Lai Lai

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Ray Butterworth

Aug 2, 2011, 4:42:10 PM8/2/11
It seems we're having good/bad mixed reviews now.
So here's my recent experience.

Twenty years ago I had Peking Duck at the Lai Lai restaurant
(Strange at Victoria South in Kitchener), and enjoyed it.

A few weeks ago we phoned them, made reservations,
and ordered Peking Duck (they need a day's notice to prepare it).

- When we arrived they seem confused about whether the four of us
were the Peking Duck for four people, or Peking Duck for a much
larger number of people with a reservation at a much later time.
- The waitress handed us the menus, but couldn't speak much English.
- We eventually pointed to the Peking Duck entry,
and she was confused about how to explain to us that we needed
to order it in advance. She got help from someone else who
eventually figured out that we had in fact ordered it in advance.
- Then she said we needed to order more from the menu,
which didn't fit well with my 20-year old fading memory,
especially her suggestion of soup. But we did order some rice
and a couple of other dishes.
- They showed us the duck, without much ceremony.
- The duck-skin on rice cracker things (I don't know the real name
off hand) arrived, along with some flour tortillas, a few raw
veggies, and some sauce.
- A while later the mu-shu duck arrived, at which time I remembered
that the veggies, wrappers, and sauce were supposed to go with
the mu-shu, not with the duck-skin appetizers. But by then we'd
eaten them all.
- By the time we'd figured that out, the rice and other two dishes
arrived. The rice was a fortunate choice, otherwise we'd have
had nothing to accompany the mu-shu.
- Finally the duck-soup arrived, but we were somewhat too full to
properly appreciate it. We certainly had no room to order the
dessert that under the proper order of things would have been
an appropriate way to end the meal.

Yes, some of the problem was my not having remembered the normal
sequence of courses, but I really shouldn't have had to.
The food was good, but the presentation and service were awful.
It's as if they had no experience with it, but they've actually
been doing it for decades.

Did we enjoy it? Yes, but not nearly as much as we should have.
Would we go again? Yes, but only if we still remember how it works.

Anyone else care to review this restaurant?

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