In search of a decent chinese - but not at Le Dragon

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Allan
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In search of a decent chinese - but not at Le Dragon

Post by Allan » Tue 01 Sep 2009 21:37

We had high hopes for Le Dragon in Perpignan, the chef is a member of Les Toques Blanches de Roussillon, an organisation to which most of the top local chefs belong.

It turned out to be just as dull and boring as all the other chino/vietnamese restaurants in Perpignan.

Starters were very limited, we had Nems and something described as a beignette of prawn ravioli - to be honest it was just some dried out fried stuff, unrecognisable as prawns or anything else for that matter.

For main course we had very ordinary sweet and sour prawns and a disgusting pork dish supposedly in a caramel sauce. Particularly irritating was the fact that the prawns had the shells left on their tails, this may be a good idea for finger food but not prawns cooked with a sticky sauce.

The service was pleasant but inept, people the world over share chineses food but the concept seemed alien to the waiter.

I often read the french restaurant websites and study the 'avis'. This place seems to be regarded as the best chinese in Perpignan, if that's the case I would hate to eat at the worst.

P.S. We eat out a lot and a number of forum members have suggested I revue the restaurants we go to, if this bores people then I will stop at once. To avoid being barred from restaurants I have dropped my surname from my login name

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Post by thumbelina » Tue 01 Sep 2009 21:55

Not boring at all, Allan! Very interesting, thanks - and welcome to the forum! :D

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Post by polremy » Tue 01 Sep 2009 22:07

yeah, review away.
good to read what other people think - especially when they are used to eating out a lot and know what they are talking about.

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Post by blackduff » Tue 01 Sep 2009 22:34

Allan
What review do you have of the Thai restaurant in Perpignan, just across the river. I haven't heard anything so far.

I just finished with the Escale de Asia in Argeles Plage (Costa Blanca). Everything was fresh but not especially different for the last time I ate at this place. Yet, I managed to find something to eat.

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Re: In search of a decent chinese - but not at Le Dragon

Post by Serge » Tue 01 Sep 2009 22:47

Allan wrote:We had high hopes for Le Dragon in Perpignan, the chef is a member of Les Toques Blanches de Roussillon, an organisation to which most of the top local chefs belong.

It turned out to be just as dull and boring as all the other chino/vietnamese restaurants in Perpignan.

Starters were very limited, we had Nems and something described as a beignette of prawn ravioli - to be honest it was just some dried out fried stuff, unrecognisable as prawns or anything else for that matter.

For main course we had very ordinary sweet and sour prawns and a disgusting pork dish supposedly in a caramel sauce. Particularly irritating was the fact that the prawns had the shells left on their tails, this may be a good idea for finger food but not prawns cooked with a sticky sauce.

The service was pleasant but inept, people the world over share chineses food but the concept seemed alien to the waiter.

I often read the french restaurant websites and study the 'avis'. This place seems to be regarded as the best chinese in Perpignan, if that's the case I would hate to eat at the worst.
Apart from all that - was the rest of it good? :lol:

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Re: In search of a decent chinese - but not at Le Dragon

Post by Robert Ferrieux » Tue 01 Sep 2009 23:33

Serge wrote:
Apart from all that - was the rest of it good?


from Helen: Reminds me of the question put to Abe Lincoln's widow:

"Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the show?"

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Konfucius Perpignan

Post by Allan » Wed 02 Sep 2009 00:13

blackduff wrote:Allan
What review do you have of the Thai restaurant in Perpignan, just across the river. I haven't heard anything so far.

Blackduff
I presume you mean Konfucius, we have been there a few times but have now given up on them.

The ambiance is great, indoor waterfalls, loads of thai carvings, potted plants, fresh orchids, pretty cocktails, just a shame about the food.

At first we thought we might have just chosen poorly so on subsequent visits we tried other dishes, in the end we concluded that the food was consistently indifferent.

We finally gave up when my request to discuss a particularly poor dish with the chef or manager was declined. I pointed out that the food was nothing like anything served in Thailand, the waiter dismissed my comment with ' I wouldn't know, I am vietnamese.

If your priorities are great decor and a really good ambiance then you might enjoy it, but for me the food just wasn't up to scratch.

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Post by Roger O » Wed 02 Sep 2009 00:30

Ryanair should run cheap flights to Amsterdam!
About the only city in Europe where you can sample genuine dishes from more than 100 nations around the globe!!
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Post by Santiago » Wed 02 Sep 2009 10:17

I assume you are saying England is not in Europe, Roger. Amsterdam is good but London is better. Probably because Dutch and English cuisines are pretty limited.

Are there any good ethnic (other than Mahgreb) restaurants in the P-O? I've never been tempted to try them. They remind me of what you'd find in Barnsley in 1980.
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Post by Roger O » Wed 02 Sep 2009 10:22

Santiago wrote:I assume you are saying England is not in Europe, Roger.
Ha! Just been influenced too much by Murdoch and comments on BBC "Have Your Say", I guess!!

From my point of view England is in Europe (with both feet!!) though it doesn't seem that people living there think that in the majority!
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Restaurants/chinese

Post by Sue » Wed 02 Sep 2009 12:33

I havent been myself but several of our friends have recommended the chinese/asian restaurant on the Commercial Estate, Argeles Plage. At the roundabout by the L'Ecole Maternelle take the turning towards the beach. The small Commercial Estate is on your left and the Restaurant is tucked in at the back behind the supermarket and other shops.
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In search of a decent Chinese

Post by frenchiegas » Wed 02 Sep 2009 12:58

Sue.The Chinese you refer to is the one that Blackduff also mentioned,in the Costa Blanca centre.Ive eaten there a few times and its ok,but not outstanding.
If that had gone in.............it would have been a goal.

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The one by the Megacastillet....

Post by John & Elaine » Wed 02 Sep 2009 13:41

...is always busy and, though now a buffet style, quite good with pleasant service. And in the evenings stir fried frogs legs. Now how Chinese is that!

J&E

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Re: Konfucius Perpignan

Post by john » Wed 02 Sep 2009 16:34

Allan wrote:
blackduff wrote:Allan
What review do you have of the Thai restaurant in Perpignan, just across the river. I haven't heard anything so far.

Blackduff
I presume you mean Konfucius, we have been there a few times but have now given up on them.

The ambiance is great, indoor waterfalls, loads of thai carvings, potted plants, fresh orchids, pretty cocktails, just a shame about the food.

At first we thought we might have just chosen poorly so on subsequent visits we tried other dishes, in the end we concluded that the food was consistently indifferent.

We finally gave up when my request to discuss a particularly poor dish with the chef or manager was declined. I pointed out that the food was nothing like anything served in Thailand, the waiter dismissed my comment with ' I wouldn't know, I am vietnamese.

If your priorities are great decor and a really good ambiance then you might enjoy it, but for me the food just wasn't up to scratch.
To my mind you are being over critical of Konfucius,Alan. What exactly do you mean by saying the food was not "up to scratch".? We have been on several occasions and found it tasty,varied ,well-presented ,and reasonably priced. OK,I take your point that it's not exactly the same as one finds in Thailand,but why is that a problem? Food in Indian restarants in the UK is not identical to that which you'd get in say Delhi. An Indonesian in Holland is not what you'd get in Sumatra. And,in the main an Italian meal anywhere (inc the States) is not what you'd have in Italy. The same applies to chinese food anywhere.

The standard at Konfucius is pretty similar to what you'd get in a Thai in the UK. No better,no worse. Quite acceptable for the price paid.

As regards your earlier point,I can't see the point of posting a lot of reviews that are"nit picking". If you go to a place where the food is disgusting,you are ill afterwards,or the service is atrocious,then warn people,by all means,but just telling us what we all know anyway (eg that it's not the same as in Bangkok/Hong Kong/Saigon/Goa etc) is,to my mind not helpful to us ,nor the restaurant concerned.

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Post by blackduff » Wed 02 Sep 2009 17:26

Has anyone eaten Thai food at Chin Chin before it closed it's doors. This was very nice, but also very expensive. The wife/cook was Thai so it does give it a real touch. Sorry to see that they left.

Escale de Asia in Argeles Plage Nord. The owner is Viet but I find his good (or better) than any other Asia restaurants in Argeles. I look at the price for two people, with a bottle of wine. It's always a drink to start, the entre and main course, and finally a good dessert and a coffee. Certainly there's a drink of Sake, if you want. Normal price is about 55~60 € but the wine is about 17 €. It can be cheaper if you take one of the menus.

I find that the prawns are super fresh. This counts a bit for me. Same for all of the ingredients~it's all fresh. I cannot say the same for the other places in Argeles.

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Re: Konfucius Perpignan

Post by Allan » Wed 02 Sep 2009 17:46

john wrote:To my mind you are being over critical of Konfucius,Alan. What exactly do you mean by saying the food was not "up to scratch".? We have been on several occasions and found it tasty,varied ,well-presented ,and reasonably priced. OK,I take your point that it's not exactly the same as one finds in Thailand,but why is that a problem? Food in Indian restarants in the UK is not identical to that which you'd get in say Delhi. An Indonesian in Holland is not what you'd get in Sumatra. And,in the main an Italian meal anywhere (inc the States) is not what you'd have in Italy. The same applies to chinese food anywhere.

The standard at Konfucius is pretty similar to what you'd get in a Thai in the UK. No better,no worse. Quite acceptable for the price paid.

As regards your earlier point,I can't see the point of posting a lot of reviews that are"nit picking". If you go to a place where the food is disgusting,you are ill afterwards,or the service is atrocious,then warn people,by all means,but just telling us what we all know anyway (eg that it's not the same as in Bangkok/Hong Kong/Saigon/Goa etc) is,to my mind not helpful to us ,nor the restaurant concerned.
John food is a subjective thing, people have different expectations and when I go to a restaurant and leave half the food uneated then I would maintain it was poor. I am pleased for you that you enjoy the place and I respect your right to your own opinion.

You misunderstood my remark about the food, the point I was making wasn't that the food was not what you would get in Thailand, it was simply that the waiter didn't know what it should taste like and more significantly didn't care, I apologise if I confused you.

I don't know where you go to Thai restaurants in the UK but I can name a dozen better ones without going outside of Leeds. Please bear in mind also that I was asked for my review of the place , I'm sorry that my opinion differs from yours but I have confidence in my own tastebuds.

I agree with you that nitpicking reviews are not helpful but since food is so fundamental to a restaurant then commenting on its poor quality is hardly notpicking. On the other hand I think that bland reviews that say nothing other than the price of 3 courses and coffee are equally unhelpful.

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Post by john » Wed 02 Sep 2009 22:11

Been to a wide range of Thai places all over the UK and further afield Allan. As I say ,I find Konfucius on a par with the average sort of place I've visited over the years. It seems OK to me,especially for the price paid. I've been to better places,but the bill has invariably a lot higher than that at Konfucius.

I do find it strange that you have a history of nitpicking reviews on Oriental restaurants round here,Allan. Anyone who lives here will tell you that this is not the area to go to for the very best Oriental food,nor,to be fair, food in general. With that in mind,and you clearly like to visit flashy expensive restaurants that pander to the exacting signals of your "confident" tastebuds,I do wonder why you decided to buy a house in PO in the first place. As Roger says,if top notch Oriental cuisine is as important to your life as you claim,then there are clearly better places to live than Perpignan?!

At least the "bland ",factual reviews you despise would have put you in the picture as regard this,straight away,if you'd read them.
Last edited by john on Wed 02 Sep 2009 22:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Konfucius Perpignan

Post by blackduff » Wed 02 Sep 2009 22:28

Allan wrote: John food is a subjective thing, people have different expectations and when I go to a restaurant and leave half the food uneated then I would maintain it was poor.

I am pleased for you that you enjoy the place and I respect your right to your own opinion.Iquote]
I could think of two other reasons that the plate is still half-full. Maybe the plate was very full and the eater couldn't eat the whole meal. It could also that maybe the eater really wasn't hungry.

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Post by Santiago » Thu 03 Sep 2009 00:28

Allan, I'd welcome your reviews on restaurants. Both positve and negative. We are constantly being asked for recommendations and I must admit we don't get the opportunity to dine out as often as we'd like so other people's discerning views are very useful. There is room for more restaurant critics in the PO.

Personally I think a review that says the food is generally not of a high quality is more useful than one which criticises a one-off event like a hair on the plate or the waiter mistaking an order.
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Post by Allan » Thu 03 Sep 2009 00:52

john wrote:
As I say ,I find Konfucius on a par with the average sort of place I've visited over the years.

I do find it strange that you have a history of nitpicking reviews on Oriental restaurants round here,Allan. Anyone who lives here will tell you that this is not the area to go to for the very best Oriental food,nor,to be fair, food in general. With that in mind,and you clearly like to visit flashy expensive restaurants that pander to the exacting signals of your "confident" tastebuds,I do wonder why you decided to buy a house in PO in the first place. As Roger says,if top notch Oriental cuisine is as important to your life as you claim,then there are clearly better places to live than Perpignan?!

At least the "bland ",factual reviews you despise would have put you in the picture as regard this,straight away,if you'd read them.
John

At least I am consistent, you are the same John that wrote

To be quite frank,if ethnic food is what you are after,in general you are wasting your time in France. Period.

OK,some of the Viet places are passable. I've never yet come across anything good Thai or Indian.


If you bothered to read my post you won't have found any reference or inference that I despise anybody's reviews and I certainly have no objection to factual postings.

You should get out more, there are some great restaurants in PO, Bistro le Cortal, Chateau de Jau, Naudo, ZaZa, Double Y to name but a handfull.

I knew that that this is not a region gastronomique long before I moved here but I thought the purpose of this forum was to share information and opinions. We do eat out a lot and in a wide variety of places, I have been encouraged to share my experiences.

As for nitpicking, I reviewed Le Dragon because I was suprised that a chef in a prestigious culinary organisation should produce such disappointing food and I responded to a request from another member for an opinion on Konfucius. I am sorry that it upsets you so much that my opinion conflicts with one of yours

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Post by john » Thu 03 Sep 2009 09:39

Allan wrote:At least I am consistent, you are the same John that wrote

To be quite frank,if ethnic food is what you are after,in general you are wasting your time in France. Period.

OK,some of the Viet places are passable. I've never yet come across anything good Thai or Indian.


If you bothered to read my post you won't have found any reference or inference that I despise anybody's reviews and I certainly have no objection to factual postings.
I'm not 100% sure Allan,but I think you'll find that the particular quote that you attribute to me was written before Konfucius opened a couple of years ago. But why do you think I'm upset that your views are not the same as mine? Quite the contrary;the quote proves that overall I agree with you,surely?

Where we do part company,is that I cannot see the point of writing a negative review in this sector,effectively giving people a reason NOT to go to a Restaurant. You list several restaurants you like. Would it not be more effective to write a review on one of these places?

Extensive research and feedback by those of use who do the Reviews for PO Life and AD show that what most people are looking for in a review is basic information,like address,contact numbers,opening hours,some information on the food available,what it's likely to cost on average,and a bit of stuff about the ambiance,comfort,and friendliness/efficiency of the service; Very little of the above ever features in your reviews. As I say,it tends to be nitpicking stuff like the nationality of a waiter etc.

So,I throw down the Gauntlet to you,Allan. Please do a review of a restaurant you've been to and had a good time,and enjoyed the food. We'd all find that a lot more useful/interesting than lots of negative stuff about Chinese/ Viet places.

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Post by Santiago » Fri 04 Sep 2009 19:16

I'm confused. Has Allan written loads of negative reviews of Asian restaurants in the past? I can only find 5 posts by him, unless he's changed names.
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Post by polremy » Fri 04 Sep 2009 19:26

I think maybe someone has been trying to confucius!

Seriously, I am more than happy to hear what anyone thinks about any restaurant - positive or negative.

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Post by Rivesaltes Johnny » Fri 04 Sep 2009 19:58

Surely the purpose of a critique should be to inform the reader what to expect… be it good or bad. I have previously made a living out of reviewing restaurants and hotels for professional guides and be it good or bad I feel a review that is constructive in its critique is invaluable.

Allan made comment the chef boasted a pedigree that provided an expectation that should have delivered - clearly that was not the case…

I agree also with John the region is not renowned for its ethnic cuisine but I do feel more often than not the restaurants of this ilk serve food that is often pandering to local taste rather than being truly authentic.

More often than not it is ignorance of the paying public as to what it should really taste like.

I once entertained some neighbours we had invited to dinner and served a classic bang bang chicken salad as a starter and they all remarked they had never tasted anything like it before. Albeit they enjoyed Asian food in the region and would often go for such a meal.

A review good or bad is a personal opinion and what is one person’s enjoyment can also be someone else’s disappointment.

I would love to know if there are sufficient people in the region prepared to pay at least fifty Euros per head for an authentic Chinese banquet prepared by a top London chef?

If so just PM me…

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Post by Puddles » Fri 04 Sep 2009 22:24

This is all very intresting , but I am afraid to poke my beak into this thread.
As far as I know the Touques Blanc guide is not compiled by those who have eaten in the restaurant, but based on those who will pay for inclusion.
I had the great pleasure to meet one chef who was in the 2005 guide, wonderful man who would do anything for the ladies to keep them happy, food was not bad but nothing fantastic & after a few glasses of vin told me it's all paid for advertising.
Moral, take nothing at face value.
On the other hand , I have to give full marks to 'Le Punjab' in Perpignan.
the first time I went there , I was asked if I wanted my curry English or French; I asked for French, when in Rome & all that.
Ever since that I have got to know the owner & the staff & every time I go with a guest they are asked to make a coment in the visitors book; I have had a little look in this book & have not read a bad comment.
As Allan says , the Thai resturant is not that good, but has anyone tried the Japon place just round the corner?
Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

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Decemt Chinese

Post by Jenny Rhodes » Fri 04 Sep 2009 22:44

What we would give for a decent Chinese or Indian restaurant up here. Or even a fish and chip shop. We get lapin,sanglier,beef, pork, and lamb all under the Guise of Mountain food, when it's not. We need something different.
So if anyone know of a good chef who wants a new business tell him to get him self up here. The old Carlina is for sale.Ideal for an Indian restaurant.
We are all getting withdrawel symptoms.
Hot and spicey,flavoursom and lush, I'm drooling already :lol:
Mountain Mama

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Post by blackduff » Fri 04 Sep 2009 22:47

Puddles
Are they the same people at Le Punjab as in Canet? I've heard a lot of good and bad reports about Punjab but it was mostly the price. The biggest problem is finding a good parking place.

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Post by john » Sat 05 Sep 2009 11:56

Rivesaltes Johnny wrote:Surely the purpose of a critique should be to inform the reader what to expect… be it good or bad. I have previously made a living out of reviewing restaurants and hotels for professional guides and be it good or bad I feel a review that is constructive in its critique is invaluable.

I think that you hit the nail on the head here Johnny. As you say,the publication you were writing for is a dedicated professional mag,aimed at providing a lot of very detailed info to people in the know.

POL/AD does not fall into that category...it is not first and foremost a food site/mag. So the view of those who are involved with it is ,with the limited space available,there is little or no point wasting it on giving info about places NOT to go to. People are far more interested in hearing about places that other readers have ENJOYED.

Another point to make just to clear up any confusion,is that the reviews in POL etc are not meant to be a "league table"; No one is pretending that this or that place is "Number One/Two/Three in PO"; They are just recommendations of a wide range of places from readers etc. Also,as Puds says,many so called "guides" are compiled from restos who are prepared to pay to be included. That is most certainly NOT the case with POL/A-D .

As regards paying £50 ph for a Chinese meal,speaking personally,I would not be interested,but I'm lucky enough to get back to UK often enough to enjoy excellent Chinese cuisine in London,Manchester,Liverpool,Newcastle,and other cities.

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Post by Roger O » Sat 05 Sep 2009 15:03

Probably one of the main differences (at least that's what I think from personal experience) is that the "Chinese" in France, especially, is an effort(?) by the Vietnamise to put on what they think is Chinese - whereas in the UK most of the restos and takeaways dotted about all over the country are genuine Hong Kong products by family enterprises where dad and mum do the cooking, grandad and grandma do the washing up and son and daughter do the serving. Raw material food products imported directly from HK are bound to be more authentic than "manipulated" Viet and Laos products imported into France!

Waddya think??
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Post by blackduff » Sat 05 Sep 2009 15:24

Roger
I'm using a diet type of program. This is called "Weight Loss Resources" and it has a big database for many products. In general, all of the products are available and used in the UK.

I enter products for things like "Fish Sauce" and I can find the exact products which are sold at the Asian Center in Mas Guerido. It's not just the type of product but the same brand.

So, I think the Chinese in the UK are probably using the same fish sauce I buy here in France.

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