By the Munching Mariner (published in East End Life, 17th August)
The Golden Bird is a small Chinese restaurant next to the yellow bridge at Mile End. I took my Thirst Mate along on a Tuesday evening. We arrived without a booking at 8pm and were easily accommodated. Two other tables were occupied during our visit.
The restaurant is bright and clean, and there is an attractive aquarium towards the front with apparently luminescent fish paddling back and forth. The tables are efficiently laid out to cater for numbers. The décor appears to be showing some wear.
With sake on the menu (a new experience), we ordered a quarter bottle to share (£5.50). It arrived suitably warm with a satisfying kick, so we asked for tap water to help us savour our meals.
My Thirst Mate ordered chicken with cashew nuts and yellow bean sauce; for me the beef with satay sauce. We took a portion each of steamed rice which came heaped and sticky.
Aside from the rice, we felt the food was mediocre. The meat was good, but the yellow bean sauce was insipid and the satay sauce was almost entirely devoid of its defining taste.
The service was efficient, but slightly unengaged. The waitress had a chummy relationship with two guests at a nearby table who she chatted to while serving us. We felt she could have done more to make us feel welcome.
Our bill came to £24.70, not including service (minimum £12 per person).
The Golden Bird is just two minutes’ walk from Mile End station and lies next to a number of bus routes. Address: 379 Mile End Road, E3 4QS. Telephone: 8980 3611