Gourmet San

Bethnal Green
Gourmet San is most easily identified by the throng of expectant diners queuing outside. So what’s the big draw? Part of the answer can be had looking through the window – succulent chilli crab and sizzling fish whizzing between kitchen and happy diners; the rest of it, in the form of friendly and efficient service, comes once you get through the door. Gourmet San’s predominantly Chinese clientele are keen on the authentic Szechuan menu, and we suggest you follow their lead. Don’t ignore the more exotic options: barbecued rabbit and chicken feet are both great starters, followed by deep-fried squid with red radish. For devoted carnivores, pig trotter is a house speciality.
Venue name: Gourmet San
Contact:
Address: 261 Bethnal Green Road
London
E2 6AH
Transport: Tube: Bethnal Green tube/rail/8 bus
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £35

Average User Rating

2.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
LiveReviews|12
2 people listening
Ashleigh K

This was just so disappointing. I used to visit this restaurant often when I lived in Bethnal Green around four years ago and I have been recommending it even since I've moved away. My boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves to a Sunday night take away. We ordered it just before 8pm and it turned up after 10pm.


After receiving an email about 'adjusting the delivery time' from between 8pm-9pm to 9.20 we thought that was annoying but fine. Things happen.


Come 9.20 and it still hadn't turned up. We phoned just after the 'latest' arrival time to be told it was on its way. When it still hadn't shown up another 10 minutes later we phoned again to be told the same thing. Another 10 minutes pass and still nothing. 


By this point, we're starving, frustrated and stressed out – without sounding over dramatic, it pretty much ruined the relaxing Sunday night we had planned, and I'm sorry, but for £40, you'd expect a bit more.


This time my boyfriend phones, he's told it's on its way but we tell them we're not happy to pay £40 for waiting close to an hour longer than originally quoted. She says she'll phone us back. She doesn't.


We call back 15 minutes later and she says she'll knock (our requested price) of £10 off the bill but by this time not only have we had to chase her again but the food is still nowhere to be seen. Finally she agrees on £25 and the food arrives two hours after we had initially ordered it, a handful of phone calls down and, you guessed it, stone cold. 


We tried to eat it and began saying "It's not too bad..." before realising we were both just trying to be polite to one another at the risk of trying to salvage it. Threw the whole greasy, cold lot in the bin. Shame. 


I will never, ever again go back here. I really have nothing else to say but I'm disappointed. I would have probably rather just set my money on fire than be sitting here will a disgusting greasy feeling and sheer dissatisfaction at having to wait over two hours for something we should have turned away at the door. It's actually turned me off Chinese food for a good long time.


Yeah, okay, so... Jay Rayner applauded this place about eight years ago, but it seems to have gone well past its sell by dates. Avoid this place at all costs. Don't waste your money, your meal, your evening or your time, by having to write a review like this one.


Update: come 2am, whatever I did eat wanted out and I ended up being sick for a few hours. Thanks, Gourmet San.

Jade Harrington

Do not understand why this is a top rated restaurant! We went because of timeout's recommendation and had a really bad meal. All the food was extremely greasy, the staff's customer service level's were very bad and it wasn't really that cheap either. Definitely wouldn't rate this place and confused why Timeout think it's so good?

Laurence

The food they served me was among the most disgusting things I have ever eaten in my life, I almost had to vomit. I had Chinese dumpling as a starter which was served merely warm, dry, strange texture, tasted disgusting. Is that warmed horse meat? It went further with prawns I had which were super overpriced (3 pounds for one I think) and not even seasoned, just prawns they put on a grill. Weird to me to charge 3 pounds for that., Of course if you ask their waiters what they recommend (the bigger or smaller prawns?) they seem to always suggest the most expensive option, not very good service to me. My main course was served with cold rice(that is unacceptable to me), I had the classic Chinese black bean sauce dish with beef. Now when they served it It was so hot that it actually splashed hot boiling fat all over my table. At first I though great and I was excited about the splashing but that soon diminished as there was more disadvantages from that then advantages. (Watch your clothing!) The dish unfortunately again, tasted just horrible. The lowest quality meat there is, a bit like the paper style meat they use for the hotdogs you can find around Camden at night. Staff is really rude and absolutely not interested in doing their job. There was two ladies chatting. Funny that they look at me and do nothing until I finally shout 'hello?'. Funny also that another guest after some time stood up from his table, annoyed, going to the staff, asking for his order. I cannot not imagine that there is ever been a queue outside of this place. Seriously, be prepared to be disappointed.

Mario

unfortunately quality of food is really low. I think it used to be better/okay. Its very much of a fast food place. Sometimes staff carry garbage in bin liners (wearing yellow gloves, to protect themselves) next to you through the restaurant. I went there yesterday and was really disappointed. Well overpriced for the quality of food. I spent over 20 pounds with 1 main and small bite sized starters, I was quite angry after spending it. There was no way that the rice was fresh when they served it, it was also not hot. My main course was okay (spicy chili beef) but the starters tasted of nothing, awful, sorry! and again tasted almost like warmed in the microwave. I really get offended if I spend money and I get low low quality food for it, definitely not worth to go there. There is plenty of good reasonable priced restaurants in the area, go there instead. I will never go there again.

Vince

Excellent meal as usual tonight! staff have NEVER been rude to me. Way better than anything I have tried before.

Jeff Walker

Dreadful service - food arrived in dribs and drabs. we ended up leaving after only two of the three main course shad arrived and waited half an our for the last one to arrive. place was dirty and cold.

Rojack

Very surprised to see only 3 stars from Time Out and sorry to hear Alexandra below had a bad experience. I have been four or five times and this place is excellent. I've never ordered takeaway, but would suggest you go to the restaurant and try it. The best dishes involve meat, so veggies may be a bit restricted. Reasonably priced too.

moco

One of the best Sichuan restaurants in London, though I prefer their sister restaurant, My Old Place, on Middlesex street in the City.

acpgee

Amazing food, Standout dishes were the dry fried beans with minced pork and stewed aubergine (much much better than it sounds). Not such great service--dishes started arriving before we got rice bowls and napkins.

arnaud

Been there many times now and it's just the best in London for a taste of authentic food. I think Alexandra had no luck, but I've never tried the take away...

Housetrainedk9

Why would you go to a Szechuan restaurant and order such rubbish? the specialty dishes at this restaurant are unbelievably good. It took me straight back to China.

Alexandra

WARNING!!! AVOID AT ALL COSTS: Worst than mall food... I ordered from Gourmet San for the first time today because a friend recommended it. I cannot express how disappointed I am. I am actually writing this review instead of eating!!! The things I ordered because I thought would be safe: hot and sour soup, Singapore vermicelli, King prawn curry, Sweet & Sour pork and Egg fried rice. They told us it would be an hour wait. We did not mind as we knew this meant that the food would be fresh. The driver arrived less then 30 mins later. Which means, the food was probably sitting there for who knows how long! Review of FOOD: Hot and sour soup: Smells like manure... could not even have a full spoon of it. Tasted old and like burnt pepper. Absolutely disgusting! Singapore vermicelli: The color is orange rather than yellow and it does not have the distinctive flavor that is should have. All you can taste is the red chill peppers and the red chili pepper!!! That is it - it is so hot/spicy that you cannot eat it! King prawn curry: Does not taste like curry. Just a goopy sauce - More than half the box is onion and green pepper... mostly onion. Sweet & Sour Pork: Have had better in shopping centers. Again, more onion and green pepper than pork. Egg fried rice: Was the only thing I could eat, but it is quite oily. What annoys me even more is the lady charged us more than what our menu stated. Complete joke! The Chinese food at Waitrose and M&S are infinitely better and that does not say MUCH! Save your money and AVOID this PLACE!!!