Mini Spring Rolls
The restaurant is quite empty on the night we visit, with one three or so table there, most with scoopons also. The service is friendly, and we are told that for this deal, we must all start with an entree each, followed by as many mains as we want but that every two main dishes comes with either fried or boiled rice.
Of course, we go for the fried entrees- spirng rolls and fried wontons. The spring rolls are tiny bite-sized pieces, and although we're not the biggest fans of spring rolls, we do enjoy them. The fried wontons have obviously been left in the fryer for too long, being dark brown instead of golden and thus rather hard. We do order them again later in the meal, after seeing our neighbour's wontons looking quite good, and this time they were not over-fried but weren't the best wontons we've had.
Dumplings in Spicy Soup
The other two entree options are dumplings in clear soup (i.e. short soup) or in spicy soup, which gets me quite excited as dumplings in spicy soup is one of my favourite Asian dishes. The slippery soft dumplings are quite delicious, though it didn't hold the sauce too well and I could easily have finished the whole bowl by myself. I was a little disappointed with the sauce itself as it wasn't like the ones I was used to which are a tad more tingly than spicy and have a greater depth of flavour. The sauce in this version was rather like the chinese chilli sauce which I usually have with noodles and whatnot, being quite oily, though I did enjoy quite enjoy this.
The mains followed quickly after the entrees, first off with the fried duck, something we rarely order at Chinese restaurants, as we tend to prefer our duck roasted. This duck is done amazingly though, with an incredibly crispy skin, and is easily our favourite dish for the night. Whilst most fried ducks I've had before merely have the texture of duck, and taste otherwise like chicken, the meat of this one has a great depth of flavour and strong duck taste you'd find in roast duck.
Sweet and Sour Fish
Though often classified as "Westernised", sweet and sour remains one of my favourites of Chinese food, and so I'm quite excited for the sweet and sour fish option on the menu. The verion here at New China is a rather different version from the usual,with the fried fish fritters blanketed with a layer of thick sweet and sour sauce. I find the sauce a little on the tomato-y side, lacking definitely the depth of flavour I like from my sweet and sour sauces. This would have actually been okay as I've had my fair share of not so amazing sweet and sour sauces before, but what I was most dissappointed in was that the fish fritters were already softened by the time they arrived at our table!
We had high hopes for this fried rice as its deep dark colour made it look quite tasty. Unfortunately, the colour probably only comes from the use of dark soy, as rice itself was quite bland, tasting much more like plain rice than fried. Interestingly, the grains used for the rice were rather small and short in comparison to the usual Asian rice, so it had an interesting mouth feel......I wonder what kind of rice they use?
Sizzling Black Pepper Beef
A couple of sizzling plates come out of the kitchen, so we move our plates to make space for them, only to realise that none of them were ours. We're quite surprised (and confused) when the sizzling black pepper beef arrives on a normal plate, not sizzling at all!! It was only as we started on this dish that we realised the problem with all-you-can-eat deals is that you have to finish everything- including those which you don't like! We had quite a lot of trouble finishing this one as the beef was really tough, and was much too salty even for our tastes!
Fried Prawn Ball With Special Sauce
The prawn balls fared much better with their special sauce being a sweet honey-like sauce, and deliciously crispy fried prawns which only just come out of the fryer. The main problem with all-you-can-eat chinese food, is that when it comes out as a full sized dish as we had here, around one dish per person is enough to get you sufficiently full so there's really not much of a difference to having a set menu. Well at least that's what we thought, so to take advantage of this all-you-can-eat deal, we decided to reorder these prawn balls because they were so good (and not too filling)!