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Rasa Sayang reviewed

Sunday, April 19th , 2009

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Rasa Sayang is a Malaysian restaurant (pictured) tucked away in London’s Chinatown. In its favour are the very fair prices (nothing over £7) and there was no shortage of Malaysian diners when we visited. However although this was pleasant enough, I found some of the cooking rather lacklustre: beef rendang was not as tender as it should be, and a vegetable curry was rather watery. I enjoyed good roti bread, and at these prices it is hard to be too critical, but I will stick to Kiasu next time I want a reminder of Malaysia.
My monthly visit to Zafferano was a somewhat mixed affair. The spring vegetable salad was all that is best about this restaurant: lovely ingredients , the leaves carefully dressed, the salad attractively presented. A tuna and rocket dish also featured particularly good rocket, but an old favourite pasta dish with crab, courgette and chilli found the chilli missing in action. I can’t help feeling that this old favourite is just drifting a little, as it has been ever since the ownership change over a year ago. Service is still excellent and there is a lot to like about the place, but it is showing signs of inconsistency that it rarely did in the past.
As noted previously, Haandi s a terrific Indian restaurant, one of the very best in London. I consistently find that the strong suit here is the set of vegetable curries: aloo gobi is as good as you could wish for, with excellent texture, channa masala with tender chickpeas, and they can even cook a decent bhindi, a skill which eludes most Indian restaurants. The paratha and bhatura breads here are particularly well made, as is the tender chicken tikka. Some other dishes can be merely pleasant, but if you choose well you will eat very well indeed at Haandi, and at a price that is very fair for the area.
It was not a week of good headlines for Gordon Ramsay, whose practice of supplying his pub restaurants with pre-prepared food from GR Logistics made it to the front page of the Sun, not usually known for its investigative journalism. This practice is far from unique to Ramsay, but what makes it a good newspaper story is his previous castigating of such practices by others. This is a problem with having such an active media profile and making bold statements: these can come back and bite you in the future, and this seems to be very much the case here. Gordon Ramsay said in the Times just a few days ago, "My food hell is any ready meal. It’s so easy to prepare a quick meal using fresh produce, such as a simple stir-fry, but people still resort to ready meals that all taste exactly the same."  Oops.
In next week’s blog I return to two of my favourite three star restaurants, and will reflect on the “Top 50” restaurants awards, the results of which are announced tomorrow.      
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@G00dKai I have been to them both, though not recently for French Laundry. They are all good restaurants so there is no poor choice there.