Saturday, 8 November 2008

01. Mr Chan's

Mr Chan's
7 Cricklewood Broadway
020 8930 0994

Gourmand writes:
To expect a satisfactory dining experience at a restaurant with either of the words "Mr" or "Chan" in its name would be naïve, so the sheer horror of the Cantonese Sweet & Sour Special didn't come as a surprise. What once was chicken, shrimp and pig had been hacked up, deep-fried and mired in gloop; battered blobs of fatness sitting squalidly on the plate. The deep-fried prawns were enclosed in so much fluffed-up fat they could have been used as a pillow. The spring rolls were of a similar ilk - all leaky-oil casing, nothing inside. The beef in black bean was chewy and in an insipid sauce, while the fried beansprouts were a non-event. Salvation of sorts arrived in a throw-everything-in-the-pan fried rice (with duck and chicken) and a passable chicken and sweetcorn soup in a Styrofoam bowl.

Behind the desk where local hoodies line up for £3.20 meals, a selection of colourful Buddhas conjure up some much-needed authenticity while a seemingly random cast of people stroll in and out of the kitchen. The hiss and crackle of wok-cooking is incessant and the smell is deep-fried. We got a huge amount of food for our eight quid each, but we won't be going back in a hurry.

Gormless writes…
Mr Chan's, an unassuming takeaway restaurant, has the distinction of being the first eatery on Cricklewood Broadway and the debut subject of our review blog! True to type, this cheap Chinese sacrifices style to value. But what value! Our sixteen quid set menu for two promised six dishes but exceeded this, with drinks and prawn crackers served up unexpectedly.

Diners, remember: Mr Chan's is primarily a takeaway and this means the niceties of table service are done away with. There was no staggering of dishes; our soup, spring rolls, rice and beef were delivered all at once. In a meal of few highs, the centerpiece was a one-dish solution to all your "which meat tonight?" dilemmas. The solution being: chuck them all together. This sweet and sour prawn/pork/beef hybrid was, luckily, overshadowed by a decent corn and chicken soup and a stack of pop tart-thin spring 'rolls'. The beansprouts were quite good too but they were just beansprouts. With carrots. On a plate. Not exactly the stuff of signature dishes, should Mr Chan actually exist to put his name to it.

So, if you want lots of stodgy Chinese for not much money, visit Mr Chan's. Its strip-lit walls and green tables make it a nice enough place to sit and watch Cricklewood street life. The jolly staff and rotating cast of customer-characters provide a nice backdrop to punning sessions; should you be attempting to christen a fledgling food blog!
Mr Chan's takes the lead!


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  2. Go on Mr Chan's my son!

    Can't wait for its first feisty competitor.

  3. Next up, Abyssinia, Cricklewood's premier Ethiopian restaurant. I'm in the mood for injera so it's no wonder the bookies have made it the early favourite for the title.

  4. gormless m8 wot u doing hangin round wiv this snob geezer? u want to be out wiv me and Wazzo on saturday nite not listening to some bloke chat shit and covert yr bum in a chinky. Mr Chan's? Wot - Maccy Ds not gud enuff for you n e more? u've changed.

  5. But we will be going to Maccy Ds soon, Passing Lad. Will it beat Mr Chan's? Quite probably.