Here and There Here: Restaurant (Zhangmutou)

0617_rest reviewRecently, while waiting for a train in Zhangmutou, stranded and starving, I managed to sniff out a little piece of what I consider normal dining within walking distance of the station. By no means the Ritz, the Jin Hang hotel, adjacent to KFC, had a fairly decent little Western restaurant tucked away at the back of its lobby.

Here Restaurant (no relation) is your typical effort at what Chinese deem a Western restaurant should entail, with the generic décor with LED lights strewn about being all too familiar. It was initially the buffet meal deal that caught my eye and at 78 RMB, I was down to give it a go. Unfortunately for me, this did not commence until the evening and I was forced to settle for the lunch menu, which in turn was considerably pricier.

Lately, I had been clued into the mobile application Mei Tuan, which allows potential diners to get discount set menus for many restaurants via the scanning of a QR code. If, like me, you try to be a bit frugal sometimes, this is an absolute must when eating out. It’s a bit tricky to navigate the app if you can’t read Chinese, but if you happen to be accompanied by a native speaker, it’s pretty simple. After setting it up then and there, I roughly calculated that my potential bill was halved.

The bargain deal was 118 RMB for two salads, two soups, two drinks and two mains from a choice of three on their original menu. Apart from the mains, everything else was a bit of a let-down. The first salad was simply lettuce drizzled in some attempt at thousand island dressing and the second was diced apple doused in weird sweet mayonnaise that has no place on fruit, in my opinion. The soups were a mere choice of Western-style corn soup and Lotus root Chinese soup. Both of which I’m not fond of and tasted completely bland to boot.

The main course was the saving grace. I opted for the sirloin and my partner had the ribeye, which were both cooked well and in sizable portions. Overall, I did not feel too disheartened, due to the knowledge I had gotten more bang for my buck.

I later noticed there was also an optional single meal deal for 58 RMB. Complaints aside, if you’re stuck in Zhangmutou, eating here will certainly offer you a better experience than sitting in a dreary, run-of–the–mill fast food outlet staring at junk food.

1/F, Jinhang Hotel, No.1, Guangchang Rd., Zhangmutou Town