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MY  Phuong by Tate
43 Rue du Port / 8 Rue Kleber, Fontenay le Comte.
Tel. 02 51 00 49 18

Sud Vendee.. Haut Bocage.. Coastal Region.. Marais Poitevin.. Marais Breton.. Bas Bocage.. Plaine.. Marais Olonne..
My Phoung - Chinese Restaurant Fontenay Le Comte

Before I launch into reviewing this restaurant I must first let you into a little secret. In England I have a Chinese Take-Away at the end of my drive, and the former owner Tak Yan Tse and I became good friends. Tak Yan (AKA Gordon) is a brilliant cook, in fact heís the best Chinese cook for my taste that Iíve ever encountered. His food is full of strong flavours and he is not afraid to turn up the heat. He also doesnít cook the sweet, bland, Chinese food that is the norm in so many Chinese restaurants designed to cater for the tastes of the English masses. He in fact taught me to cook Chinese food, and to this day other than Gordon, I have not found a restaurant whose food I enjoy as much as the food that I cook for myself. I have eaten with Gordon at the restaurant of his wifeís family in Plymouth on Chinese New Year and I must confess that the authentic Chinese food that they ate was also not entirely to my palate either, I wasnít keen on jellied fish balls and chickens feet etc. which they adore, and I love fried rice which they rarely eat. So having qualified my position on Chinese food here is my review for what it may be worth.

We arrived well before the sun went down and decided to sit outside, the waiter a very pleasant and well spoken young man suggested that as this was our first time at the restaurant we should try the buffet. Clearly the buffet was the best value for money, but I hate them as I have to rely on other people to choose and to fetch and carry for me. Nonetheless in the spirit of seeking out value for money and in the interests of our patrons, we decided buffet it was. We had a bottle of Cote de Rhone, I knew I wouldnít drink it all and said as much to the waiter, who said he would leave the cork and that I could take what remained home. The wine was reasonable, I like Cote de Rhone and at 12 euros it was not too expensive for a restaurant. Trevor tried at first to photograph the available food, but the dark interior coupled with the display on the digital camera, made it impossible to discern what I was looking at, so I had to trust him to choose. Good old boy that he is, Trevor started the fetching and carrying, starting with  prawns in batter, spring rolls, a mussel and various other things. The batter was surprisingly crispy and the taste, if not exceptional was good, good enough that I sent Trevor back for another prawn and another spring roll. There was a young grill chef outside and the buffet included any meat that you liked grilled by him, Trevor and I both had beef, which I thought lacked a bit in taste.

Next we had some main courses. First Trevor brought chicken in a nondescript sauce with frogsí legs in batter and noodles. He then got Beef in another nondescript sauce with egg and pea fried rice. In all honesty I thought that the noodles were a bit rubbery and I donít mean the Chinese rubbery as in rubbery felali (lovely Ferrari), the frogsí legs, chicken and beef were all cooked alright but lacked any great taste, and the sauces were bland, though in their favour not glutinous. The rice had a good enough taste for rice but was if anything a bit starchy for me, I like my rice with the grains separate. With each visit inside came new plates and the used plates piled up on the side of the table, some people might think that the growing stack was like a tribute, a testament to oneís ability to eat more copiously than the next table, whereas others might see the plates as a serious reminder of the level of gluttony that one has attained, I personally preferred not to look at them. We finished with lychee and chocolate ice cream, this was an error of choice, the chocolate ice cream and the lychee syrup were not a good mix, as one seemed to dilute the other, Iím sure that had we eaten them separately we would have enjoyed them much more.

We drank our coffee and when Trevor went in to pay he met his friend and fixer Christophe, he came out with his brother in law to say hello to me followed by his sister and niece. They were eating inside the restaurant and were just going to start their sweet and wanted us to join them for coffee. They seemed to have been enjoying something a little stronger than the soft drinks machine and we knew that coffee would probably only have been a precursor to something else, so we politely declined and made our merry way home.

In conclusion I must say that I think that this is a great place to go for something completely different and does represent fantastic value for money, the bill for the two of us came to 42 euros, the wine cost 12 euros of that and we had coffee which wasnít included, so although we never saw the price it had to be less than 15 euros per head. There was a soft drinks machine inside from which one could help oneself at no extra cost, one could eat as much as one liked, and the choice was without doubt profuse. The staff were attentive but of course they didnít have too much to do as they were only taking the orders, serving wine and clearing the tables when the diners had finished. Not having seen the inside of the restaurant I canít comment upon it, we ate outside on the pavement which I loved, but then thatís not everyoneís cup of lap sang su shong.

Tate - 2009

About the author: Tate spends the summers in the Vendee and is passionate about good wine and good food,he writes exclusively for the
The coping of this article is permitted as long as the complete article along with these credits are published.

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