Waterside Inn Discovery Bay Tel: 987-0063 Hours: 9:30 to midnight Sat, Sun. Noon to midnight, Mon-Fri. LAST time we went to the Waterside Inn in Discovery Bay it was an almost unmitigated disaster. It was a quiet Sunday evening in winter and there was no full menu. Instead we were greeted by a sorry-looking buffet; no soup, no white meat, just drooping salads and bowls of meat with all the textural subtlety of old sackcloth. We were the only people there and every time I tentatively beckoned the waiter he looked at me as if I had just broken wind in a library. We ate, morosely, we left, and we never went back. But anywhere is worth a second try. Summer has arrived and the Waterside has a nice candle-lit terrace decked out with garden furniture from Wing On. To err is human. It was time to forgive and forget. The view from that terrace is not half bad, looking out as it does across the bay and towards the night-time fairylights of Toytown. The nice thing about eating under the moon is that, like with so much of Hongkong during the day, you cannot see how polluted the water is. Instead, you can hear it lapping lethargically against the rocks below you. Close your eyes and you might be in somelazy Greek taverna. Open them and, by day anyway, all you have got is golf carts, high rises and boy racer perambulators which look like they were designed by Lambourghini. Food writers like to use the word ''eclectic'' to describe diners. Not at the Waterside. This is not just expatriate territory, but British expatriate territory, and could not be more so if a group of Millwall supporters had urinated around the perimeter to make definite their claim. Only in England, tragically, could you be forced to try to enjoy a quiet alfresco dinner with the sound of the F-word wafting on the warm air. On this night, it came from a meeting of Discovery Bay's finest minds at the next table. Ironically, being English, I was too scared to complain. The food reflects the facts. Here is a menu designed especially with Paul Gascoigne in mind: it is pub food with an affluent twist. Tuscany meets East Acton. There are pizzas, steak and kidney pies, fish and chips. The salads sound particularly good - avocado and prawn for $84 and the Greek for what seems a reasonable $43 - and the wine list is extensive. Tomato soup ($32) has become Tomato and Chive Soup. The lamb ($95) has become Eminence of Lamb with Herbs and Swiss Potatoes ($95). The problem with the lamb was not that I could barely see it (it was dark on the terrace, even with candles) but that it was as tough as old boots. There was no mention of vegetables on the menu and I foolishly forgot to ask. Typically, it came with the only vegetable on Earth I do not eat: the string bean, which has always tasted to me like sauteed electricity cable. The sauce went down like cement. My ''companion'', to use the word food writers seem to favour for wife, husband or friend, had the French Onion Soup ($33) and the Coq au Vin ($96). The onion soup was good and thick, and as gargantuan as all the Waterside's meals. But it was salty. The Coq au Vin was another triumph of quantity over quality. It could just as easily have been called ''Half a Chicken in Sauce''. It was a shame, because everything else about the meal was, if not perfect, at least pleasurable. For desserts, the cheesecake ($39) was as good as any; creamy, flavoursome and as light as a dessert should be. The ice cream was, well, nicely ice creamish, and if the banana in rum and coconut milk is as good as it sounds it could be worth going back for. On a sign in the foyer advertising weekend breakfasts ''on Saturday and Sunday only'', some wit had hastily made an amendment so it read ''on Saturdays and Sundays only if the chef turns up''. But as the expected chairman of the Liberal Party Allen Lee Peng-fei agrees, some of his party members must face the ballot box in 1995 if the conservatives are to have any credibility with the citizens of Hongkong. Dinner for two, including beer, was $450.