Food and the city..the hags are here to eat and then tell you about it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

C&R Restaurant

52 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH
Tel: 020 7221 7979

Opening Times: 11.30 am – 11 pm (Sun – Thurs)
11.30 am – 11.30 pm (Fri – Sat)

Nearest Tube: Paddington

Average price per person: £8-15 (including Chinese tea)

On this website, we’ve ranted and raved about this Malaysian café restaurant. Its got a good reputation for the Wat Tan Ho (fried rice noodles in a fantastic creamy egg sauce) and also other Malaysian dishes. This is the place where one finds the South East Asian folk have gathered on the weekend to satisfy their cravings for home style food. Anyways, it was with much joy when we found that C&R was opening another branch in Bayswater. Alas, the joy was very short lived – read on for the MOST disappointing meal since we’ve started the website. Yes, you read it right this place completely SUCKED and I can’t put it any simpler. I was deliberating whether to be a little kinder but memories of the experience have left me bitter and twisted.

One fine Sunday, when London was blessed with exceptional weather The Man and myself decided to soak up the sun in Hyde Park. As one would expect, spending a whole day lying in the sun and doing nothing is very tiring work so at the end of the day, we went in search of a quick and cheap meal. We met up with Diarrhoea Dent and the lovely Auds for dinner, originally at Four Seasons (famous world wide for its roast duck and if we ever get a table, we’ll get a review up!). However, the queue for the Four Seasons was longer than the line for the ladies at a Justin Timberlake concert so alternatives had to be found. C&R Café Restaurant was just a hop and skip away so that’s how we ended up there. The menu on the window pronounced that this place was slightly dearer than its sister restaurant in Rupert Street (they’ve dropped the “café” and is calling itself the C&R Restaurant) but hey, if we knew what it was about and what to expect. This new addition to the Bayswater restaurant scene was a lot nicer than its flagship café restaurant – pristine white starched table cloths and napkins, a maitre d’ in a suit no less (and whom we’d recognised from the Rupert Street branch) and similarly dressed wait staff. The whole place was striving for a more refined feel and higher end restaurant.

The menus provided had less of the traditional Malaysian fare, that is individual meals for one that one would have found in Soho, and catered for more of a traditional Chinese restaurant crowd offering a lot more dishes to be shared. For starters, we shared a Roti Chanai – traditional Malaysian/Indian flat bread served with curry sauce for dipping. The bread was warm and quite tasty and the accompanying curry sauce was fantastic. It was a good start and we felt a little sorry that we’d only ordered one portion. We were even sorrier after our main meals came as that was the highlight of the meal.

All the portions in this restaurant seemed to have shrunk, yet the prices were a little higher (probably around 50p or so) per dish. Good, if you weren’t a big eater but bad if you were expecting more. The Penang Fried Kuey Tiaw (stir fried flat rice noodles) was tasteless and oily, albeit obviously blacked with soy sauce. The Singapore styled black pepper noodles was definitely not lacking in pepper, but was enough to send my tastebuds packing. Seriously, all the other senses that ones has on the tongue was complete obliterated by the pepper this horrible dish. Does this restaurant own shares in a pepper plantation??

What else can we say? Nasi Goreng – a tasteless combination of rice and vegetables and a waste of raw produce to be honest. Someone on our table had Pad Thai, which was quite average and not up to standard and the chicken curry with rice (£8 for the curry and an additional surcharge of £2 for rice) was also average. Oh, and not forgetting we shared half a duck, which was a very poor substitute for duck from Four Seasons or Magic Wok on Queensway. If you want duck, save your money and endure the queue for these places. Trust me, your tastebuds will thank me.

After the last bite was taken (of whatever we could still stomach), two orders were placed for Ice Kachang (the Malaysian dessert with shaved ice, syrup and other fruits). We waited. And waited. And waited for about 20 minutes. The restaurant wasn’t completely full and waiters were seen loitering around but one can only assume that the kitchen need more staff. We were on the verge of walking out when they came I was ready and fed up. The good news was that the desserts were quite nice but again, not as cheap as other places.

Finally, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. During the wait for desserts, I made the fatal error of visiting the facilities. OH MY GOD. Disgusting isn’t the word for it. All 3 toilets had packed up and were overfilling onto the floor. I was absolutely horrified and what’s more horrifying was that after I informed the staff, they were quite nonchalant about it and no one seemed to want to attend to it. Peoples, it was OVERFILLING onto the floor.

Yes, this is a harsh review and given that this restaurant has just opened, teething problems are to be expected. Despite their sewage problems (which can be fixed relatively easily), this is one restaurant where the old adage of not judging a book by its cover holds true. C&R Bayswater looks great but the quality of the food and overall value for money is a major let down. With the plethora of Chinese restaurants around the area (Four Seasons, Mandarin Kitchen, Magic Wok just to name a few), C&R will have to pull up their socks to compete.

Wanna see more restaurant reviews by us?




Blogger Culinary Hag said...

Should have taken a pic of the loo...I would have wanted to see it:)


4:51 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady, you wrong 'bout C&R Bayswater. Try pepper crab. About £10 for whole crab stirfried in pepper sauce (almost as good as Uncle make it). Girlfriend love it. You try. You love it. Also, chicken noodle soup there best in London.

3:05 pm

Blogger Vivilicious said...

I also have to disagree with you hags about this place. I go regularly as I live in the hood. The pepper crab is great as mentioned above. Also try the chicken rice, kangkong blachan, laksa, the list goes one. The staff have always been super friendly, in fact I celebrated there with 10 friends for my birthday and it was great! And no, I do not own a share in the restaurant ;-). I urge you to try it again...

4:24 pm

Blogger Culinary Hag said...

Anonymous and Vivilicious - thanks for your comments. I'll certain take on board your comments and revisit this restaurant again in the near future and will definitely try the pepper crab. And by this time, I hope that their initial problems with their facilities and their disinterested and neglectful staff.

4:02 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also disagree with Culinary Hag's postings on C&R. In a price comparison, the new location is about the same. Yes, the old place looks more authentic since it's a hole-in-the-wall. But we recently did a take-away for the hainan chicken - same price as the Bayswater location, but we mostly got bones. The Bayswater one was more generous with their portions - I'd happily pay the extra 50p.
I quite like the staff at the Bayswater location - really nice waiter and waitress there who I'm starting to recognize on my repeat visits there.

12:53 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope that the service has improved. The service in the C&R Cafe in Rupert Court has got much worse, particularly with the expansion of tables. The staff are generally rude and customer service's gone out the window. What a pity.

10:38 am

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tumbs up for starter. HOWEVER... The restaurant was awfully cold and all food were serve in cold plates. The main course was desaster and when we made a complain, the manager seems to prioritise his lunch, walking around with toothpicks in his mouth after. No member of staff put any effort to resolve our complains about the stale and sour taste vegetables and the weird taste in our noodles. We paid and left the restaurant very cold and hungry. I was very embarass and will never bring friends around there ever again!

2:34 pm


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