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Dr John Hawkins

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Jokes Newington and Peking Palace

Posted on 2010/07/10 15:47:45 (July 2010).

[Sunday 4th July 2010]
My friend and former colleague Robert had a spare ticket to Jokes Newington today, and rather kindly invited me along. It was a sort of Fringe preview mini comedy festival, where a whole bunch of comedians got together to test out the material they were going to be taking to Edinburgh in a couple of months time.

I got to see Stewart Lee live for the first time, which was rather good. Other surprise hits included the wonderfully lacklustre "Two Episodes of Mash", with their low budget sequence of non-sequitur sketches.

As I was already in North London, it seemed a good opportunity to try out a vegetarian Chinese London I've been wanting to go to for a while, so I left the mini-festival after 6 and met up with Chie in Archway, to go for dinner at Peking Palace. Here's my review:

I've had a vegetarian version of crispy duck in several places now, and this one was easily the best - they had really thought about the texture. Very tasty indeed.

For our main course I chose the house special tom yam, the sizzling vegetarian "beef" in pepper sauce, and a tofu dish. The tom yam was the best of the three (and is marked on the menu as a house speciality) - a very rich and spicy, but also very fragrant and fresh tasting sauce. The lemongrass was particularly evident. The sizzling beef was very good too, a sort of richness often lacking from vegetarian dishes, again quite a piquant sauce but not overpoweringly so. I really liked the texture of the mock beef too.

Overall very tasty food, and it also gave the impression of being quite healthy - none of the dishes were particularly oily, and there were lots of fresh vegetables along with the mock meats, but none of that at the cost of flavour - it was exactly the sort of rich, flavour intense food I like, but they'd manage to achieve this without any MSG, or excessive use of oil.

Service was very good (the staff are lovely - very polite and attentive), and the price was almost embarrassingly low - a mere 32, and I left feeling absolutely stuffed. It's just a shame it's not a bit more central, or I think I'd be here every week!



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