Restaurant Review: The East, Stanborough

Lunch with Tony Chan at The East in Stanborough

WHEN I last caught up with Tony Chan over lunch in October last year at his Elstree restaurant, The East, he told me of his vague plans for further expansion. Ever a man of his word Tony has invited me once more to look over his latest venture, The East, Stanborough, which opened at the end of May.

Located in a commanding position just off the A1 on the original Great North Road, The East has transformed the interior of the previous pub.

Tony shows me to our table and is immediately curious about my impressions of the interior design. 'I used a different design company to refurbish the interior. I wanted to get a similar feel as The East, Elstree, but with a more updated feel,' he explains. Taking in the dark red walls, exposed brickwork, wooden slatted lampshades and stylish abstract prints the feel is definitely upmarket. Eastern touches are subtle.

Our first course arrives as a sharing plate of plump, stacked tempura prawns, deep-fried in a light batter and served with a soy dip. Light and crispy with the steaming, fragrant prawn inside they make an ideal foil to the bottle of crisp Pinot Grigio we share.

For our main course Tony suggests I try two popular dishes, the first is broccoli with king prawn and Chinese mushrooms and secondly crispy chilli beef. Shredded beef slices have been marinated in rice wine and herbs, deep-fried until slightly crunchy and finally tossed in sun-dried chilli sauce. The freshly cooked flavours are sensational and even the special fried rice is a feature, kept warm in a charming wooden rice barrel, which Tony had imported from Hong Kong.

Clearly only a few days after opening it is still early days but already interest is keen. 'We are close to Harpenden and St Albans is not far away. Also we are only five minutes from the new business park in Hatfield which is huge. We are offering a �5 lunch menu, where customers can choose from six freshly cooked main dishes served with fried or steamed rice. I hope customers come to try us for �5, enjoy what they eat and then come back again for a full meal.'

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As we finish our lunch with a simple but delicious waffle served with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce Tony tells me of his plans to develop an outside seating area. High StreetElstree, Borehamwood, WD6020 8953 1088

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