse philosophy to interior design. The PowerPoint menu presentation seemed unnecessary. Call me old fashioned, but I can do without rotating images of stomach and intestines – a humble Specials Board would suffice. More importantly, Tang Preston was spotlessly clean and populated by the local Chinese contingent, suggesting an authentic kitchen.

The Hot & Sour Soup was rich and thick, a little gloopy, but I found that strangely comforting. Is dipping prawn crackers into soup poor etiquette? Regardless, I was a Pavlovian dog to the sound of them sensually sizzling. It was packed with vinegary, peppery flavours that did me good. However, the vegetables were flaccid, not crunchy; thus, the dish lacked texture.

The Deep Fried Aubergines with their fluffy centres and crispy skins were so moreish they should be criminalised. The salty, chilli crumby bits were fiercely fought over and the best thing in the restaurant. They made a great alternative to chips, although weren’t any healthier.

The oddly named Char Siu Honey Roast were porky clouds, without an equivalent in British cuisine. They had a spongecake-like texture, punctuated by bits of bacon. The aubergines I could’ve eaten until my heart stopped or the restaurant closed. However, the Char Siu were deceptively filling, and prohibitively sweet to stop me from wanting more than a couple.

As with everything at Tang Preston, the Duck Chow Mein was very generously proportioned. I would have liked to have traded a bit more duck for loads fewer noodles, as there was a daunting amount. The duck itself was well cooked, while the Chow Mein had a good selection of lightly cooked vegetables Peking peeking out. Like a Thai Massage, I found the dish oily, but certainly enjoyable. It provided 3,000% of my RDA of MSG, but hey, it was the weekend. A Chicken Curry dish didn’t fare quite so well, offering more salt than chicken.

If anyone eats: Soup, Dim Sum, the main course and then asks for the dessert menu, lock them up as a menace to society. Tang Preston can’t sell more than two hundred desserts a year – there just aren’t enough morbidly obese people in waddling distance. Tang Preston is a small, industrious restaurant, providing warm welcomes, generous portions, an interesting menu in a casual atmosphere – try it out.

Tang Review Summary

Atmosphere 5/10    Cost 9/10    Quality 7/10    Service 8/10

Tang Preston Restaurant Review

Hot & Sour Soup – tastes better than it looks

Tang Preston Restaurant Review

Char Siu Honey Roast

Tang Preston Restaurant Review

Deep Fried Chilli Aubergines

Tang Preston Restaurant Review

An XXL Chow Mein

Find Tang