In order to be objective in my reviews, I like to visit a place a couple of times and to give restaurants the benefit of the doubt. We've all had off days at work and done things we regret, so why should it be any different for restaurant staff? If a place is truly awful and other reviews show how consistently bad it is, then I'll give it a wide berth, but if it was just slightly bad with room for improvement, what I tend to do is visit again around a year later to see if it can deliver. Vindaloo Kings and Queens, I am happy to report that the New Hong Kong is back on top form!
I last visited New Hong Kong on Pride weekend, a stressful time for all bar and restaurant staff in close proximity to Canal St. This also coincided with August Bank Holiday- double the stress meaning half the customer service. My review was rather scathing, both the food and the customer service not faring well, but as I have had takeaways from the New HK, they have always been top notch and deep down, I knew they could come up with the goods. I decided to try their bargainous lunch deal- £5.50 for 2 courses. How did it match up to Chinatown's similarly cheap lunchtime offerings? I am pleased to announce it was top drawer.
The place was packed to the rafters with both Chinese and British clientele, a good sign. Dim Sum and other Cantonese specialities were in free flow, along with other business lunch bargain hunters like me. The amiable staff showed us to our table and made me and The Carnivore feel welcome. Proceedings kicked off with soup of the day- in both our cases, it was Vegetarian Sweetcorn, a generous portion, unlike some of the thimblefuls of soup on offer in Chinatown. And delicious it was too. FYI, there wasn't just one soup of the day, carnivores could have also indulged in hot and sour or chicken and sweetcorn. This was washed down with a fizzy water each at £1.60 a bottle.
The staff have impeccable timing between courses- not rushed like some business lunches and not too long either. A suitable pause in between sitting down, ordering, digesting the starter before chowing down on the main was expertly timed, a small yet important factor that some restaurants lack but New HK has down to a T.
Here are the mains- Singapore Vermicelli for The Carnivore:
and Fried Mix Veg with Cashew Nuts with lashings of EFR for me:
As you can see, the portions are HUGE. I have never been for a business lunch with such a huge portion- well, not in England anyway. Mountains of veg struggled to contain themselves in the constraints of the plate, bursting with flavour. Despite them being in a plain sauce, the eclectic mix of cashews and veg padded out nicely into a tasty serving of good old British Chinese. The Carnivore's Vermicelli went down a treat too, packed with pork, prawns and a colourful selection of veg. The sesame seed garnish was the piece de resistance, showing attention to detail that some restaurants neglect during Business Lunch period.
At £5.50, it'd be rude not to try New HK. A delicious lunch and a friendly, underestimated restaurant which deserves more praise and attention.