Saturday, 19 July 2008

Chinese Roast Duck

As it happened last Saturday, we could not go out to have lunch in Chinatown because of rain this Saturday either. Damn!

But, eventually, we went out and, being quite unable to eat something Chinese, I decided to take out a Chinese roast from one of Cantonese places in Chinatown.

I am not particularly keen on the spices used for the Chinese roast, but today I wanted to eat duck, so I compromised.

I ordered half a duck for £8.50.

Chinese Roast Duck

I looked carefully how the cook chop up the duck (you can buy it un-cut, but as it is quite boney, it is better have it cut). He separated the brest from the leg, and threw away some pieces of fat. Oh my God! It was such a fatty bird!

This is a close-up.

Chinese roast duck close up

Do you see the white fat under the crispy skin? Yes, that is what I am talkin' about! When you bite into it, the liquid fat fills your mouth.

Mmmmmm. Heaven...

And don't forget the meat. They say that for the Peking (Beijing) duck, all you can eat is the skin and the meat is for dogs. It is not the case for this type of roast. The meat is perfectly moist and tasty. Mmmmmmmmm again.

The smell of the Chinese spices wasn't overpowering either. It was a subtle, complex flavour.

Although it is super-good, I cannot eat it in big quantity (which is a normal portion for other people) and take-away looks to be the best solution. Buy a portion and eat it in some installments. How clever I am! Ha ha ha!

Clearning curtains

We are moving out of the flat where we have lived for 4 years, and we must do various cleanings.

One of them is to dry-clean curtains. We have two sets of curtains (4 pieces in total). They are not luxurious curtains, and after more than 5 years of use (when we moved in, they were already used for more than 1 year), it looks better buying new ones than cleaning, but, as the landlord wants us to dry-clean them, so we did.

There are two dry cleaners in my area. First, I decided to get the quote. The first dry-cleaner asked me how large were they and if they were lined, quoted £56. The second one asked me how much was the weight. I did not know that, but she said it is £5 per kilo. I guessed they should not weigh more than 10kg, so I went to the latter shop.

In fact, the weight was only 4kg, and I paid £20. Less than a half of the price quoted by the first shop.

It is possible, even plausible, that the first shop does the better job, but all I need is a receipt to prove that the curtains are professionally cleaned, so it does not matter so much what they do.

It really is important to shop around.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

New entry from the 7th to 17th July

Well, I am getting lazy these days, but I did upload one page in these days!

Birmingham Restaurant Guide

City Cafe

The City Cafe

I went to City Cafe for lunch. If the food is not the tastiest food you can buy, the lunch course offer delivers very good value for money, and the service staff is perfectly pleasant. Thumb up.

The Cube Construction Site

Whenever I go close to The Mailbox, I never fail to take a look at The Cube construction site.

The Cube Birmingham

I am not sure if this photo do justice to how gigantic this site is. Difficult not to amaze.

Really looking forward to see what will be realised here!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Starbucks in Selfridge's, too

On the lowest level of Selfridge's in Bullring, there used to be Cafe Nero. It was spacious, and often not too crowded, so we often went there.

Unfortunately it was closed a couple of months maybe, and the space has been occupied by luggage selling area.

Last weekend, I saw Starbucks occupying the place where Cafe Nero used to be.

It looks less airy and spacious than before, and definitely darker.

I am not a big fan of Starbuck's coffee, but there is no denying that it is convenient to have a coffee shop here.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Wokmania Is Gone

I noticed today that Wokmania, all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet restaurant in Chinatown, is closed down.

And there is this piece of paper on the window.

It is under refurbishment, but it is for a new restaurant.

During a couple of months, Wokmania has been distributing leaflets for discount, but, evidently it did not work.

I am looking forward to see what is coming now.

Coconut & Sago Drink @ Chinatown Noodle Bar

With alternating rain and sunshine, we decided not to go out at lunch time yesterday giving up idea of enjoying usual Chinese meal in Birmingham Chinatown.

We went out in the afternoon instead, and went to Chinatown all the same to buy this.

Sago and Coconut Drink

This is Sago (=tapioca) and coconut drink. Some Cantonese cafes of this area sell it, and this one is from Chinatown Noodle Bar. £1.50 for a small cup (the one in the photo) and £3 for a large cup. You can either eat in or take out for the same price.

The girl at the counter said there was only L size as they ran out of small cups, but I was not confident to be able to finish a large cupful. The girl, seeing me almost leaving, decided to look for a small cup, and rather predictably, she found one. I don't think she was trying to cheat, but they were rather busy at that moment and she did not want to lose time in searching for small cups.

Unfortunately, the small cup is not transparent, so you cannot see tapioca. There are small opaque tapioca mixed with thick and sweet coconut drink. It is a very popular dessert/drink in South East Asia (pudding version contains more tapioca and less coconut liquid).

It was as good as I expected, and filling as well; I would not have finished, if I had bought a large cup.

If you like sweet, coconuty stuff, and have never tried this, I recommend you to look our for one, when you happen to be in Chinatown.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Edmunds Open

Andy Waters' new venue in Brindley Place, Edmunds, has finally opened.

I don't know exactly when, but on the 7th (Mon.) it definitely wasn't. I passed in front of it to go to City Cafe at noon and Mr. Waters was outside, talking on the phone, looking rather upset.

I took a close look at the menu this afternoon, when the restaurant was closed (evidently it does not open during Saturday lunch time).

Tasting menu (7 course without counting coffee and petits fours) is £55 (without wine) and £75 (with wine) including mineral water. Dinner is £35 for two courses and £39.50 for three courses, both including another sub-course (either amuse buche or pre-dessert), mineral water and coffee. For lunch, £18 for two course and £20 for three course, again, including coffee, petits fours, and mineral water. "Discretionary" service charge is 10%.

At Purnell's, three course dinner is £38.95, and three course lunch is £18.95, which I don't think include water and coffee, so I think we would pay slightly less at Edmund's. Of course, it does not say anything about 'value', as it also depends of quality and kind of ingredients, and portion.

The genre I think is what we call New British or Modern European. The dinner menu looks very interesting.

It is such a joy that Birmingham has got another attractive dining place!

Woktastic Open

The new noodle and sushi bar in Paradise Forum, Woktastic, is now open.


I don't know exactly when it opened, but in should be this or the week before.

In front of the restaurant is this sign advatising an opening promotion offer. It promises sushi from £1 and noodles from £5.75, and 15% off for students.


I am not sure if the food should be more expensive when the offer ends, or the "promotion" is only about 15% discount for students. I don't know about sushi, but noodles FROM £5.75 is about right and should not be more expensive. Even sushi, three pieces of cucumber roll can cost £1.

I looked inside through the glass wall. It was rather dark (or maybe because it was too bright outside) and I could not see well, but definitely recognised a belt-conveyor.

Birmingham is suffering from lack of decent sushi place, and I hope Woktastic can fill the gap.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

New entry from 30th June to 6th July

I have not done much. Only one page.

Birmingham Restaurant Guide

Thai Edge

Tom Yam Soup

I went there for lunch. In food wise, the experience wasn't positive as the food in general was too sugary.

I know that many Thai restaurants in UK suffer the sugar-overdose syndrome. Do the British people really like the Thai food in this way, or is it a myth created by the Orientals who don't trust British palate? Who knows?

Today I went to Peach Garden in Chinatown. Food was ok, but no better (or worse) than in Arcadian Palace or Tung Lok. Maybe I have to try their roast dishes that many customers were ordering. Suggestions, anyone?

Saturday, 5 July 2008

ShanghaiYe Closed

As I have read and heard that ShanghaiYe Chinese restaurant in Holloway Head (near Chinese Pagoda) had been closed, I went to see what is happening.

When I went there around 4 in the afternoon, the shutter was down as I have never seen before.

ShanghaiYe with the shutter down

There was no notice explaining why it is closed, but it looks evident to me now Pad Thai has been enlarged and taken over the premises occupied by ShanghaiYe. There still is ShanghaiYe's signage at the entrance, but Pad Thai's name is on the window which used to be ShanghaiYe's.

Pad Thai

It is a shame, as ShanghaiYe was a pretty good restaurant.

I noticed also that Pad Thai has ceased to be a pure and simple Thai restaurant; it is now offering more Chinese dishes, especially Sichuan dishes. I do recognise also some dishes served at ShanghaiYe, like Emperor Rice and Classic Double Cooked Beef with lotus root.

The emphasis is, however, not on the food, but on its karaoke and disco facilities.

Although it saddens me, I understand fully why they did so. The location is too difficult for it to operate as a pure restaurant, and entertainment element is consonant with the clubs in the area.

Good luck for the new start.