Delima Restaurant at Paddington

Had an early dinner at Delima Restaurant today, to take advantage of the London Evening Standard offer. It was a big place, in fact almost too big, as they could have cordoned areas off better to make it more cosy. It looks very new and the decor, modern and clean. Service was very friendly, despite the few occasions where it was very hard to attract their attention because of where we were sitting, which was a lovely spot by the window. Initially, the lack of music and noisy chatter contributed to zero ambience, but they started playing music by the time our meal was served.

We had beef satay and prawn fritters (?) for starters – the prawns were big and succulent, served with sweet chilli sauce. Definitely worth a try. The beef satay looked like the real deal but a bit on the small side individually, although collectively it is enough for one person. Taste wise, it’s OK, could be better – my brother used to own a satay stall in Singapore, and his satay was absolutely delicious, so I have very high standards for satay lah.

The main meal comprised ikan asam pedas and beef rendang. My partner had been desiring beef rendang for ages. The beef rendang was tasty – it’s the dry type, hence more authentic. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to taste much of it as my partner promptly ate the lot, his eyes smarting from the spices. The ikan asam pedas was pretty good too; we even had enough to take home. Quite bony, so do take care – eating with your hand helps…

To round it off, we had sago gula melaka and goreng pisang topped with ice cream, which were both lovely and enough to keep us full for the evening.

A clear, beautifully handwritten bill (what a rarity at Asian joints!)  was handed to us at the end. They had the misfortune of having all satellite /telephone signals cut off, which meant they could only accept cash, which came as a surprise. Even all the cash machines in the area were not working. We ended up paying £4 less than stated on the bill as that was all the cash we had on us.

So, all in all, Delima is a pleasant, clean, modern-looking restaurant with decent meals, and very friendly, flexible and accommodating staff.

However I’m not quite clear what kind of market they are targeting; there’s something amiss, nothing that really stood out, other than the staff, and possibly the karaoke (information on which was not readily available unless you asked, which we didn’t). Maybe they could pay more attention to how they can marry the music with the surroundings. Since they’ve got the space, maybe they could cordon off some areas to make it more cosy and aim towards a more romantic ambience. For instance, Bonda Cafe is cheap and good, with a great logo; Satay House, which is very close by, has that primo feel; Tuk Din has superb knock-out food (both times), soft, muted decor and a kind of ‘kampung’ name; Tuk Tuk is all out canteen with super quick service; not to mention Georgetown restaurant in all it’s colonial splendour… I really can babble on!  Would be interesting to see if Delima are indeed getting it right – watch this space.

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