Bingtang is one of those restaurants that I can’t believe has taken so long to visit. Located in Camden next to the popular Guanabana, which again is a restaurant I have not yet reviewed despite eating there at least 4 or 5 times.
Bintang is a small and humble eatery offering up food influenced from South-East Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The venue is split over 2 floors, where no alcohol served but people are allowed to bring their own.
So, the reason I wanted to come here was because, during Ramadan 2017, I saw a post about lamb ribs which looked shamazing. The moment Ramadan was over, in fact, the day after Eid (for some who did it on Monday) I went to check out them ribs!
— Bintang Restaurant (@bintang_london) 19 June 2017
For starters, I ordered 5 Korean fried chicken wings for £5.59. I opted to go with the wings coated in sweet adobo sauce. The wings were good, but a little small in size; it’s a half wing, not a full wing. The chicken was tender and the breading had a good texture and spice. 8/10
I also ordered the Aloha cassava coming in at £6.50, which is a shrimp based dish: served with potatoes, cheese sauce, hot sauce, fried onions and coriander. If you like cheese then you’re really gonna love this dish, which had hot cheese poured over tasty garlic shrimp. 7/10
As mentioned before, I came for the lamb ribs and boy, did they deliver. These were brilliant. Unbelievably tender, they fell off the bone with minimal effort. The taste was great as well, a perfect balance of Eastern flavours fused with sweetness and heat from spices.
I would go here again, just to get this one dish. 10/10
I also ordered another main course, the beef brisket sisig, something I’ve never heard of but is a Filipino street food staple. This entailed a beef brisket diced and sauteed with chicken liver garlic ginger chillies and also served with a sous vide egg on a sizzling plate which was cooked from the heat of the sizzling hot plate and mixed into the dish by the waitress. I can’t say I was a fan of this dish as I found it a little underwhelming and a little plain and simple. The flavours were only coming from the garlic and ginger and I didn’t get much taste from the chilis; nor was I getting the full beef flavour mainly because I was tasting the chicken liver which I’m not really keen on. 5/10
I also ordered some pulled beef baos as starters, but they arrived after the mains, by which point I was full and no longer hungry. I wanted to cancel them but was told they were on the way. I did have a bite, but I didn’t really like them as the beef was small, didn’t taste that great and as was overpowered by the wasabi. 5/10
This brings me to my first issue with Bintang. The starters took around 25mins to arrive, once finished we then had to wait 45mins for the mains to show up. Service here is slow. Despite being a Tuesday, the restaurant was full, so it’s a popular place.
I don’t think the kitchen could keep up with the demand, the wait between courses and the fact that I had just left Ramadan meant my stomach was smaller and I got fuller quicker. The wait between the starters and mains was too long and I lost my hunger and ability to devour as much food as I wanted.
Issues with this place are the lack of staff. When seated downstairs, there was just one waitress looking after around 8 to 10 tables and 24 people. All together I spent over 2 hours here and it really should not have taken any longer than 1.
Despite the slowness of the kitchen, one thing I can say is that the quality of the food was on point.
When I made my reservation I was reminded that Bintang is a cash only restaurant, no problem I thought, I’ll just bring some cash with me. Of course, I forgot and when I arrived I was told the nearest cash machine is a 15 minute round trip and in the rain, it was not a great start. It’s 2017, I’ve stopped using cash, if a restaurant doesn’t want to use card payments due to “bank charges” as their primary reason, then just increase prices of some items to compensate for the extra 2.5%, in fact, not accepting card could easily turn away potential customers and revenue.
Eating here had some really good points but also had some bad points. Luckily, the good points are all based on the quality of the food in particular; and as mentioned the lamb ribs were absolutely brilliant and if you’re a real foodie the lamb ribs are a must.
However, despite the slow service, I definitely recommend the food here because the menu is vast and there are loads of different types of cuisine from the South-Asian area that you can experience.
I used a discount card and got 50% off the bill, so the total was £35.