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A mixed experience over at the Rainbow; RAINBOW 59 HIGH STREET, KINGS HEATH B14 7BH. 0121 444 4195. RestaurantSpy.

Byline: Paul Fulford

ONE of the gravest embarrassments of a restaurant reviewer's life is to be urged to visit someone's favourite place only to discover that it isn't very good.

So let's be kind about the Rainbow, a long-established Cantonese in a row of shops that stands back from Kings Heath High Street.

It was mediocre. But perhaps I'm being unfair. Some dishes were OK, two dishes were quite good and only two were downright unpleasant.

First let's celebrate the good things - namely some meaty, tender pork ribs in a sticky sauce that balanced the sweet and the spicy with deftness.

Pork yuk sung - shredded meat cooked to crispness and served with lettuce leaves in which the it is wrapped - was a perfectly acceptable rendition of an old favourite, despite a little residual oiliness on the pork. Deep-fried dumplings were really quite pleasant - cooked perfectly and flavoursome.

But the main courses that I shared with my wife Lynn and our son Murray were mixed in quality.

However, once more let's start with the positive.

A mixed vegetable dish with cashew nuts was very good indeed - a combination of contrasting flavours and textures that had our chopsticks flying in.

Oh that the same could be said of the other two dishes we ordered.

A duck and orange sauce dish chosen by my wife was truly unpleasant. Quite what the hapless creature had done to anger the chef is hard to imagine, but the offence must have been grave.

The skin of the duck was blistered in the way that our flesh might blister were we dunked head-first into a nuclear reactor.

The meat below the skin was grey and overcooked so that it had an almost liverish texture.

The orange sauce was cloying stuff.

The third dish - strips of steak served with pickled vegetables - was another disappointment.

The beef was, again, overcooked and tough.

There seemed to my palate to be no discernible tang from the pickled veg. We shared a couple of portions of noodles.

Guilt is now creeping in as I conclude this review.

Service throughout was friendly and efficient so to criticise the Rainbow is a little like kicking a well-meaning puppy.

Maybe we visited on a bad night. Maybe she who recommended this long-established joint is right. Maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon.

Then again...

Verdict How much? pounds 61 for three Vegetarians? Choices Child friendly? Yes Disabled access? Fine Parking? Pamp;D nearby Go back? Not a priorityOUR TOP 5... PLACES OUT OF TOWN MINT Quality, seasonal ingredients treated with respect. 52 Thornhill Road, Little Aston. 0121 353 0488.

MADRAS CURRYS Friendly welcome, good value south Indian food. 445-457 Dudley Road, Smethwick.

0121 555 7750.

BELL AND CROSS England football team chef Roger Narbett's delightful pub. Holy Cross, Clent. 01562 730319.

LASAN EATERY Tasty Indian food in funky surroundings. 1355 Stratford Road, Hall Green. 0121 777 9090.

TURNERS Michelin-starred delights and relaxed atmosphere. 69 High Street, Harborne. 0121 426 4440.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 7, 2011
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