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

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Dolphin House
The Boulevard, Riverside West
Off Smuggler's Way
SW18 1DE

Telephone: 020 88713881

Opening Times: Mon - Sun 12pm - 2pm, 6pm - 11pm.
Bank holidays 12pm - 11pm

Nearest Tube: Wandsworths Town BR

This place has always intrigued me. From the outside it appears impressive with its huge glass windows and immaculately set tables. On peering within, its modern interior with extravagant stream complete with fish was always dominated by one glaring peculiarity. It is always empty, regardless of the time of day. Zip. Zope. Nada.

Upon careful perusal of the outside menu I wasn’t impressed. It proudly claims to specialise in Szechuan dishes but the menu dully claims otherwise. Also dishes were priced way above average. The restaurant would have to be bloody good for us to dine there at those prices.

So when Toptable were offering the chance to dine at Blue Thames for 20% off food price, we leapt at the opportunity. We reasoned, if it was dismal, we would never grace its interiors again. But if great – what a fantastical find!

Upon entering, the interior is amazing. In fact I thought it would be fantastic to hire it out for a large function. The design and the ambience reminded me of a grand Hong Kong restaurant. However none of it could mask the stark naked fact that there were only 2 tables occupied (one lone diner and one couple) in this massive restaurant with 2 floors. Very sad indeed. Cue the Western tumbleweeds whispering across the shiny floors.

To cut a long story short. The waiting staff (a sweet looking girl) was woefully below par – she had perfected the art of looking harassed and harried. She successfully ignored our waving failing hands whilst dashing around the three tables occupied. We ordered five dishes as we were ravished and were stunned when the dishes were teeny weenie and frankly below standard for what we were expecting and paying for. We ate every morsel of food – not because we liked it – but because it simply wasn’t enough. Rice as usual, wasn’t free-flow per head, hence came in stingy portions.

In the end we still paid about £15 per head. The bill came without the 20% discount at first, then after much grumbling, was altered. It was still expensive considering we were left ungratified. In the end we had to whip over to The Ship for a much needed stomach-filler of decadent desserts.

I feel sorry for them. Obviously they have to pay an enormous mortgage or rent on the place and feel they have to overcharge on their menu, rather than trying to increase their turnover of patrons. This place could have so much more potential with better food, larger quantities and more efficient waiting staff who were more on the ball. Certainly won’t be fighting the hungry masses to get into this restaurant’s doors.


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Anonymous London Sinophile said...

I am reliably informed that the Sichuanese dishes of which the restaurant boasts are all to be found on the Chinese menu, which, as always, has to be requested. You might have to be persistent, and ask for translations, but I've found that many Chinese places are very obliging once they realise you are serious and intent on enjoying authentic food.

In any case London has any number of good Sichuanese restaurants these days (a blessed relief to those of us tired of the standard Cantonese repertoire). You might try Bar Shu near Greek Street (quite expensive, and the kitchen can sometimes be a little overwhelmed, but exceptionally high quality if you come at the right time), or Angeles in Kilburn, which makes absolutely no concessions whatever to bland Western palettes is all the better for it. Then there's the aptly named Sichuanese Restaurant in Acton, which is very keenly priced and welcoming.

2:40 pm


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