If you are in the market for Western-style comfort food then this is the place to come. It’s honest and homely. It's cheap and it's cheerful. No the food isn't going to wow you, but then again you aren't going to be disappointed either. Ellen's is attracting exactly the type of clientele it had been hoping for with students and foreign teachers turning up in droves each night, but hey, don't let this put you off, some of my best friends are teachers. On my visit, the d&eacute;cor reminded me somewhat of a beach bar in Thailand, serving up those home-cooked meals you yearn for when you've eaten one too many Thai curries. Rustic wooden benches and graffiti on the wall tell you all you need to know about how simplistic this place is. It really is at ease with its own image though, which makes for a relaxed dining experience. Trenchermates of dubious heritage accompanied me for this repast and together we ordered, and sampled, a number of the items on the menu. Starting off with the recommended, creamy tomato soup (12 RMB), and Garlic Bread (10 RMB) we certainly agreed that it was, in fact, creamy. It lacked a tomato kick to be honest, but you'd still eat it if your mother served it to you. The Caesar salad we ordered was nothing like a Caesar salad should be, but you know, it was edible and fairly tasty and for 28 RMB, who am I to complain. A shared Margherita Pizza was next. We all suspected that it came out of the freezer, as it looked too perfect to be true, but as they say, the proof is in the eating and it really didn't disappoint at all; in fact it was quite good. Up next came the more substantial dishes with the Spaghetti Carbonara first (25 RMB). The pasta was slightly over-cooked and totally drowned in the Carbonara sauce, but its saving grace was that it did actually taste like Carbonara. The Veggie Burger (16 RMB) was a fried potato patty with a bit of salad on a bun. What can you say? It tasted okay and was filling but it's not really a burger. Last of all came the Chicken Special (48 RMB) and when I saw it arrive I honestly thought that it was going to be dry and stringy, which is where I was wrong. The chicken breast was well seasoned and moist in the middle and I thought deserved a place of honour in the Veggie Burger instead of that potato patty. With bottles of Corona at 20 RMB and an ice bucket of Vodka Redbull at 45 RMB this is one helluva cheap joint. Enjoy!
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