Ph : 0207 281 8989
Scores out of 5: Veggie friendly : 5/5; Vegan-options available: Yes; Value for money: 4/5, Quality of cooking : 3.25/5; Ambience : 3.5/5; Service: 4/5 ;Atmosphere: 3/5
Peking Palace is a 100% vegetarian restaurant set on the busy Holloway Road and a few strides away from Archway tube station. As the name suggests, the restaurant (although owned by a Vietnamese couple) serves Chinese food.
In an evident contrast to most of the cheap, Chinese vegetarian buffet places that one finds in central London, Peking Palace has more of a proper sit-down restaurant feel with a more up-market, nicely spaced seating rather than a cram-as-many-seats-as-you-can approach. The restaurant is both veggie and vegan friendly.
We walked in just before their 3 p.m. lunch closing time on a Tuesday, but were pleasantly welcomed and seated quickly. At £5.50, the all-you-can-eat buffet sounded like a steal. So we enthusiastically piled our plates high. There were 8-10 vegetable dishes to choose from. On the day we visited this included a mock beef in black bean sauce, a mock-chicken curry, mock-meat in sweet-and-sour sauce,aubergine stir-fry, green beans in an onion and yellow bean sauce, 3 types of rice and the ubiquitous stir-fried noodles.
I tried the special fried rice with the green beans and a bit of the aubergine stir-fry. The rice was simple and well cooked and the green beans were spiced perfectly, if a bit oily. I must admit I just couldn't stop myself forking in mouthful-after-mouthful of those two. The aubergine stir fry was mellow with nice, un-oily and well-cooked pieces of aubergine. The mock-beef in black bean sauce was a bit mild for me yet fairly more-ish and quite nice texture wise.
The buffet also included some steamed greens and broccoli, (which were just passable given that the cabbage-y leaf was a bit stringy) and sides such as a potato omelette and crispy seaweed, which I unfortunately forgot to put onto my plate and only noticed when I'd finished my meal.
Noodles were fresh, and went well with the sauces, but wouldn't really be great if eaten by themselves. I picked at a piece of the mock-chicken in curry sauce on the boyfriend's plate. He liked it quite a bit, but I disliked the flavours intensely - it tasted very much of packet curry sauce and as a true-blue Indian, I hate anything that messes with "proper Indian food". (Yes, I'm fussy!!!)
Our drinks , a fresh apple and orange juice and a pre-packed passion fruit and mango juice were chilled, really refreshing and very reasonable at £2.10 and £2.70 respectively.
Service was efficient throughout and although we didn't really use the table service extensively, we did notice the owner and her assistant regularly topping up the buffet's serving dishes.
The quality of cooking at Peking Palace is quite a few notches above the oily, dried-out fare that one tends to find in other buffet joints. In total, a meal for two with 3 soft drinks added up to £17. So its definitely good value-for-money. The restaurant also offers takeaway and a-la-carte menus on which the mock-meat dishes in Peking Palace's spring onion and ginger sauce and the dim-sum are particularly recommended by those-in-the-know.
The final verdict - Peking Palace is a reasonably priced place, with decent quality food and is well-worth the perils of journeying to Archway on the Northern Line for a veggie Chinese-food-fix!
669, Holloway Road, N19 5SE