We went out for a New Year meal with friends. They picked the venue, based on the rave reviews that people gave it. The place was the Happy Valley chinese restaurant in Norton. The service was bad. It was worse than the Akbar Dynasty. We were seated at about 9.00pm at the correct time, which was the only thing they got right all evening. This is a blow by blow account of that evening.

As a table of 9, we were probably the largest table in the restaurant, and we weren’t exactly sat there in silence. But after an hour no one had come to ask if we would like drinks, or even given us menus. So we went up and ordered them ourselves; a couple of bottles of wine, a few beers, bottles, etc. They told us they would bring it to our table. But nothing arrived, we went and asked and they told us they lost the order. We reordered. They bought a bottle and then went around serving every other table before finally bring us the rest of the drinks (as you will see this is action repeated).

At some point in here we got our menus. Essentially there was a choice of 6 main courses. So it was fairly simple, one of each and 3 extra of what seemed to be the most popular. Took about 30 seconds to decide. Pity it took them at least half hour to actually ask us.

So, just to recap: We got there at 9pm and we haven’t had anything to eat till 10:30pm.

First course: Soup. Chicken, ham, peas, mushrooms, and gelatine. Yes big lumps of gloopy jelly at the bottom of the soup bowls.  Not must appetising.  Then there was a massive wait until…

Second course: Prawn Toast, Spring Rolls, Kebabs in Satay Sauce, Salted Chicken and Crispy Seaweed. About as good as what you would get from Iceland.

Third course (Part 1): Strips of cucumber, carrot and spring roll, Hosin sauce and a 10 minute wait.

Third course (Part 2): Crispy fried duck and a 5 minute wait.

Third course (Part 3): Pancakes! By this time Mrs Bear was so hungry she even ate the duck, which still feels guilty about.

Fourth course (Part 1): A plate of pork slices and a 5 minute wait.

Fourth course (Part 2): All the other meals, and the plate that had held the pork was taken away.

Fourth course (Part 3): Two bowls of rice. By this time we had gorged ourselves on the other courses.

As you can see there wasn’t much happiness in the Happy Valley from our table. Seeing tables that we seated a long while after us (even it was just a couple) get served before us was wholly wrong. If they were understaffed, then that is their problem to sort out – they knew how busy it was going to be. The only thing that stopped the evening from being a complete loss was the company we had and we spent most of the night laughing – probably because we got drunk on empty stomachs.

As for midnight, we only realised about 30 seconds to go (or two minutes depending on whose watch you used). No count down or anything from the staff. We did the count down for the entire room.  We did get a bottle of Asda Asti for the table though.

  • Service: 2/10 (The only way it could get worse was to not serve us at all).
  • Atmosphere: 9/10 (We bought our own atmosphere).
  • Food: 7/10 (It wasn’t bad, but we were so hungry it could of been dog food).
  • Price: £35
  • Overall: 4/10