Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Tso's, Liverpool

The Jeremy Kyle of the restaurant world!

Readers, I understand if you are confused. This is a restaurant review site and so far, you have had no evidence of a dining experience in this review. One bizarre photo of a deformed strawberry and a reference to Jezza Kyle seems rather strange, I admit. However, I am just setting the scene for an atrocious dining experience. A chimps tea party if you like. Sorry to insult any chimps who may be reading this.

Liverpool, a scorching hot summer day. I was starving, craving Chinese food. The aim of the day was to try somewhere new to put on the blog. Mayflower was out of the question then. As was the disgusting Shangri La. I really wanted to go to the Phoenix but as it closed in 2007, that was a no go, unfortunately. Shame, that was one quality place. After getting lost en route to where I thought the Mandarin was, we ended up at Tso's buffet which bore the legend 'All you can eat £5.95'. Will it be as chavvy as it sounds? I was pleasantly surprised with the May Sum buffet.

I went up a staircase and thought it was derelict. My first view was that of a cloakroom cum storage cupboard. Is this place actually an abandoned social club? It looked like a relic from 1974, considering it was only opened in 2000. I pushed open the door and took in the surroundings. Large buffet looked decent. The walls were painted in that nasty paint reserved for council flat corridors. The carpet was well-worn, patchy, rotten and looked a bit like astroturf. We were met by a grimacing trio of staff.
'Sit here!' she barked, reminiscent of Hitler in a low budget war film. Frau Hitler pointed us to a table under the coffee machine. One for health and safety to watch! Forget that. The customer is always right, I am paying so I will sit where I want. Hitler moved me quickly from my chosen table 'no no' she barked. I chose another one. (She barked at all the other guests wanting to sit there too, what was it, a trap door?)
Anyway, time to eat.

STARTER: two vegetarian soups, sweetcorn or hot and sour. The soups were freezing. Also on offer were pancakes, spring rolls, samosas (completely devoid of filling, cash n carry rubbish), and for the meat eaters ribs, chicken wings and that authentic Chinese delicacy Chicken Nuggets.

Oh I forgot to mention the state of the plates and bowls. They were all plastic, dirty, cracked, chipped and with the ground in remnants of other peoples grub. Takes recycling to a whole new level, doesn't it?

MAIN: the only rice was Egg Fried which tasted neither eggy nor fried. Also, there were chips (oh my god, you are really spoiling us! What with the chicken nuggets and all) a large selection of meaty dishes. As this is a veggie blog, I will bypass them and head for the veggie stuff. Vegetable vermicelli was delicious, as were the braised aubergines. The curry was like gravy, the broccoli reminded me that I needed to go to Iceland on the way home and stock up on frozen veg.

DESSERT: yeah yeah, I know that's what you've been waiting for after seeing that strawberry pic, it's really whet your appetite, hasn't it? Let us commence.
Ice cream was vanilla, choc and strawberry. All rather tasty, but I needed a chain saw or an aircraft de-icer to actually get some out of the rock solid containers. I made my way to the fruit. At first, I was pleasantly surprised as there was no cheat's option of tinned Netto fruit, but real, live fruit pieces! Watermelon and honeydew made a delicious change, a few bruised peaches were not so hot. Apples, strawberries and other fruit were in abundance. But then the cracks started to show. A few tinned peaches made an appearance, as did a few tinned lychees (I find they taste better tinned though). Then the mutants appeared. Like an incestuous produce of a strawberry and a raspberry, I spotted a bowl of deformities. At first, they looked like normal strawbs, but then I noticed some of them had two stalks. Some of them looked like Siamese twins. Some of them had six other strawbs growing out of them! One of them looked as if it had warts. Anyway, I snapped the freakiest one for you readers!

If I thought I was queasy then, nothing prepared me for my further discoveries. I spied a weird take on a prawn cocktail. Untouched, a bed of prawns lay there, mixed with more (mutant) strawbs, fruit cocktail and mayonnaise. This looked like hell on earth. Was it one of those fake vomits they use in Hollyoaks and Holby City? My train of thought was interrupted by a loud sneeze. Over the buffet. By the waitress (Hitler's Mum). She wiped her nose with her hand and proceeded to tidy up the plates. Ooh tasty!

Time to visit the bogs. The smell hit me, a smell I haven't experienced since a three hour delay in a Turkish airport. Exposed bins displaying used (how can I put this?) monthly items that a lady may use and even nappies;surely that's a potential health risk? The best was that when I flushed, the whole building shook and vibrated.

Before I left, I took in the decor one more time. Post-it notes and signs littered the room. TAP WATER IS UNAVAILABLE. DO NOT WASTE FOOD AS YOU WILL BE CHARGED. WHEN BUSY, PLEASE LEAVE AFTER 90 MIN. OPEN ON XMAS DAY. KIDS UNDER 4 FT EAT HALF PRICE. FREE WINE ON BIRTHDAY. OAPS AND STUDENTS 10% OFF. PLEASE USE CORRECT CUTLERY FOR CORRECT COURSE. If the toilets were a Turkish airport, then the dining area was Soviet Russia.

As for the Jeremy Kyle like clientele? Well, these were the people who were happy slurping away, not batting an eyelid to all I have mentioned. One young lad I spotted was even bending down and drinking his soup out the bowl! And his mother was using her hands. You'll never meet a nice young lady with those table manners, young man.

I managed to escape before someone got offended at the amount of photos I was taking, they probably thought I worked for environmental health or in the investigation department of benefit thieves. This place is a haven for people on long-term sick with a bad back and for rats with a healthy appetite.

Tso's oriental buffet on Urbanspoon

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