The Red Lantern
January 17, 2012 § 3 Comments
Yesterday evening, after a late night at the library with a friend, we headed into Harrow to find somewhere cheap, quick and open to eat.
Luck was with us when we came across the Chinese restaurant The Red Lantern in Harrow.
A different dining experience
Given the late hour (it was after 10PM on a Monday), unsurprisingly the place was completely empty.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never eaten in a restaurant where there were no other customers and the staff were closing up around you – clearing the cutlery and china away, putting chairs on tables…..
In spite of the lateness, the lovely people did let us sit down, even though closing was about 40 minutes away.
As a student, trying to find cheap, good food is a given. And thankfully, with my stomach rumbling, that was exactly what was delivered at The Red Lantern.
To tide us over before our food arrived we were given wontons. For free. Any place that gives you free food has to be a winner in my books.
I don’t often opt for a starter, but the call of chicken balls was too great to refuse. I’ve never had them before and was expecting to get a small portion.
What came out was nine, roughly golf-ball sized mounds of chicken wrapped in batter. Accompanied with a sweet and sour sauce. Heaven.
By the time I’d gotten through half of them I knew that finishing my main was going to be next to impossible – and that’s saying something as I’m someone who likes her food.
My friend, and dining companion for the evening, ordered vegetable springs rolls, a Chinese food classic. Out came eight, small (but not too small) crisp rolls – with a sweet chilli sauce that certainly had a kick to it.
For my main I went with another chicken dish: chicken with cashew nuts. It’s a meal I would often order from my ‘local’ Chinese restaurant back home in Wellington and I just couldn’t help but give into nostalgia.
To my relief, the main dish was moderately sized, but the steaming plate of boiled rice was, to my eyes, huge. The chicken was tender, with pleanty of cashew nuts, and vegetables – peppers, onions and carrots, all thinly sliced.
On the other side of the table, my friend had ordered the vegetarian noodles. I didn’t ask her how they were, but given that she was tucking into them happily without frowning or making ‘ewww’ faces, I will assume that it was as delicious as it looked.
Unsurprisingly, neither of us were able to finish off our meals. But, not wanting to waste food (or, I will admit, money) we politely asked if we could take the remaining food away in a ‘doggie bag’. We were obliged.
Now, for the part that all of you students (if you happen to be students and reading this) will want to know about – the cost.
To me, it was more than reasonable. For two starters, two mains, one bowl of plain rice and three bottles of bottled Evian water (not sure if sure tap water was an option – we didn’t ask), we paid £18.70.
The Red Lantern is open every day for lunch (12-5.30PM) and dinner (6-11PM), and is just a few minutes walk from Harrow-on-the-Hill station (Metropolitan Line).