Wednesday, 13 April 2011


'No MSG.'

What a proud statement. And should we be impressed with the honesty and standards, or slightly depressed that such a declaration is necessary?!

I love Chinese food, be it dim sum in Chinatown, full on banquets in Queensway, or messy, drippy takeaway in front of a film at home. Pomelo in Kensal Rise had been identified as a quality local Chinese restaurant, with rumours of an ex-Hakkasan chef abounding (as yet unconfirmed), and a couple of positive takeaways down the gullet, we thought we'd try the eat-in experience.

With some BYO beers (£1.50 per head corkage, unlimited consumption!) - we ordered the spare ribs in mandarin sauce (£5.50) to share as a starter. These were generous (ate one without thinking before taking pic!) sweet and gloopy, with a hoisin-esque bbq sauce, surprisingly not too heavy.

My main was that takeaway favourite, Crispy Shredded Chilli Beef (£6.50), which is usually very satisfying but not very beefy. I sometimes think they're mere twiglets fried in sweet chilli sauce, but this actually tasted meaty and wasn't 't shrivelled to within an inch of its life. Evidence of meat content! Wow...

The Piglet's Lemon Chicken (£6.50) was equally good quality, with nice pieces of chicken and a more natural tasting sauce which wasn't too cloying or artificial tasting. It tasted fresh and definitely of a quality you don't get in most generic Chinatown joints.

We had Egg Fried Rice (£2.50 p/h) which was decent, and a very generous portion for two. The menu also has plenty of Malaysian dishes I'd be keen to try. Decor is lots of quasi-Asiatic dark wood, and fine for a local place. Vibe quite busy and cosy.

A note on the service though. There were only tables for four available when we walked in - one cold by the door and one further away. Same size, both set for four diners. We weren't allowed the the normal one "in case a three or four arrives", and had to suffer the extremely slow and annoying draughty door opening and closing. Also while I nipped out for the beers, The Piglet was threatened straight away that we'd have to move again if a new party of four arrived and a table for two was vacant. Charming attitude. Didn't eventuate. Surely could have addressed if needed!?

The slightly batty lady seemed surprised at the end when the tip wasn't that hot. Also there are items on the menu which they've stopped cooking completely. Pomelo is handy to know as a good quality and value takeaway, which I'd recommend thoroughly for anyone in West/North West London, but I'd give a miss as a restaurant and head to Royal China...

Food – 7/10
Drink – N/A (BYO - worth it the more you drink as a flat £1.50!)
Service – 4/10
Value – 9/10
Tap water tales – 4/10 (not requested, didn't arrive but saw an iced jug for another table) 
Staff Hotness – 2/10 (not happening here....)

55 Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, NW10
No website.

Pomelo on Urbanspoon

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