If there’s anyone who loves Chinese more than me, it’s my best friend Laura. So when we were struggling for places to eat after seeing Magic Mike XXL (ahhhmazing, btw) in Romford, I suggested eating in Brentwood on our way home. Imperial Peking is a Chinese restaurant that has been there for years and it has virtually remained the same – but it’s always busy. We hadn’t booked a table, but went on the off-chance there was one available. And there was – on the basis we left within an hour and 40 minutes for a reservation at 8.
The food is always very good, if a little on the pricy side. Brentwood is overrun with takeaway outlets and this is the only actual restaurant, so I guess they can charge more as there’s no competition. On the other hand, the staff aren’t great and it’s something that has been noted on the likes of Trip Advisor. They just don’t have any charisma, or crack a smile. A shame, as it brings the experience down somewhat.
We dug straight into prawn crackers and sweet & sour sauce, while pondering the menu. Although we already knew we would be beginning with crispy aromatic duck, there were so many main dishes to choose from and in the end we chose a dish each.
The duck was incredible, so crisp and so much of it – we ordered a quarter and had eight pancakes between us; there was definitely too much for two. I put Laura in charge of chief shredder as the duck wasn’t really shredded enough for our liking. There was plenty of cucumber and onion and the hoi sin sauce was the right consistency, a little on the thick side... perfect! I could have quite easily skipped the main course and had it all again.
But I chose my all-time favourite main dish – fillet steak Cantonese style. And boy, it didn’t disappoint! As always, it arrived on a hot plate, the sweet sauce spitting. The steak was good quality and the ratio of meat to spring onion was spot-on. Laura chose Hong Kong style sweet & sour chicken which was also lovely (I had to try some!). There were so many chunks of carrot, pepper and pineapple and the batter wasn’t too heavy. The chicken was bitesize pieces too, which was more palatable.
We accompanied our dishes with a portion of plain noodles with beansprouts and special fried rice. The portion size for both was huge, in fact we barely touched either. The meal could have easily fed another two (or more!) people. Luckily, the staff offered to put the food in takeaway boxes for us to take with us – there genuinely was that much left.
We were both only drinking soft drinks but the meal came to about £50, which I guess isn’t too bad considering the amount we ordered/ate. Because it’s away from the high street, I often forget that Imperial Peking is there, but it’s definitely one of my favourite Chinese restaurants, in terms of food anyway.
Love, Lucy xx
Imperial Peking - 67A High St, Brentwood CM14 4RW