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Wham, Bam, Thank You Lam

If you live in the suburbs and appreciate having quality and choice without having to travel into Kensington or Mayfair, you should frequent your good locals. You know the ones - those who try to present excellent food and service without the advantages of built-in foot traffic to patronise their establishments. Today, I'm singling out you residents along the Hammersmith- Ravenscourt Park-Stamford Brook line. Visit Lam's. It's better than most places in Chinatown and the staff are a great deal more pleasant and welcoming.

I've eaten here several times and also ordered takeaway (a nice perk for Chinese food that's better prepared than those geared mainly toward delivery service). I have always been charmed by my hosts and delighted with the cuisine. We frequently enjoy complimentary beverages and find ourselves chatting with the amiable proprietor. But I've been worried to find the dining room nearly empty on Friday and Saturday nights. So I write this review not only because of a selfish desire to keep Lam's around, but because this restaurant deserves your support as it is a tremendous addition to the community.

I usually order a slew of appetisers, as they provide good fuel for talking and drinking with a gaggle of pals. Try the shredded, smoked chicken (£4.30) if you crave salty and sweet together. I think it's even better with a bit of chilli scattered over, and the chefs will be happy to honour this request - much better than peanuts to enjoy with your beer. From the sea, nibble on garlic and butter prawns (£5.90). I know that this sounds like a dish better suited for an Italian or Spanish cafè, but a touch of diced carrot and soy brings it around to the right hemisphere. Deep-fried squid with peppercorns and spicy salt (£5) is sweet, mild, and tastes like snacking on the ocean. This selection turned one dear friend from a squid-virgin to a raving squid-whore. If you like the Chinese tradition of consuming hot, oilier foods wrapped in crispy, refreshing lettuce leaves, opt for Lam's special spring rolls (£3.30) or their shredded lamb with plum sauce (£5.60).

There are dozens of main courses to try, so go family-style and lay it all in the centre of the table to pass around. You'll enjoy much more variety and the custom makes the meal much more of a social occasion. A few dishes which I would order any day include steamed scallops and king prawns in spicy sauce (£6.50), special fried rice (£3) to absorb all of your assorted juices, and mixed vegetables (£3.40) which include bamboo shoots and crunchy water chestnuts. The only item I wouldn't order again is the aubergine and prawn paste hot pot, which was too oily for my taste. But the other dishes I mentioned, including the deep-fried ones, are remarkably fresh and not oily at all.

This is accomplished cooking served in generous proportions by perpetually friendly waiters. The kitchen welcomes alterations according to your diet and taste. In short, you really can't go wrong. This is one local hole-in-the-wall that I hope will last. Join the crusade, people of Hammersmith.

Adam Kingl - February 2001

Lam's - 216 King Street, London, W6 0RA
Tel: 020 8748 6982
Lunch 12-2:30 Mon-Sat, Dinner 6-11:30 Mon-Sun. No deliveries on Sunday.

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Dine Online Copywright by Clifton Media Associates
February 2001, All rights reserved.

Views or opinions expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publishers, Clifton Media Associates. While every care is taken in compiling this publication, the publishers cannot assume responsibility for any effects arising therefrom.