I had not been aware of Orchid in Newmarket Road until Nicholas of Vinopolis in Devonshire Road mentioned it to me last weekend. The menu promising “Asian fusion food” looked interesting so when I realised I had nothing in at home I decided to pay it a visit last night.
The main part of the restaurant is well lit by downlighters, square tables are set up in rows of five or so, bare polished wood with placemats. In the back there is booth style seating and the kitchen with a large window facing the main dining room and the pass facing the booths.
After a few meat-heavy days, I wanted something lighter so chose the softshell crab for starter and the sea bream for main, some plain rice and a pot of green tea from their “Premium” range.
First to arrive with my tea was a bowl of big prawn crackers and a bowl of shredded veg and beansprouts in a sweet chilli sauce which made them a little more interesting than your usual cardboard crackers.
The starter was plate piled with breaded and deep fried soft shell crab, nice and crunchy but still moist inside. There was quite a bit of chilli in the breading but not enough to kill the flavour of the crab. Delicious.
The main was two decently sized fillets of sea bream with crispy skin and moist flesh, with an excellent, almost meaty, soy based sauce and a small pile of tenderstem broccoli. I really enjoyed that as well.
I had a quick look at the dessert menu but unlike the other courses, it wasn’t really inspiring (cheesecake, treacle pudding and other British/Western style desserts, with only banana fritters being vaguely Asian but at 6.50, I passed).
Another oddness on the menu, at least for an Asian restaurant, was a surprisingly low number of vegetarian options.
In conclusion, the food was well cooked with excellent flavours but at £31 for two courses, tea and a bowl of rice a touch pricey for what it was. I think I will go back with a few friends and try their Hotpot as that looks like far better value.
A quick comment on clientele: I was first in at 6:30 and still the only diner when I left an hour later. Their food is good so I guess it’s the prices that are putting people off. While its location would be great for a quick meal before or after the cinema, I’m not sure I will be back regularly.
They also have a karaoke room upstairs so the place might get busier towards the weekend.
I apologise for the lack of photos. For once, there would have been plenty of light and I didn’t have my camera because it was a spontaneous decision. I had even left my phone at home by accident.