Don’t let Naga’s basic, dark foyer fool you. Any food blogger who does restaurant reviews will tell you how hellish it is to take photos of food in dark conditions – most of the photos come out rubbish.
With a heavy heart I entered, mentally revising all the camera settings I’ll need to use to make the best of the situation, only to see a glimmer of light at the far end of the room. To my utter surprise the main dining area was flooded with beautiful, soft light thanks to the huge conservatory roof. The setting is a white table cloth affair, minus the cloth serviettes, and it’s definitely a step up from the average neighbourhood Chinese restaurant.
The meal wasn’t without its niggles, such as the wrappers of the Vietnamese Pork & Prawns Rolls (£6.90) being too thick, the emaciated octopus pieces used in the Crisp Chili Salt Squid (£7.50), the beef being on the chewy side and the noodles in the lobster dish that were overcooked.
That said, these problems were quickly overlooked by some of the star plates that arrived at the table. The sweet Duck & Watermelon Salad (£8.50) was practically bursting with herby leaves and exciting flavours. The best starter of the bunch was the Silken Tofu with Ginger Dressing (£5.70) which came in a neat row of white spoons. The thinly battered tofu with its velvety interior was positively addictive and a must have for anyone visiting Naga.
No one could help but be impressed by the massive plate of Canton Style Lobster Noodles (£29.90) that arrived at our table. The firm, white flesh was superbly cooked and the flavours punchy. Another show stopper was the boring sounding Garlic French Beans (£7.50) which was laced with garlic and had a nice crunch to them. Other satisfying dishes we had were Singepore Vermicelli Noodles (£9.50), Tamarind Prawns with Lemon Grass (£12.90) and Naga Black Cod (£19.50).
Whether you’re vegetarian or pescetarian, you will find something on Naga’s menu that will tingle their taste buds.
6/10: If Naga sorts out its niggles the food can easily be scored an 8.
6/10: All portions were decent. The Egg Fried Rice at £6 is a bit steep though.
7/10: Friendly and attentive.
7/10: Clean and in working order.
7/10: It was very quiet on a Saturday afternoon but I had no issue with it.
7/10: If you’re bored of the clichéd Sweet and Sour Pork, head over to Naga to savour some new modern Chinese dishes.
Check out what my dining companions thought of Naga:
Naga Restaurant & Bar
2 Abingdon Road