Let me make a confession: over a few Pale Ales in the evening sun at the Brewery Bar the other night I was persuaded to try beef jerky for the first time. I know. Basically, when we found out it’s made by a bloke on Kentish Town Road, we bought a packet in the name of research. The verdict? Quite tasty; although there’s something a little unnatural about dried meat, isn’t there?
Anyway, after a few jars, we were absolutely ravenous and, the jerky not quite filling the hole, there was nothing else to do but stumble down to our old flame Bintang. Yes, the old girl used to feature so prominently in our lives, yet has now been surpassed by almost everywhere in the vicinity. (The final kiss-off? A tough old chicken knuckle curry a while back).
So its new interior was something of a shock. Jeepers, haven’t things changed! Pimped-up ‘rough luxe’ sophistication abounds: brick walls, bare bulbs, breeze blocks, flickering tea lights, eclectic oriental art. It’s only gone and done a bleedin’ Spuntinoditch on us. But there was, we admit, a niggling sense of nostalgia over the loss of the tiki hut.
And as for the food? Prices seemed higher. Our wok-fried whole sea bass in a ‘signature’ lemongrass and tamarind sauce was a whopping £14.50: it simply wasn’t zingy enough, the fish a rather bony animal (which I suspected had been frozen).
Much better was ‘nonya chicken’, tender and marinated in flavoursome spices (£8). A side of stir-fried aubergines with soy lemon and coriander was tasty but £4.50? Ouch.
However, it’s still BYO so the total bill can never be too shocking: only £35 for two – and that’s if you eat as greedily as we did.
So old flame or renewed amour? Neither; probably more like a casual bit on the side if you’re in the area. Still, choose carefully and it’s bargainous scran in cool surrounds (we just wish they’d revamped the food a bit more too). It joins Arancini Brothers as another on-trend reinvention in the lower reaches of KTR.
Words & Pics: Stephen Emms
Have you been to the revamped ‘Tang? Or, if not, what were your experiences before?