I eat at the Bali Laguna restaurant regularly and it has become my favourite Shanghai venue. So, it was with great expectations that I decided to visit its sister restaurant the Thai Garden. The restaurant is open plan, in a pleasant neo-industrial building with unpainted concrete and exposed services, it doubles as an art gallery and the pictures make for a pleasant back drop. The noise generated by the other diners is ear splitting, as the acoustics are dreadful; a little sound absorbing material in between the reinforced concrete roof members would not detract from the minimalist intentions of the designer and would make for a quieter environment, or perhaps it is intentional and the management are keen to be rid of us as soon as possible, so that they may hand our table to the next victims.
We were shown to a table on the, mercifully, non-smoking second floor and perused the menu, which looked good, although I had to use the torch on my phone, in order to see the menu, courtesy of the very subdued lighting. One of our party is vegetarian and she was pleased with the selection of suitable dishes. We ordered drinks and waited, and waited but had to order again before they arrived, the beer and Prosecco were both warm and so we had to wait for them to cool in an ice bucket before they reached a drinkable temperature. In the meantime we ordered our food and it began to arrive after a further wait but then this is a busy restaurant and one must be tolerant.
When the dishes did arrive however, they were all stone cold; the waitress took away the rice, microwaved it for a few seconds and re-presented it, still cold. We mentioned the problem to the waitress and she said that she would “warm it up”. We asked to speak to the manager; he was suitably contrite and when I asked if I should leave, or would he like to try again, he took the second option. We waited again, then pints of beer arrived on the table “compliments of the management” we were told. Now, this really is an insult, neither my female guest nor I, drink beer, we were drinking Prosecco and it does not mix with huge mugs of draught lager. The food eventually returned to the table and was mostly passable, the red curry with duck, particularly good but everything else was average and not sufficiently spicy or Thai flavoured to be anything but mediocre.
A very disappointing experience but as this establishment comes so highly recommended by other TA reviewers, I shall give it another chance and try again, who knows, perhaps my next review will prove to be excellent.
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