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“Recently Refurbished” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Oriental

The Oriental
The Mailbox, 128-130 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RG, England (Ladywood)
01216339988
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Ranked #634 of 1,608 Restaurants in Birmingham
Price range: $25 - $25
Cuisines: Chinese, Malaysian, Thai
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Ladywood
Walsall
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Recently Refurbished”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Visited the restaurant on a Saturday afternoon in late September with my wife and found that the restaurant had been refurbished since our last visit about a year ago.The bar area seems to have been extended and there were a few people in the bar area. We chose a set meal for two at approx £21 per person.The food was pretty good but not outstanding for the price and although the quantity was enough, it was not as plentiful as I might have expected.The staff were courteous but I felt that the service could have been better, we were not for example offered serviettes / napkins with our meal and the table was barely large enough for the food.

A reasonable meal but the restaurant faces stiff competition from other establishments in the Mailbox and nearby.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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189 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
midlands
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
148 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 91 cities Reviews in 91 cities
134 helpful votes 134 helpful votes
“cold place, and overbearing music !!!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

went here in a big group for sunday lunch. there were 9 of us and it was approaching 1pm. i had been before some years ago and remembered it as being good, hence the return visit. we were greeted on arrival, she asked us if we had booked ! there wasnt a soul in the place, but i said not so she scurried around and made a table ready for us right in the corner by the kitchen doors.
the menu is very impressive - £7.95 for mains, and £9.95 for starter and mains. the a la carte looked a bit pricey....so we all ordered the set menu.
the food was very good - most of us had king prawn tempura....nice and dry and crispy, and good sized prawns although i thought the soy sauce was a bit sour and i would have preferred the sweet chilli sauce that accompanied the spring roll starter.
then most has chicken mossaman.....which i thought was quite sweet. i had pad thai which again was quite sweet but otherwise non descript not having any particular flavour...and lacking the lovely thai fish sauce flavour that you would expect in bangkok.
so the food was good, although the portion sizes were very small......
and with some sparkling water and a few beers it came to £112 for 9, which is very good value.
but the service !....very unfriendly, cold, and clinical....we had been sat down for a good 10 minutes, and were the only people in the restaurant when she came to take our order - but she never took a drinks order upon arrival.
they didnt serve from the left and take from the right...just leaned across wherever to serve and take....and after we had finished our mains, she cleared the table completely, directing us to pick up our glasses and bottles so she could remove the cloth - which wasnt dirty - to reveal another cloth beneath. but it was like being back at school while she took off the cloth! for what purpose ???
and the music - a little oriental music is quite atmospheric, but we seemed to be under the speaker in the corner of the room, and it was way too loud and unrelenting....
and as we left , at around 2 30 so we had been in there an hour and a half, ....there were about 4 other tables occupied. so even though she clearly wasnt busy, she couldnt sit us at the front of the restaurnat with a good view of the canal basin
finally....it was cold ! quite a cool day, but the room was cold - no apparent heating, and with nobody else in there, it just didnt seem to get warm and comfy.
so all in all, ...good food, small portions, but good value, poor service, intrusive music, and frosty atmosphere. ive been twice, but propably wont return. there are a lot of chains in the same development - cafe rouge, millar and carter, zizzis, etc, and next time ill go somewhere else.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Birmingham, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012

We have been on several occasions and thought this was a good place. Tonight, things were dreadful. Service was really bad, some staff seemed to be doing next to nothing except get in the way. We were eventually shown to our prebooked table: this was smack in the way of the door to the kitchen so we were constantly jostled by staff. The table was practically in the dark. This was disconcerting as there were some empty tables. Requests needed at least three repetitions, the last time usually joined in with by people from adjacent tables. Near us a Birthday group had to ask many times for the cake, but 20 minutes earlier there were two staff pouring water that wasn't being asked for. To top it off, the "optional" service charge was included in the bill, on previous occasions we have happily added service to the bill, but on this occasion a totally unmerited charge was added. We protested and were given the excuse that they were busy. From reviews here this is a regular Saturday problem! The food was as good as ever, but little things like the crackers were grudgingly provided. Watch out! Over the bridge is an excellent Thai restaurant that was twice as good. I know which one I would go to again!

  • Visited October 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Birmingham
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Awful food. Shabby service.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012

Visited after the refurbishment. The decor might have been uplifted but the service and the food was awful.
Cocktails ordered before the food didn't come for nearly half an hour. We had to chase our waitress for them. When they did arrive the cocktails were delicious.
The starters were over cooked and dry. My husband had a prawn tempura, which wasn't in tempura batter and was served with soy sauce (does the chef not know Japanese food at all?!).
The mains came out and the flambe red snapper was so dry that the fish resembled chicken in texture and had no flavour. The sauce was overly sweet and no vegetables in sight.
My husband had ordered a Chef Special of cantonese style roast pork belly on a bed of choi sum. What arrived was a cold plate of belly (no pork attached), not in anyway resembling cantonese style pork belly and was on a bed of pak choi. We sent it back and it returned to us in about a minute (obviously heated in the microwave for a bit then sent back to us), but it was barely warm and still was inedible.
We complained and refused to pay for the main meals. The manager agreed and apologised. Then we were left waiting for the bill. And waiting. To the point my husband had to walk to the bar and collar someone to give us the bill to pay. Yet after chasing for the bill, and complaining that the food was poor, the waiting staff still added service charge to the bill! The cheek.
Certainly won't be returning and won't be recommending this restaurant.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
“OK food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2012 via mobile

Not a bad place to go for Asian food, reasonable selection from Chinese to Thai, couldn't fault the quality but it just lacked the edge.

If I wanted Thai I would go to the Bartons, Chinese, probably Chung Ying in China Town, and a curry, down the Balti Triangle.

But for the middle of town and if you like your run of the mill food then you should be ok, it's not just for me

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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