This is a restaurant I have been talking about visiting for literally years. Mr G had a client years ago whose office was right above the Amber Regent, after each site visit he would come back and proclaim how amazing the smells coming from the restaurant were. For some reason we had never got round to visiting, that was rectified finally last friday night when we randomly dropped in without a booking and thankfully they were able to seat us.
The Amber Regent is located right in the centre of town at the bottom of West Regent Street. The interior in all honest was slightly dated…it was perfectly pleasant but I could have easily been sitting in exactly same restaurant 10/15 years ago. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t horrible or uncomfortable, it was perfect pleasant it just wasn’t modern or particularly fresh decor. This is a pretty personal thing so don’t let that put you off if this wouldn’t bother you, it’s just pretty dated which I amn’t really into.
The staff were not particularly welcoming, I think I managed to pull a smile from the woman who brough my bill and seemed genuinely pleased when we said we enjoyed our food. Other than that the staff never made eye contact, never smiled and were brisk and efficient at best. They certainly never left me feeling warm and fuzzy.
The menu was MASSIVE and full of all the standard chinese dishes you would expect. There was a full-page just dedicated to about 40 different starters, and choosing what to pick was certainly difficult as everything that was coming out of the kitchen looked great.
To start with I decided to go with the Steamed Siu Mai (pork) Dumpling. I was advised when ordering them that they could take 15 to 20 minutes which was helpful, I still placed the order as I didn’t mind waiting. They arrived after about 15 minutes and were presented in a bamboo basket. There was six bite sized dumpling which tasted nice enough, they aren’t the best I have ever eaten but I still enjoyed them.
For my main there were literally pages and pages of dishes to pick from. I have always have a bit of a thing for duck and knew I wanted to try one of their many duck dishes, after going back and forth between the options I finally settled on the Barbecued Duck with Colourful Vegetables and a portion of boiled rice.
The dish arrived pretty quickly and was a massive portion, it was so big in fact that I managed to get 3 pretty big servings from the dish. The duck was tender and tasty, it was presented shredded with a selection of veg and served in a light flavoursome sauce. The rice was lovely – fluffy and ever so slightly sticky. This was another large portion, there was so much rice that we ended up leaving about half the portion. The dish didn’t blow my mind but it was enjoyable enough to eat.
For 2 courses for 2 people and a large bottle of mineral water we were £51.50. I would say this was a reasonable price – neither cheap nor overly expensive.
This is quite a hard one to sum up as I thought the food was nice enough but it wasn’t really anything special in comparison to some other Chinese restaurants like Opium. I get the feeling that 10 years ago this would have been an amazing restaurant when they were receiving all kinds of awards and recommendations. I think there is a danger now thought that they are perhaps resting on their previous successes. I can imagine that they have a massive loyal following of people who always go here if they are going out for Chinese food because it is where they have always gone, which I can completely understand because the food was perfectly nice.
I would say that if you are thinking about trying this place you would definitely enjoy the food, but it’s probably not someplace I would be in a hurry to visit again as there are much better more modern options in the city which are much more to my liking.