The worst all-you-can-eat I've been in.
The price is alright- £4.95 per person, and the drinks aren't too expensive either. That's what got me in there. The service is friendly and fast and at first everything seems fine.
You head down to a tiny, dimly-lit basement where the ceilings are far too low, and the tables are far too close together. It's not for the claustrophobic.
The food seems at first like a straightforward pile of monosodium glutamate-laden standard Chinese takeaway-style food: sweet and sour chicken, some other meat in a red sauce, spring rolls, noodles, rice, a brown dish with something that might be pork. It looks OK in the low light- but it's not. It's a heap of fat, sugar and gelatin on a plate- it's tasteless, extremely unhealthy even by all-you-can-eat standards, and 'all you can eat' would be a lot more than 'all you'll want to eat', which isn't much after the first mouthful.
I really suggest avoiding the toilet facilities if you can at all help it- which, if you have a couple of platefuls of this food, you may have no control over.
Cheap and friendly- but not good.
Absolutely agree with all the reviews (apart from the onion one!). You're better off starving than parting with £4.95 for that crap. Dishes were full of onions, and pretty poor standard in any case. My friend found two long hairs in his food when we went for the first and only time.
Some of the food was edible, but the atmosphere, combined with the poor quality of the food, makes it a no-go. If you want buffet, there are some decent ones in Chinatown (e.g. Mr Wu) that charge a fiver and is alot better than this, although in my opinion those are still quite poor.
Just horrendous. I mean you can just look at the outside of it to see it's going to be horrendous. A really tatty sign advertises a Chinese buffet for £4.95 and some stairs lead down to a basement. I have to say by this point one of my friends was about to collapse and being students we had to find somewhere cheap.
When you walk through the door you notice straight away that it's almost impossible to stand upright in any part of this restaurant if you are over 6 foot tall. Infact the table where we were sat was through an arch which was around and about 5 foot tall. The table cloth was dirty, the seats were rickety, the staff were rude and the tea was cold and that's just the start.
Now for the food. Wow. Just wow. I'll start at one end of the buffet and move down. You've got hot water and cabbage masquerading as soup. I ate this with three sachets of pepper. Then there are some cold noodles. Sweet and sour chicken which was really chewy and chemically. There are some more cold noodles. Then some Won Ton which I didn't have, some pretty nasty spring rolls. The black bean beef did not taste anything like black bean beef should. Oh actually just talking about this food is making me feel sick and I haven't even got to the sauce that was about 15 shades brighter than anything I've ever eaten before.
I know £4.95 for an all-you-can-eat buffet right by the museums is an offer that might seem too good to pass up but even McDonalds would have been better. Go to Chinatown, go to Mr Wu's Chinese buffet, pay the extra £2 and eat better food or just go round the corner to Subway or any of the tonnes of sandwich shops. Just avoid the Paper Tiger.
This restaurant is a plain example of cheap gone too far. When my friend told me about the Chinese restaurant she saw in Kensington, a buffet for just about £4.95, I thought wow that was excessively cheap.
After our visit to the nearby ice rink, we decided visit; I guess my experience could be put down to getting what you paid for. First, the atmosphere was not fit to be called a restaurant, you go down the stairs into this little dingy cave, my first reaction was to turn back as I was not quite ready for stomach ache or food poisoning. My friend really wanted to eat there, so I thought, What the hell it can't be that bad (Mistake Numero Uno).
The few dishes were placed close to the door and few chairs arranged tightly across the room. The table we got was in a very little room with an arc separating it from the rest of the room and it had a very low beam.
Once inside, we decided to serve our food, the disappointment was obvious on our face; the only available dishes were rice, some sauce (can't remember which) and a tray of miserable looking chicken wings and sesame seed toast.
If I were to describe every detail, two A4 sheet will not do. Anyway, we went to our seat to get the best out of the situation. Only to realise that the food was so bland, I thought this was very unlike Chinese food with all the available spices.
After the meal, I decided to use the toilet (Mistake No2). The toilet was just beside the kitchen so I could peep inside. It was the DIRTIEST kitchen I had ever set my eyes on, Oh boy! I thought of all the rodents and roaches potentially in the kitchen. I never knew there were such restaurants in London until I visited Paper Tiger.
One lesson I learnt was, if the environment is not fit to sit then it is not fit to eat in, as it is a reflection of where the food is prepared. A visit from the food safety inspectors will be superb.
Verdict: Shut it down
Under a fiver for a buffet chinese meal in London! That's what really gets people in. The stairs leading down, and a huge sign you can't miss it.
The food was ok, plenty of onions though. Rice was average. It is self service. The wings were rubbish though, not crispy enough but I still had lots anyway since it was meat. The sweet and sour chicken didn't have much meat in them plenty of sauce and onions lol!
When I finished my meal my plates were full of onions. I was full from eating too many onions. I walked to the toilet passing through the kitchen area, and I saw 3 huge bags of onions. That is an insane amount of onions for a small buffet place. The toilet was a challenge, made for a very short person as the ceiling was up to my shoulder. I had to physically duck and press my head against the ceiling to use the toilet, and no way I was going to sit on it. Considering you can go to another place next door and get full instead of eating endless onions this is one I would not recommend you go to!
It is not by chance that this restaurant is known also as 'Paper Onion'. If you dislike onions, then for the love of all that is sacred, avoid it like the plague.
I, however, love onions, and so it is that I recommend it to you if you should happen to be in need of a quick bite to eat around South Kensington tube. It's entirely standard Chinese, in an all-you-can-eat buffet arrangement; so while it's not got the range of dishes that other places might serve, you'll not have to wait for your food. It is plentiful, tasty, and cheap. And full of onions.
There's been a bit of effort applied to the decor - mirrors, fish, and the like - but don't go in expecting anything fantastically shiny and eye-catching. Paper Tiger is not a fancy place but it's more than worth a visit.
Unless you have a problem with onions.
OK. So Paper Tiger proves there IS one way in this day and age to offer a £4.95 all-you-can eat buffet and still make money: make it so gross that nobody actually eats more than a few bites! Seriously. I thought places like this had got left behind in the 80s. Terrible tasteless food, even the rice was bad. If you need a cheap Chinese in the South Kensington area, then just walk a few yards towards the station from Paper Tiger to the Oriental Canteen. Trust me, it's in your best interest!
I think you guys are missing the point of Paper Tiger. It's £4.95!!!!!!!!!! I remember eating here once on a balmy summer's eve in 2006, just before catching the 414 for my journey across town. I just tried it out, out of curiosity, plus I was so hungry at the time, and thought what the hell. It's quite cosy down there, like an Aladdin's cave. It's got these arched cavern-like half-rooms that make it feel like your crouching inside some sort of WW2 bunker. Think 'Blackadder goes for dinner'. At the time, I was more interested in seeing how much food I could eat in one sitting, than finding out what the overall restaurant eating experience was going to be like. The acoustics in here alone are definitely worth the £4.95. It's hard to describe, but the sound is sort of 'muted' down there, like the opposite of an 'echo'. The buffet is situated on some makeshift type of table, and all the food is laid out on rectangular trays, lined up one after the other, heaped in piles. Piles of chicken wings, piles of rice, piles of deep fried thingies and there's some other piles too. Piles is a key word when visiting this place, that I can assure you. I remember tucking into the chicken wings, which were okay, not bad; I definitely don't remember them being as vile as some people on here are making them out to be. But to be perfectly honest, I don't remember what the food tasted like (this is quite unusual for me, because I can remember the taste of things I've eaten in the past, going back decades) So maybe it was tasteless? I can't remember. One thing I do remember was seeing the cook (I think it was a lady) floating through the cavern at evenly spaced intervals of approximately 20 mins. At each interval, she would just float past silently, like a ghost, holding in front of her a tray containing a heaped pile of something, place it down on the 'pile-table', then float back through the cavern, back into the kitchen. I witnessed at least two sightings of this ghost, possibly even three. Interestingly, the trays which the fresh piles were replacing, were not completely depleted, meaning that there was an even constant renewal of freshly 'cooked' food being delivered to the pile-table. This was slightly reassuring, because at least you knew it was being cooked, and hadn't been sitting on a hot plate for 4 hours. Everyone knows restaurants doing buffets make their money on the drinks, and so when the waiter/manager/owner came over to me and asked me if I wanted to order any drinks, I did so out of guilt, not out of thirst. I think I ordered a Coca Cola? I felt embarrassed paying only £4.95 for a meal, that's why. I felt obliged. Well, there's not much else I can say about Paper Tiger. I don't really remember what the clientele were like, I think there were a few office workers in small groups scattered about; again can't remember. Paper-Tiger induces temporary amnesia I think. You have to bear in mind that there are loads of broke students and backpackers living just a stones throw away from here, so maybe these type of folk frequent the premises? If you need a serious fill of protein, then I suppose you could just raid those chicken wings until you're blue in the face? I dunno. The sign outside is nice; it's lovely. In fact there's three signs. One yellow canopy with Paper-Tiger written on it in 'Textspeak Crazy Caps', to the right of that, one large rectangular plasticky looking sign that looks like a New York cab parked up against the wall with £4.95 graffitied down the side of it, and on top of that, a sort of wooden, temple-shaped white plaque that has a lovely print of a leaping Tiger on it; it's leaping towards the entrance of the restaurant, probably to go down and eat all those chicken wings up!!!!! This particular sign has a very helpful long red arrow underneath the Tiger, spanning the full length of the plaque, pointing you in the direction of the front entrance. It's all very colourful and enticing, and anyone who lives in South Ken, or passes through, will know that this entrance is and has been part of the South Ken landscape for decades. They must be doing something right!!!! Paper-Tiger definitely has a use some how or other (you might be standing at the cash machine with the girl of your dreams and your cash card suddenly doesn't work and you reach into your pocket and realize you only have £4.95 jingling in there?). If you want my advice, I'd say get tanked up with a couple of good friends (who have a very good sense of humour), then have some kind of contest amongst yourselves to see who can eat the most piles? Or you could sit there with a stopwatch and time the floating ghost, to see if she's running a bit late? Or perhaps set up a camera down there to take snapshots of the floating ghost as she floats past with the floating piles? Or you could take a first date there and try and impress her with your twisted idiosyncratic sense of humour (Woody Allen style)? Or you could take Bob Geldof there for
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