Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bamboozeled - a chinese in Lewisham

Bamboo Garden

124 Burnt Ash Road, Lee, London, SE12 8PU
020 8318 6688

Whilst housesitting for our Lewisham based friends, the Veggie and I found ourselves with rumbling stomachs and a joint feeling of laziness. What to do? Although our friends were rapidly gaining enough pizza and fried chicken menus to paper their dining room with, we had our sights set on a marginally healthier chinese.

I mustered up the energy to dial a random takeaway from the Yellow Pages. As we only had around 11 quid on us and were simply beset with too much "holiday" drowsiness to seek out a cash point (it turns out there was one about 2 mins away), my first question was: Do you take cards? No they did not. Cash or cheque only, madam. After receiving the same answer from 3 other establishments we decided to trim our order down. I called 'Bamboo Garden'. No they didn't take cards but as I explored, yet again, what they had versus what we fancied I knew it would be this one or marmite toast for two. In the end, with salt and pepper ribs, chicken and cashew nuts, stir-fried veg, egg fried rice and veg spring rolls selected, the grand total was 11.60p. Result.

About half an hour later our order was delivered. Everything seemed in order until I got to the Veggie's stir-fried dish. There were what looked suspiciously like cashew nuts lurking under the see-through lid. I opened it. Yep, definitely quite a few of the little brown suckers. I can only imagine that they misheard me and thought I had wanted the veg dish with nuts instead of the veg dish and chicken and cashew nuts. Anyway, as it was the food we did have was more than enough.

My salt and pepper ribs were as good as I have ever had. The spring onion, garlic and chili added a pleasant kick and while the ribs weren't in the crunchy batter you sometimes get in this dish, they were tasty and reasonably sized. Add some decent egg fried rice and golden crisp spring rolls and you have a good value, nicely balanced meal (not in the 5 a day way of course!).

The Veggie enjoyed her stir-fry even though she isn't a fan of nuts. We also received some free prawn crackers which were perfectly fine, aside from the rather weird colours they came in (green and red!).

Over the course of our stay we ending up ordering from 'Bamboo Garden' again. Mistake. We had the benefit of a menu the second time around, but it just wasn't as nice. I went for dry ribs as I had a mad meat craving. Dry ribs are dry ribs, but they were good and quite meaty; I polished them off no trouble. The rice was also nice; we went for a onion fried version which added a nice crunch to the dish. Sadly, the Veggie's soup and main were below average as was my main course.

She had ordered a thai hot and sour veg soup, and as she ate most of it I was surprised when she said it had been pretty poor (she does love her soup that one). Apparently it had too much of a chemical chilli tang and had some of the traits of dishwater. Oh well, perhaps 'Bamboo Garden' was overstretching itself. Its menu boasts several different specialities ranging from thai to chinese to regional dishes, plus chips and curry sauce.
Her thai red curry main was 'too potatoey, without enough coconut milk.' I made an error when ordering my main which I never seem to learn from: Be very wary when ordering duck from a chinese, crispy duck is mostly fine but you can be severely disappointed with any other kind. Mine was the latter. I had Ginger, garlic and onion duck. Where to start... the duck was pale and flabby and sparse. The dish had overly large pieces of ginger and consisted of tons of onions in a watery sauce. Bad times. At least we had those colourful prawn crackers and 2 free fortune cookies to console ourselves with.

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