After reading reports from a lot of happy diners, we finally tried the above-mentioned place on Saturday afternoon, and I can say without hesitation, we're not going to hurry back.
We stared with tom yum gai, and though it was quite a tasty soup to be sure, calling it tom yum is really taking liberties. The broth was dominated by a resounding bass note of beef stock, which is simply not what tom yum is all about. On the other hand, lemongrass and galangal, which ought to be centre stage, were completely absent. OK, so maybe it's a question semantics, but that weren't no tom yum. 4/5 for yummies, but change the name.
Two dishes we ordered were marked as "hot" on the menu, and both were beyond bland.
The rice noodles with sate beef (and yes, we expected the Chinese version of sate, which bears no resemblance to the Malay) consisted of a clump of glubby, overcooked rice sticks, covered with beef and few chunks of green pepper thrown in seemingly as an after thought. The sauce was an almost tasteless mixture of beef stock and tapioca starch. The beef was nicely tender, and that's the best thing I can say about the dish. No stars, really.
The ma po tofu had all the right things in it, except for the chili paste, the ground pepper, and the black beans, which is like making tomato sauce without the tomato. There was way too much starch in the sauce, which was gloopy to the point of being downright disgusting. 1 star for the peas.
Oof, not eating there again anytime soon.