Sunday, 18 August 2013

Review - Panda House's Chicken Satay on Skewer

The beauty of ordering a dish like chicken satay on the skewer is that even from takeaway restaurants who deal in processed meat, you can be sure that the meat used in your satay dish is more than likely to be cooked to order from fresh, raw chicken breast fillets.  Anyone who's ever had the misfortune of eating the aforementioned processed meat will know that this is invariably not the case when a chicken chow mein order is placed.  Satay skewers then, the safe choice for those of us who don't particularly want to pay upwards of £5 for the kind of precooked meat you'd find in the freezer aisle of your local cash and carry.  The fresh meat used in the majority of takeaways is arguably of no better standard in real terms than the processed variety but the results in terms of taste and flavour are certainly superior.

Another thing worth mentioning about satay dishes in general is that I can't understand why anyone orders them off the skewer.  Is it the nuisance of having to dispose of the sharp pointy sticks that's putting people off?  I know they end up piercing through the bin bag waiting for some unlucky sod (usually me) to get stabbed in the thigh on a random walk through the kitchen, but it seems obvious that the meat you'll find on a skewer remains much more tender and juicy than what arrives when a typical stir-fried satay dish is ordered.  Or, perhaps, I've just been unlucky and should be giving the stir-fried style satay another go.

Panda House's take on the skewered dish is, in short, very good.  The chicken pieces weaving their way through the skewers are chunky whilst remaining very soft with just a little flavour of their own.  The majority of the flavour, of course, comes from the peanut based sauce the chicken skewers are sat in and although extremely heavy on the oil, Panda House do a good job of making sure that sauce has just the right balance of heat, peanut flavour and saltiness.  Oftentimes satay sauces can taste far too strongly of peanut (or, more likely, peanut butter) and it becomes overpowering.  This isn't the case here, the sauce offering a nice depth of flavour, although with the peanut still coming through enough to make it clear that you're eating satay as opposed to a generic curry sauce.  More and more these days satay sauces seem to be becoming spicy in nature too.  I feel sure that this wasn't always the case and that it's a relatively new thing for satay dishes to be quite so hot.  It doesn't bother me personally but it does seem to irk some who don't like things too spicy.  Again, this isn't the case at Panda House, the sauce giving a slight kick but certainly falling short of being able to be described as 'hot'.

(_8^(|) My God you're greasy!
One major negative, repeated all the way through Panda House's menu, is that the portion size is poor in relation to the cost of the dish.  With all due respect to the restaurant, their pricing seems to portray a self confidence bordering on arrogance in comparison to other outlets, giving the impression that they believe people should pay more for less.  This could be forgiven if the quality of their dishes was consistently high but seems a little cheeky.  In the case of the Chicken Satay on Skewer, the disappointment comes in the form of only three skewers being included in the main course dish.  Everyone knows that a starter satay dish contains two skewers and a main course contains four.  Why only three skewers at Panda House?  They think they're better than everyone else, that's why.  That's the only logical explanation for tampering with unwritten takeaway rules that we've all lived by for years.  They're also one of those restaurants who don't include boiled rice with main course dishes (upgraded to chips, fried rice or noodles by the vast majority of us).  Instead you'll have to order your side dishes separately which again increases your spend to higher levels than you'd expect from most other Chinese takeaways.

If you're feeling flush or have just had a wee lottery win that's boosted your bank balance by a tenner, Panda House's Chicken Satay on Skewer is nice and will certainly be enjoyed.  Just remember that you won't be getting as much food as you would from most other restaurants and so you'll probably want to order something else to go with it.  If you're not a fan of processed chicken however, I wouldn't add chicken chow mein to your order from Panda House.  Just saying.

(1 point deducted for being stingy with the skewers)

Panda House are located at 655 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41.  You can order online through Just-Eat or contact the restaurant by telephone on 0141 424-3200.  They also have a website (on which they claim to use only fresh meat, something myself and several others on their Just-Eat review page who've tried their chicken chow mein would dispute).
If you'd like to review or recommend your favourite local takeaway, feel free to submit a review.
If you'd like to have a go at making chicken satay on skewer yourself, you can find a recipe in The Takeaway Secret.


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