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April 26, 2004 | by  | in Opinion |
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(Review) Monsoon Poon

“We don’t want you just sitting at a table, not ordering.” One of our party of six was still on the bus when Monsoon Poon was ready to seat us on a thrumming Wednesday night, and our seater wasn’t happy. Now, I appreciate that turnover is everything in a restaurant, but this was particularly graceless, and said amid protestations that we would order straight away regardless.

We’d been waiting for ages.

What was once a restaurant I’d unhesitatingly recommend to visitors (with a suggestion that they take me, too) had just taken a nose-dive in my esteem, and highlighted why it’s ridiculous for restaurants to charge a 15% surcharge on public holidays (as advertised at the bottom of the menu) – they don’t always deserve it.

That said, our waiter, once we were seated, was great. Not at all pushy, and happy to give us some time to peruse the menu. Monsoon Poon serves up food from all over Asia – Vietnamese Pork rubs shoulders with Thai spring rolls to please the taste buds in all manner of ways. Squid rings and the latter were the choices to start, and were polished off really quickly, despite there being only five of us. The sixth arriving, though, we ordered mains and chopsticks. We never saw the chopsticks (finding out much later that they were all out), and the mains arrived well spaced apart, to the chagrin of polite folks who like to wait until everyone is served before starting.

When they were all accounted for, however, they were delicious. My firecracker chicken was smothered in Thai red curry paste that caused a sweat, but retained its flavour without flambéing my palate. Phoenix and Dragon – a mild chicken and prawn dish – was a relieving counter. Mmmm noises were made round the rest of the table and it was agreed that perhaps the restaurant had redeemed itself after an ignominious start. Just make sure you don’t keep them waiting, eh?

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