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RED CHAMBER, Hyde Park – Still Awesome After All These Years

Red Chamber Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Red Chamber has almost legendary status as one of the finest Chinese restaurants in Johannesburg. From its early days, when it first opened in Rosebank in 1989, until it moved to Hyde Park Shopping Centre in 1997, and then moved to its current premises (remaining within the centre), Head Chef, Emma Chan has maintained her exceptional standard of quality, which keeps her patrons returning time and time again.

The service is impeccable, the menu vast, ensuring there’s something for every palate. The crispy Peking Duck is sublime! It’s served as a feast, fit for an army: the plate of duck, with separate plates of plum sauce, pancakes and finely cut cucumber and spring onion.

Red Chamber 1

We also had the crispy beef because it had been recommended to us by friends – an excellent recommendation, as it turned out! A tiny glitch in that we ordered a portion of steamed rice and a portion of noodles. A portion of fried rice arrived, which we happily started tucking into, but then the steamed rice also arrived. We reminded our waitress that we had ordered noodles and she returned the rice and brought the noodles. But then both bowls of rice AND the noodles appeared on our bill. However, when we pointed this out, it was rectified immediately with no problem at all.

4 glittery stars for The Red Chamber, if you’re looking for elegant, fine dining, Chinese style! You will be extremely well looked after.

 

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PRIMAFILA – A PRIME EXAMPLE OF HOW NOT TO RUN A RESTAURANT!

Primafila Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

***AVOID*** AVOID *** AVOID *** AVOID *** AVOID ***

Sometimes there needs to be a zero rating, especially reserved for those experiences where even a rating of 1 seems too high!! I don’t think I’ve every written such a negative review, but our experience at this establishment was so awful, that I feel the need to warn fellow restaurant-goers about it! Even if the food is of fairly decent quality, it’s completely overlooked by the atrocious service and shocking handling of the situation by management. One can’t expect staff to be adequately trained when it’s clear that the manager himself has no management skills, and no understanding whatsoever of how to handle his clientele.

We arrived and were seated quickly, received our menu’s and offered drinks, which arrived fairly quickly too. We ordered our meals – my companion ordered gnocchi and asked if some cream could be added to her napolitana sauce (i.e. an aurora sauce). The waitress assured her this wouldn’t be a problem. Gnocchi with napolitana sauce is priced on the menu at R85 as opposed to gnocchi with bolognese or 4-cheese sauce, which is R99. Our meals arrived in due course and we enjoyed them. The waitress removed our plates, and then … we seemed to become invisible. Nobody approached our table for close to 20 minutes! We weren’t offered dessert, coffee … nothing … not even our bill. It’s at times like these that I’m tempted to test the theory of walking out without paying to see if anyone actually notices!

We decided to phone the restaurant and ask for the manager, and our bill. The person who answered the phone claimed that he was the manager, and my companion told him that we’d been ignored for quite some time and please could he bring us the bill. And then we waited some more!! Yes, really!! After some more time, we saw him walking around and we called him over, and my dining partner asked if he was the person who she’d spoken to earlier. I’m not sure he understood, but he said yes. So we asked him why we were still waiting for our bill. He proceeded to then go and chat to the cluster of wait-staff hanging around the restaurant door. We waited a few more minutes and eventually our waitress materialised with our bill and a card machine, and she stood next to our table waiting for payment! Yes, she rudely stood by our table waiting, after ignoring us for so long.

Our bill included an extra charge of R10 for cream. We asked the waitress what the extra charge was for and she informed us it was for the addition of cream into the napolitana sauce. She hadn’t told us there’d be an additional charge. We called the manager who told us that the waitress was supposed to tell us about this additional cost, and she’d told him that we had said it was fine. We told him that she had told us no such thing and insisted he remove the additional charge, which he did. A new bill then arrived without the additional R10, and the gnocchi was now charged at the incorrect price at R99!! We called the manager back. My companion was now, understandably, seething!!! She explained to him that what he’d done was actually illegal as although he’d removed the additional charge, he’d now increased the price of the dish she’d ordered on the bill. He didn’t seem to understand what she was trying to explain to him, and seemed quite flustered as he realised that this whole situation was completely beyond his control. He eventually returned with yet another bill and a R100 note and said that he’d decided to just charge us R100 for the whole meal! Seeing as I’d already paid cash and received change, and my companion had already paid her share on her card, we just wanted to get out of there after this whole prolonged nightmare. So we said that would be ok, and we took the R100 and left. But the manager still seemed rather confused as he still didn’t seem to know quite what had happened.

So … be warned!!! There are establishments out there that still manage to operate with a complete lack of quality or care for the customers they serve. How they stay in business is a mystery to me, and it’s not only the unsuspecting customers who suffer but also the foolish owners who leave their restaurants in the hands of useless managers and staff. Primafila is one such restaurant. It should be avoided at all costs!!

FOODIE HEAVEN AT PAUL’S BAKERY @MELROSE ARCH –

Paul Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We waited a bit for all the hype to die down before visiting this much anticipated French Patisserie.

The restaurant is much bigger than I initially thought, and although we thought it was

Paul's 3

Lobster Pot

full when we arrived, we were taken through to the dining area in the interior of the space, which you don’t see when you’re looking in from the outside. It’s a lovely suprise! The decor is all so beautiful and tasteful and you just want to sit and take it all in – I know it’s all got that French feel to it, but to be extremely English, my reaction would be that it’s all extremely ‘genteel’! (For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, it’s a compliment, I promise!)

Paul's 1

Mushroom Ravioli

The menu is quite extensive, and not just limited to pastries. There really is something for every taste, including many vegetarian options, although some might find it slightly on the pricey side. I opted for the mushroom ravioli, and my partner had the lobster pot. The food presentation is perfect and for those who eat with their eyes, you won’t be disappointed.

Chef Tony visited our table to see if all was in order and suggested Nutella crepes for Paul's 2dessert! It was like he already knew us! He did however, recommend that one portion be shared between two of us, as the crepes are quite rich, and he was quite right. They were delicious, but half a portion was quite sufficient for one person.

We’ll definitely be back, and I can’t wait to try out the authentic French onion soup, served in a bread bowl!

Serving Up Wholesome Italian Goodness in Bedfordview

Princi Pastizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Don’t let the spacious, modern look of this Italian eatery fool you! They’re into the business of serving up serious, fabulous food! Have been here a couple of times now, and although we said we needed to come back to try out the many different appealing dishes on the menu, we had loved what we had the previous time so much that we landed up ordering the same thing again! We did, however order different starters! So far we’ve tried the Bocconcini Fritti (deep-fried baby mozzarella balls) the grilled Halloumi, and the garlic Foccacia for starters. For mains my companions have had Ravioli Di Spinaci (Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta in a Pomodoro Sauce) – tasty, although I have to say the ravioli don’t have a lot of filling in them, and I didn’t find the portion size to be very large; Linguine Al Gamberi (Prawns sauteed in olive oil, chilli and garlic, tossed in linguine and rocket) – I don’t eat shellfish so haven’t tasted it, but both times it’s looked great and my friend has been very happy with it. On both visits I’ve had the Risotto Con Funghi Porcini (Arborio rice, Porcini mushrooms, Italian tomatoes, white wine, cream and Parmesan shavings) and it’s been out of this world! For dessert we’ve tried the sorbet which was incredible, and also the good old ice cream and chocolate sauce, both of which are served in a wafer basket. On our last visit, three of us shared 2 portions, and our waitress very kindly still brought us 3 portions of the chocolate sauce! Service, as you can tell is thoughtful and efficient. The only gripe I have is that there is no input from management – who don’t seem to be hands on and no manager comes past to see if all is ok. Although it’s clear that this establishment runs extremely smoothly, it would be a nice touch. Still, I highly recommend it and we’ll definitely be back. Oh … and the huge displays of apples on their counters are absolutely gorgeous!!

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