Archive for April 13th, 2008

Angeles szechuan restaurant interior, Kilburn, London

I’ve walked by Angeles dozens of times when visiting friends in Kilburn. Angeles’s dingy-looking all-you-can-eat buffet has always depressed me. But it turns out the buffet is only half of Angeles, and the *other* half of the restaurant serves good, cheap, spicy Szechuan. Lucky that my friend Jane tipped me off about Angeles’s better half, and now I’ve been there twice in the past month and look forward to more trips there.

dry fried beans at Angeles Szechuan

The resto’s Szechuan dry fried beans are a winner – spicy with bright chilies and salty with fermented veggies. A huge bowl of crunchy goodness for £6.50. Dan dan noodles were also very good. Al dente noodles and a little gai lan for crunch and color. Simple and delicious . . . and £3.50 a bowl.

hot pot ingredients at Angeles szechuan

Angeles also offers all-you-can-eat hotpot for £20 per person (the entire table has to order the hot pot). Huge, fresh prawns, fish balls, fish fillets, pak choi, crab sticks, enoki mushrooms, pork slices, beef, lamb – all good quality and in never-ending quantities. The one time I’ve had the hot pot, the restaurant divided our pot of boiling broth into “spicy” and “regular,” and next time, I’ll get just the “regular” because it’s spicy enough for me. The “spicy” broth set my mouth on fire for hours afterward.

mapo tofu at Angeles szechuan, Kilburn

My one disappointment at Angeles so far has been the mapo tofu. I was looking forward to the dish’s spicy-salty-meaty tofu slinkiness, but instead the sauce was just salty. Very little spice. Mostly oily. It arrived at my table about two seconds after I ordered it, which makes me think that it came from the all-you-can-eat buffet next door. At £7.50, the mapo tofu is one to avoid.

Service and decor are good enough.  Angeles is all about the good-value food.

Angeles Restaurant, 405 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7QE, 0207 625 2663.  60-second walk from Kilburn tube station.

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toasted rice salad at Lao Lane Xang 2, Paris

Finding a good restaurant open on Sunday night in Paris is tough (certainly as a visitor, anyway). Finding a good restaurant open on Easter Sunday night – well, that’s the sort of epic challenge I enjoy. Cue Lao Lane Xang 2, a Laotian/Thai/Vietnamese resto in Paris’s Chinatown. It’s open on Sundays and came highly recommended by John Talbott and David Lebovitz.

Lao Lane Xang stands out from the dozens of other mostly Vietnamese restaurants in the neighborhood because its decor is relatively upscale, and it’s big, taking up two floors of a wide space. (more…)

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