Spot on or Not on? Boton Restaurant

For six years I have dined in and written about countless venues, around the many townships of Dongguan. There is one restaurant that has regularly reared its head. “Boton” may not ring a bell for some of our readers based in Dongcheng, but anyone who has ever been to the surrounding towns will probably be more familiar with one of its several sites.

With Boton currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, I felt it was time to give my humble opinion on how they accommodate their customer base around Dongguan. When I first settled in Humen some years ago, a Chinese colleague introduced “Boton” as the only decent Western restaurant around. For me at that time it was; after having been subjected to a constant toss-up between rice or noodles. Eggplant stuffed with pork in a barbecue sauce was among my favorites—a dish I have since added to my own home-cooking repertoire. Like many chain restaurants, Boton’s menu gets overhauled every so often. I am all for fresh ideas and obviously best-sellers will make the cut, but recently, I really get the impression that austerity measures are whittling away the selection bit by bit.

The once extensive menu is now more streamlined and while still has reasonable variety, for me it lacks that shade of panache that I originally felt it had. I do miss their “buy two beers get one free” deal they ran for so long and naturally all good things must come to an end—but there are a few other concerning bug-bears with the eatery. From my experience and that of my colleagues, they do occasionally mix up the orders and are a little renowned for serving one meal quickly, while another takes much longer.

In Boton’s defense, they have at least tried to recently combat this problem by setting a timer on the table, by which the meal is half-price after 20 minutes and free if the waiting period is over half an hour. After dining in the restaurant numerous times over the years, I have their VIP membership which I paid an original 200 RMB for. This presents marginally discounted menu prices, along with occasional voucher promotions that must be used within a specific timeframe.

TripAdvisor offers mixed reviews from customers, but this “Boton expert” will tell it straight. Boton is a go-to restaurant that, if you are desperate for Western cuisine will do the job. Sadly, for me, the novelty of late has long since worn off.

Address: No. 43, 45 and 46 shop, Area A, Champs-Elysees Apartment, Ti Yu Road, Houjie