Last night on a whim we decided to head down to Star City to see The World’s End at the cinema (not very good…don’t go and see it!) and grab a quick bite to eat before hand.
For those that don’t know Birmingham, Star City is a huge entertainment complex with a cinema, lots of restaurants, mini golf, laser quest, an arcade and a casino. We haven’t been to many places to eat down there but they are mostly all family friendly chains including Nando’s, a Harvester, an Indian and an American diner, Tinseltown ( I am little curious about their milkshakes – they have a list of about 60 flavours!) Despite this, we had been to Oodles N’oodles a few times, but not for over a year.
It bills itself as a casual Pan Asian dining experience and the few times we had been there we enjoyed it. Now I’ve never been to anywhere in Asia, so I certainly can’t really comment on the authenticity of Asian food, but I know what I like and it seemed good to me the few times we had been before.
Unfortunately, this time we were immediately struck by quite a huge difference when we sat down – the menu had changed. Strangely it now had a whole new section, so as well as serving lots of Pan Asian dishes there were also random things such as Shepherds Pie, Chicken Wings, and about 20 other ‘non asian’ dishes. It was all very weird. The only reason we could think of as they were expanding to try and cater for the tastes of everyone in order to attract more custom. This theory was compounded when they bought a little tray of dipping pots to the table. This used to consist of a some soy sauce, a fab chilli sauce and some tiny pickled green chilli slices. it now had the addition of a pot of ketchup. Kind of ruined the appeal.
My salad was actually really great, matchsticks of mango, carrot, papaya, red onion, chilli and heaps of corainder as well as juicy prawns and chicken. Lee also enjoyed his, chicken wrapped in noodles and fried, served with a really tasty chilli sauce. A pretty large portion for a starter though!
For mains we ordered a couple of things to share: A Beef in Oyster Sauce
and a Sechuan Pepper Chicken, along with an egg fried rice and a Malaysian Paratha. A paratha for those who don’t know is a type of flatbread made with Ghee. The mains were nice without being special. The chicken a little over cooked but the sauce was tasty – very spicy with huge chunks of fresh green chilli.
I do like that they don’t try and batter all their meats which you find in some Pan Asian places. The beef had a nice flavour but was a little dry. The paratha we found a little heavy and undercooked.
Overall, I was disappointed. Not necessarily in the food as much as in the whole experience. I dislike the fact that they are trying to change, as for me they were definitely better a year ago, but there were still some great flavours, my starter being the standout of the meal. On the plus side, its cheap ( £37 for all of the above as well as 2 soft drinks each) and its quick, so great to pop in before the cinema of an evening. However its not a destination place, I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there and I don’t think they are going to generate more than a passing trade.
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own