C & R CAFE RESTAURANT
3-4 Rupert Court Soho W1D 6EB
Telephone: 020 7434 1128
This little gem was found via word of mouth from a friend. Otherwise, there was no way we would have found it. Tucked away in an alley away from the hustle and bustle of Chinatown it offers Malaysian and Singaporean food. It’s quite a small place with two floors. In peak times, you’ll find yourself waiting alongside a yapping crowd of Chinese students. Wa dan ho is the dish we go for – nearly every time without fail. I didn’t even know the dish existed until last year when the court’s chamber maid recommended it. Supposedly her mum makes the best version of it back in their restaurant in Perth. C & R’s version of it is, according to her, is the closest replica of heaven in a bowl. For the uninitiated, let me try to explain.
It’s a hot slippery mass of thick rice noodles, gliding over each other in a sea of thickened gooeyness (I could try to be more specific, but I really don’t know what the gooeyness is). Interdispersed within this hot bed of lushness, are generous sized prawns, scallops and squid topped with the richness of a fresh raw egg oozing freely around its occupants coating them to form a glorious harmonious symphony of joy. To eat this, slurping up its golden goodness brings unmeasurable delight.
Their Hainanese Chicken Rice is quite good as well. I guess their chicken could be a bit plumper and smoother, but taste wise it’s not bad. Their rice is quite tasty as well. I am not, however, a Hainanese Chicken Rice expert. I’m sure there are people who can go on and on about how the best Chicken Rice should taste like. So I won’t.
The Nasi Goreng, according to The Other Hag, is nothing to write home about. So I won’t. (In fact, she undiplomatically said it was “crap”).
Also don’t try the curry or asam laska – apparently they lack any real depth of flavour.
A British born half Honky half Malaysian friend DuckRice recommended the salty fish rice. He said that he thought it was the best dish there by far. I decided to put this to the test and actually decided to have it one day over the Wa dan ho. It was good but I’m not used to eating the salty fish as it was….salty. So I ended up picking the big pieces out to the side. Everytime I accidentally ate one, my face screwed up like …well like an old Hag. But it certainly was a very flavoursome dish.
The desserts at C & R are quite good. The Ice Cendol (fluorescent green worms squirming in coconut milk and brown sugar) is brilliant, coming in a tall glass. The only problem is that it’s extremely filling and should be drunk with caution if having it in addition to a full meal. They also have Iced Kacang, Bo Bo Cha Cha and other things that I can’t remember. (Maybe The Other Hag can help me out).
A great place for casual dining. Average price of a dish is £6. Will keep you posted if I try any other dishes there.
C&R - Update
A weekend has just passéd – filled with the healthy goodness (not!) of deep fried chicken on Friday night, bad Vietnamese food on Saturday night (review coming) and then excellent value for money Japanese (review also forthcoming) on Sunday. With all this glut of eating, you’d think that we’d hit the gym – but alas, only Her Royal Hagness was conscientious enough. Anyways, back to my point. Apart from eating, this weekend was spend shopping in Oxford street. Both hags were on a mission and we had 3 hours to do it. Her Royal Hagness needed a new white shirt for an interview (good luck!) and we needed it now! I was just along for the ride.
After an afternoon of shopping along Oxford street, dinner time came around rather quickly although we’d polish off a rather huge lunch, all the shopping has gently stirred up the hunger pangs. So we had a dilemma – where can we go that quick, tasty and cheap? And we fell back on the old faithful – C&R. You’d think that with all the choices available in China Town that we’d find something else but no, when its consistent quality you want we knew where to head.
We arrived in this place around 6.30pm and was seated in the basement, where it was quite empty. In a matter of 15 minutes, the place filled up rather quickly and we were locked in when the other patrons sat down. Not good, especially for the Man who’d just come from a game of basketball and was feeling every muscle in his body. On this occasion, it was Her Royal Hagness, myself and The Man enjoying the South East Asian delicacies offered here.
HRH and myself decided to order the Wat Dan Ho (silken rice noodles coated with a luxurious egg sauce with crunchy greens, pork and seafood) - finally. We ALWAYS come to C&R and watch our respective partners eat this and secretly coveting it. Not today – it was a quick and decisive move on our parts. The Man however, had enough of this and decided to go the Lo Mein – a Malaysian delicacy of egg noodles with thickened egg sauce, served with malt vinegar on the side for extra flavour.
As usual, the Wat Dan Ho was pretty tasty and lived up to expectation, although the egg sauce was a little on the waterish side. But, eaten with the pickled green chillies it made for a most excellent meal.
However, the Lo Mein which came didn’t really look anything like the dish I’d seen before in South East Asia. But nevertheless, the Man tucked in and it was pretty bland on its own. A lot
of vinegar was needed to give this dish some life so I’d steer clear of this dish. Luckily, the Man also had an order of Chendol, a Malaysian drink made with crushed ice, coconut milk and some green worm like jelly which was quite filling.
Overall, C&R café lived up to expectations and filled a hole in our bellies. We weren’t disappointed as you’ll always know what you’re getting for your money.
TOH - 10 May 2005
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