Generous dishes that more than satisfied appetite
It's always a gamble taking up a recommendation for a restaurant from a friend.
Perhaps their idea of heaven will be your nightmare - and you have to put on an Oscar winning performance or rick hurting their feelings when they ask how you got on. So it was with some trepidation that I went to Tin Tin's on such a referral. The nondescript exterior didn't look too promising. Thankfully, inside was a different story. The pastel walls, dotted with Chinese prints and pictures, combined with softly - playing music set a relaxing backdrop. First sight of the menu left us a bit daunted. There were so many dishes it would have taken about half-an-hour to read properly but, fortunately my companion and I don't eat meat, so that ruled a few pages out.
The choice was superb - even for non-meat eaters and backed up by Tin Tin's claims to specialise in exquisite seafood, Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine.
We were both hungry so it was a relief that the piping mixed seafood soup (£3.50) we ordered arrived swiftly and proved most acceptable.
For the main course we shared fried fish with oyster sauce (£6.50), fired king prawns with green peppers in black bean sauce (£6.50), plain noodles (£2.80), boiled rice (£2), fried bean curd with ginger and spring onions (£4) and fried aubergine with spicy sauce (Szechuan style).
Although it seemed a fairly large meal, we weren't prepared for the way the selection of dishes dwarfed the table. But it wasn't just quantity - every dish was delicious, although the cooked to perfection aubergine deserves a special mention.
The service was just right, and the meal was complimented perfectly by a bottle of Macon Villages (£11).
We had no room for dessert, but rounded off with a pot of Chinese tea (£2.20).
Recommend Tin Tin's without fear. Your friends will love it.
by Mary Williams
Finding Good Food at Tin Tin is no Detective Story
No Tin Tin restaurant is not a shrine to the Belgian boy detective with Snowy the dog in tow, both immortalised in all those heroic dastardly stories favoured by all ages.
It is a Chinese restaurand on The Hard in Portsmouth close enough to the water to satisfy any Captain Haddock.
Thanks to its vivid purple exterior, the restaurant is easy to spot and inside red and gold lanterns and firecrackers from the recently celebrated Chinese new year, decorate the comfortable room.
Should a private eye wish to meet here, perfect seclusion can be had if a high backed chair is chosen. For a more authentic Chinese seat, sit instead at one of the high backed red stained carved chairs around large round tableclothed tables.
The Peking, Szechaun and Cantonese menu is a large tome of the usual suspects - sweet and sour dishes, Peking duck, sweetcorn soup, spare ribs, dim sum, noodles, rice et al. Or at lunch time, a very good value
three course menu for around a fiver can be had.
I chose duck with ginger, spring onion (£6) and egg fried rice (£2.50) and a vile of warm sake (£4.80) instead of wine, beer or other drinks from an equally extensive beverages list.
Rice wine is a must in my book with Chinese or Japanese food, its subtle warmth a real treat. It is totally different from its western counterpart.
Within seconds of ordering, a dish winged its way from the kitchen behind the bar. Was there a microphone under the table? The amiable, helpful waiter had barely a chance to walk through the swing door with a slip of paper.
The blue and white oval plate bwimmed with good chunks of duck, the skin mercifully left on for added succulence, with ribbons of carrot, spring onion and chunks of ginger, green pepper and onion all bound in sauce.
Rice flecked with egg came in a fine bowl and was expertly cooked, as befitting a Chinese restaurant. The duck was tender, the vegetables added a good crunch to the dish.
Very satisfying - as were the pineapple fritters (£2.50), again delivered with speed from the kitchen, deep fried in good oil. The light agreeable batter had lashing of golden syrup - a western addition if ever there was one. Chinese tea came in a small, white china pot and was the perfect end to the meal.
A large print dominates one wall of Tin Tin - a cluster of exotically costumed men and women surrounding a man with a banner, Chinese lettering cascading down it and on one side of the print. According to the waiter these are pantomime characters with eternal life. I swear I saw a white dog peeking out from behind one of the billowing costumes but it could just have been the light. My bill came to £17
by Carol Godsmark