In Shunde, there are few places you can go to get “Western” food. Previously living in a city with a wide array of foreign cuisine, being a foreigner, and having a boyfriend who can cook delicious entrees, my standards are a correctly high level so that I no longer put overpriced and under-quality cuisine in my mouth. However, there are times where I make this mistake out of the pure will to “try something new.”
So: Bowtie Kitchen. Upon approaching the restaurant, there are large windows exposing you to the entire span of the dinning room. It is lit with several different lighting fixture, and it’s quite obvious they enjoy their “bow tie” them from the large mural near the entrance. Bowties everywhere.
We were not greeted at the door, which is quite typical of Chinese restaurants, and yet somehow when a restaurant decides to serve dishes from other parts of the world in this town, they think the service doesn’t need to follow. Anyway, we chose a place to sit and a waitress hastily came over to pour us some water.
We looked at the long menu with its assortment of pastas, meats, soups, and so on, and my boyfriend and I decided on a few things. As it was my choice to come here, I decided to give the restaurant a sporting chance and ordered a couple of things: a “bowl” of Tomato Soup for an appetiser and Basil and Prawn Pasta as an entree.
After our order was awkwardly taken by the waitress, we took some time to observe the surroundings. The things like place settings and the colour scheme of the restaurant are okay, but much of the decor did not match and was very ugly. They were the spirits of celebrating the upcoming holiday of Halloween though, so I suppose that’s something.
When the Tomato Soup arrived it was, to my surprise, hot. However, there was a confusing combination of both croutons and bread. So much bread like things for one small thing of soup. Otherwise, presentation is clean but upon consumption it left me disappointed. The bread, which was supposedly Garlic Bread, lacked garlic flavour completely. There was no evidence of garlic even being on that bread ever. Furthermore, the main flavour element of the soup was not apparent. It was quite obvious milk and/or cream was used to make the creamy consistency of the soup, but where the tomatoes came in were maybe just for the colouring. I am not sure.
After eating the soup (because that was an expensive soup, like hell I’m not gonna eat it), came my long-awaited entree. Again, the presentation of the pasta seemed okay and it seemed to smell pretty good. However, again the flavours were barely prominent in the meal. The strongest flavour was the oil they used to cook it in. I needed to add both salt and pepper to get something out of the meal. Where, oh where did my beloved basil go? Cooking method is also something that needs to be improved: it was quite obvious the pasta was not cooked into the sauce at all, which would have greatly improved the combination of the flavours. I am not actually sure if the cooks actually taste what they are making or have ever tasted it, because it was not something I would have served had I known what was lacking.
The icing on the cake was the coffee I ordered after my meal though. Rather, the variety of coffees I tried to order. For some reason Bowtie Kitchen has a very proud corner dedicated to their coffee, so I figured I should see what all the hub-ub was about. The first thing I attempted to order was an Irish Coffee. As anyone knows, Irish Coffee is an actual drink. Coffee and Jameson. I have seen it as Coffee and Bailey’s, but for the most part this is a well known drink. However, according to Bowtie Kitchen, coffee and cream, just cream, is an Irish coffee. Baffled by the description, I moved on to my next choice: a Cappuccino Brulé.
This drink, to my amusement and disappointment, is not actually a cappuccino…
I don’t even know what to say about that.
So, I decided on a basic cappuccino, and it was so-so. Nothing special.
At the end of the night my wallet had a sizeable dent from the overpriced everything, and I swore to myself never to return to such a confusing, disappointing, and quite obviously not Western restaurant again.