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 Restaurant
Review Summary

Atmosphere 5    Cost 9    Quality 7    Service 8

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

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Restaurant Review: Langs of Longton, Near Preston

Langs of Longton – Never Disappoints 

I was comfortably seated in Langs of Longton bar-come-quarantine area, overlooked by an imposing television, bizarrely playing a muted David Jason rerun (sadly not Danger Mouse). I assumed the silent flashing images kept the more docile Longton diners amused during busy periods.

The Langs of Longton décor and ambience needed work: the generous littering of bold red flowers, sharp monochrome furniture and harsh black finishes appealed only to Cruella De Vil. Fangs would be more appropriate sign above the door. I could live with the interior design if it were consistent, but part vaudeville, part Ikea, mixed vertical stripes, patterned carpets, canvases a la Changing Rooms circa 1999 and contemporary lighting was restaurant schizophrenia.

A stocky bold gentleman, ‘Ross Kemp on Langs‘, orchestrated the service efficiently. He was charmingly on first name terms with most of The Langs of Longton diners – a reassuring sign of happy clientele. I was lead to the thoughtfully laid out large dining room, with a partially open kitchen providing a vibrancy to the restaurant.

Slurping the Las Valles (Spanish house red), trying to recognise the supposed ‘intense fruit on the palate’, I eyed the window ledges lined with promotional bottles of sealed but empty champagne bottles. The decorations reminded diners that yes – don’t take our word for it – champagne is sold here. I had flashbacks of student filled Plungington, Fallowfield and Wavertree and proudly displayed Jack Daniels bottles and pyramids of Carlsberg empties.

Enough chit-chat and on to the food: it was all excellent and presented beautifully. The black pudding – tragically never the belle of the ball – looked as good as it ever could. The streak of vibrant sweet potato was attractively set against a warm black slate; it was hearty without being stodgy, perfectly seasoned and cooked. The fishcakes had a great balance of flavours and kept their texture admirably. The gammon was generously portioned and attractively presented; perhaps not carrying a huge depth of flavour, but certainly succulent and tasty. The homemade ketchup, poached egg, chunky chips, wilted greens and mustard cream were all greedily but gratefully shovelled in. The beer battered haddock goujons with peas à la français, tartare sauce, skinny chips, was thankfully grease-free and wolfed down. The sushi was carefully prepared and pretty as a proverbial. The assiette of desserts was unusual and charming. Deserts shouldn’t take themselves too seriously, (leave that to the starters), and this had a welcome fun element.

The Langs of Longton kitchen was very big on miniature stuff. Almost every dish had an obligatory small thing, to make you scrunch your cheeks up and feel broody. Want chips? There’s a miniature chip pan for that sir! Any vegetable sides? Use the dwarf sized copper-pots! Serving a risotto? No fear, the micro skillet is here! Coulis Madam? Got it: shot glass! What isn’t miniature are the portions. After three courses I didn’t feel so much full but heavily pregnant. I had meat-sweat hallucinations of Langs of Longton morphing into a maternity ward, which I felt strangely grateful for.

Langs of Longton provided slap-up dinners (whatever that means), at reasonable prices. There are few restaurants that compete with Langs of Longton for value, especially considering their high quality of cooking, across a surprising range of dishes. The décor wasn’t my cup of tea, but the friendly organised service and attention to detail on the plate (or slate) certainly was.

Bravo!

Langs of Longton
Review Summary

Atmosphere 6  Cost 10  Quality 8  Service 9

Langs of Longton Restaurant Review
Langs, Preston – Great Value

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Restaurant Review: Pond, Preston

Pond – Licensed To Grill

Pond is a mid-sized independent tapas Preston restaurant, with a homely and distinctive feel. Some may think its bold, warm colours are intimate; others would say enclosing – either way, Pond had character.

Pond’s menu was extensive and all sounded delicious. Diners were spoilt for choice,  yet the menu held itself together enough not to disorientate. Pond provided unusual choices, which kept a potentially tired format interesting. Most of the food was very good and was all presented attractively; however, it got carried away with itself in places as the ‘Chicken – Raspberry Pepper’ sounded exciting but had no balance of flavour. I may as well have had a bowl of raspberries. The benchmark for any tapas restaurant is their chorizo; Pond’s sticky chorizo was very generously portioned and didn’t hold back on the chilli. Having tried most of the menu (in a large group), the standout dish was the ‘Luv a duk’, with an incredible depth of flavour. This brought a smile to all who were wise enough to try it. The chilli chocolate ice cream was an interesting way to finish a meal; not for everyone, but certainly a talking point. A leper could count on one hand the number of restaurants that offer memorable dishes in Preston City Centre – this was one of them.

Given the high-quality ingredients and healthy portion sizes, Pond offered average value for tapas in Preston, although being charged for tap water (despite ordering various bottles of wine) seemed below the belt.

Pond’s staff were welcoming but slightly confused by the order. Nor was there the capacity to discuss the food in any regard – the hallmark of good service. I requested Sangria, which although not on the menu, was presumed unchallenging for a tapas restaurant. I can only assume this was the servers first weak attempt at such an exotic concoction.

Pond’s food was sluggish to appear, not a massive issue, but the concept of tapas is to order little and often, not hungrily wait for everything to arrive together. Frustrating as one is forced to wolf down the food while it’s still hot, rather than enjoy the flavours to their full potential.

Overall Pond is a characterful restaurant with some proper cooking going on. It provided an intimate atmosphere and great flavours. Something that Preston city centre is in short supply of.

Pond Review Summary

Atmosphere 8    Cost 6    Quality 8   Service 5

Duk Preston Restaurant Review
Porky Goodness
Duk Preston Restaurant Review
Cheesy Goodness

*Since this review was first published, Pond is unfortunately no longer with us – hence the lack of link*