Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Fung Lok, Allerton Rd, Liverpool
As you can probably tell from my recent posts, I've been hammering the North West's cheap lunch deals over the last few weeks. After all, we're still in a state of financial austerity and it's never been a better time to grab a bargain. Strolling along Allerton Rd last Sunday, however, deals seemed to be thin on the ground; a bit strange, considering all these new wine bars and bistros are jostling for business cheek by jowl. After reading a few of the menus in the window, the veggie dishes seemed to be concoctions of Asda's chiller cabinet and were obviously dishes I could rustle up myself at home, defeating the purpose of eating out for me! After much menu perusing, I finally spotted a place offering lunch meal deals in the form of a restaurant I had not visited for 10 years, the Fung Lok.
The Fung Lok is a Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant which to look at is nothing special, but I was enticed by its 3 course lunch for £6.50. Resembling a living room with a few tables shoved in, a bar devoid of coffee machine (bad sign) and a table for takeaway customers straining under the weight of 50 issues of Now magazine, it wasn't the easiest on the eye. Coupled with a few handwritten signs on the wall about leaving tables unattended and some draconian rules about doggie bag etiquette, this restaurant resembled some sort of community centre. The staff were welcoming enough, friendlier than my visit 10 years previous. On closer inspection though, the menu seemed to have been written by Michael O'Leary. Some Ryanair-esque rules seem to have been imposed; although the lunch was £6.50, you could 'upgrade' certain dishes for an extra couple of quid. I stuck with the basic package, as 'upgrading' would have defeated the object of a bargain lunch.
To start, I had Sweetcorn soup which was tasty but lukewarm, so didn't come up to the standard of the Mayflower's soup from the week before. My carnivorous partner in crime 'upgraded' for £1 to Hot and Sour soup, which fared the same, passable, but should have been renamed Lukewarm with a Hint of Taste. The main courses fared better, I opted for the Vegetables in Hot Bean Sauce as pictured above. The taste wasn't dissimilar to Szechuan and the veg were pleasantly fresh as opposed to the prepackaged stuff. The Egg Fried rice was passable, but the portion size paltry. The Carnivore had a fried beef dish which got full marks, the beef being tender and not like that processed rubbish some Chinese restaurants are fond of.
Dessert time brought an eclectic choice of Cake of The Day, a fried banana or pineapple, jelly and custard (yum!) or that business lunch standard, the ice cream in a metal dish. We opted for the ubiquitous ice cream and a fried banana doused in toffee. The fried banana was freshly prepared, the batter fresh and not chippy-like like some restaurants.
The Fung Lok may not win awards for mind-blowing cuisine, nor will it blow the socks off you. But if you live in the suburbs of South Liverpool and don't fancy travelling too far, it's certainly a perfect, unpretentious failsafe.