Randomness Guide to London - Differences between Version 36 and Version 35 of Phoenix Palace, NW1 5PG
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At the front is a bar area with ornately-carved wooden chairs, and the restaurant stretches back from here. The decor is traditional, with red lanterns hanging from the ceiling, shiny tiles on the floor, and an aquarium in the bar area.
They have a seemingly never ending menu full of good things. They offer one set vegan menu and one set vegetarian menu, and they also do dim sum at lunchtimes (noon-5pm Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm Sun/Bank Hol).
Bob, elvum, and friends paid an evening visit in July 2007. We started with the mixed cold hors d'oeuvres platter (£7.50/head), which consisted of pig trotter, beef shin, jellyfish, spicy cuttlefish, and prawns in salad cream. The cuttlefish was particularly tasty.
Our mains were equally interesting, and indeed equally excellent. We ordered a salt fish and chicken casserole, wild boar curry, belly pork and mustard green casserole, and the four-meat rotisserie plate. The average price per item was about £13.
The member of staff who took our order had slight issues with our English, and service wasn't as fast as it could have been, but these are very minor points.
Kake and various friends have also been for dim sum on several occasions, ranging from June 2008 to February 2013. In June 2008 Kake was happy with the fried turnip cake; it actually tasted of turnip, which doesn't always happen. Soup dumplings were juicy rather than soupy. Congee was good, and a single portion was enormous. Egg tarts arrived warm. The tea was rubbish though; overbrewed and overstrong, though on later visits I've learned that asking for specific tea (e.g. tieguanyin) produces better results.
As well as the regular dim sum menu they also have specials which change throughout the year. In February 2013 these included stirfried New Year rice cake with leeks, wind-dried meat, and preserved radish photo, edamame with black fungus, lotus roots, sweetcorn, yam, and beancurd in hot chilli sesame dressing photo, and BBQ suckling pig photo; all of these were tasty and interesting. Kake particularly liked the use of Sichuan pepper in the edamame dish, reflecting the dim sum tradition of borrowing aspects from non-Cantonese cuisines.
Child-friendliness: Like most good Chinese restaurants, they welcome children. On our June 2012 evening visit, the staff were happy to interact with the younger children in our party (a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old). On our February 2013 visit they brought a toy paper dragon and some training chopsticks for the 2-year-old in our party without being asked.
Accessibility: There's a fairly steep ramp to get in. It's step-free throughout once you're in, and there's an accessible toilet.
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