March 14, 2013 0

Bintang Review – Fluid London

Have you ever wanted to travel to Asia?

Me too. Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippine Islands; they’re all on my to-do list. Asia is such a long way away, though, and it’s actually possible to travel around Asia without leaving London. Pan-Asian restaurants have been bobbing on the restaurant sea for many years but it’s difficult to find one that suits what you want down to a T.

Pan-Asian restaurants tend to fall into two categories: those that take care to give the dish’s country a good name; OR the type of restaurant that forgets noodles shouldn’t be stuck together in some kind of red sauce. Bintang restaurant in Camden is in the right category.

The restaurant – on Kentish Town Road (seemingly quieter than the hipster, music filled Camden Town proper) – is small and extremely intimate (the upstairs seats about ten and is slightly cramped). It has views into the kitchen and welcomes you with low-lit warm surroundings, kitsch poster designs and jazz music.

It isn’t often I feel like a restaurant makes good music choices but Bintang certainly does. Without even reading the menu, you’ll like the place as soon as you enter.

So, where to begin this Asian journey? Well, seeing as you’re travelling all over Asia from your table, you might as well get something from the menu (on rice paper and wood, nice touch!) that you’re familiar with or try something from a part of Asia you haven’t experienced yet. You’re seriously missing out if you feel you’ve been to Asia via that below-par Friday night stir-fry you made last week or the oily store-brand prawn crackers you bought for a quid.

On our visit to Asia, Charles Mingus, the jazz trumpet extraordinaire, played in the background as the waiter recommended the hotly tipped prawn pad-thai which put to rest any worries about prawn dishes: five moderately sized prawns and not much else.

The calamari was fried so perfectly I wanted more. Prawn toast, Korean BBQ wings, chicken dumplings and Korean beef; every bite of food I took transported me to a new place in Asia. It was brilliant, vibrant and never once disappointing.

Bintang’s food made me so giddy, everything seemed beautiful. Beautifully made and lovingly presented. By time the last dish left, I was so full I had to turn down the choice of dessert. When this girl turns down dessert, you know the food is good!

Bintang makes good impressions so effortlessly, taking a simple menu boasting the best dishes from different Asian countries and making them sing. If you’ve experienced many bad Pan-Asian restaurants, or if your stubborn tongue does not want to try something new, then it’s with pure urgency in my voice that I tell you to try this restaurant. Nothing was oily, nothing was over-cooked and none of the noodles were stuck together, red sauce or otherwise.

Bintang restaurant caters to all and creates an awesome night out without the Pan-Asian pain! Bintang gives you all the things needed for a good night out and leaves you with the memory of a relaxing, enchanting and flavoursome experience. A Friday night perfectly spent, in Asia.

As the music changed to a faster modern tempo, our time in Asia/Camden came to an end. It was hard to leave when I hadn’t even been able to try the crispy duck, katsu curry, or char kew teow (Malaysian noodles served on a banana leaf).

We said goodbye to our awesome waiter and rejoined the cold London night, full of warm Asian food and memories of beautiful dishes from beautiful Asian countries.

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