Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Restaurant Peking, Belgrade

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I wonder why they have four stars


Restaurant Peking (Beijing in Serbian) is the first and the oldest Chinese restaurant in Belgrade. When I was adding this Restaurant to trivago, I was surprised to find that it has 4 stars. As long as I remember (and I remember it since it was opened), the food wasn't that good, even when it was the only Chinese restaurant in Belgrade, not to mention what happened when other Chinese restaurant opened in Belgrade, beating it with quality, taste and price. OK, I thought, maybe things have changed in past 15 years - after all, I haven't been there since 1995. But I was wrong...


Few days ago, I was invited to lunch, which was a farewell to one lady leaving Serbia. I couldn't wait to see the changes that happened in Peking restaurant, since all those awards and four stars categorization made me think that the restaurant improved since I've been there many years ago, especially since nowadays Belgrade has so many good quality and fair priced Chinese restaurants, along with many other Asian food restaurants.


First impression? Now, THAT was quite an impression! Or better to say, it was quite a shock to me. Peking restaurant is located next to Knez Mihailova Street (in fact, it is behind the corner, just some 10 meters away from it), which is the busiest pedestrian zone in Belgrade, and majority of tourists pass it for at least two times. That means that all connecting and neighboring streets are also "dressed up" to be nice and attractive. Street did look nice, but the entrance to the restaurant looks like it belongs to a long-time-ago-abandoned restaurant. For a moment, I even thought that this was maybe delivery entrance and that we should find another entrance for guests - but there was no other entrance.


The interior was disappointment as well. It is not ugly looking, but all furniture, decoration and lightings haven't been changed (and when it comes to ceiling lamps, I have to add, even cleaned) for years - and I even dare to say that I think that everything is the same since they've opened the place, which was in late 70's or early 80's. That is a real pity, because I can see that the furniture is of very good quality, but heavily worn down, and one simple reparation, actually, few coats of lacquer, would make them shine again. There are also some very nice pieces of vases and porcelain statues, which are pushed away in corners, without being displayed properly as they deserve. In fact, the most obvious things, when you enter the dining hall on the first floor, are those awfully dirty and ugly plastic bouquets placed on each table. Not only that they are totally unnecessary, but those dirty things can even spoil your appetite if you look at them while eating. We had to ask waiter to remove it from our table, because the leaves were touching our food.


About the food... what can I say? Not bad, but nothing special, although they have a celebrity guest Chef from China. What was really bad is the rice! It was unacceptable, and I have to emphasize that I was there with a group of people who are Asians, which means that they eat rice every day, so they can tell the difference. When the Chef came to ask us if we have enjoyed our lunch, we simply couldn't tell him that, because it was too embarrassing. How is it possible that he does not know that? On top of that, it was completely impossible to eat that rice with chopsticks. Comparing to other Chinese restaurants in Belgrade, portions are too small and prices are too high.


Staff is friendly and polite, but sometimes it was hard to find them - they simply vanish and they're nowhere to find.


I wouldn't recommend this restaurant to anyone - there are so many other nicer restaurants in Belgrade that there is no need to come here at all. I strongly stand behind my opinion that major changes should be done in it in order to make it competitive and pleasant.

There are no photos here, because there wasn't anything nice to photograph.


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