On the twenty-first day of Blogmas... I have another restaurant post tonight, as we went to Chinese restaurant, Banquet 1408 for our work team Christmas lunch yesterday. Banquet is quite easily the best Chinese restaurant I’ve ever been to – and it’s worth paying that little bit more for.
There’s six of us in my team, so we were given a large table in the middle of the restaurant, with plenty of room and a revolving table in the middle – perfect as we decided we were going to share dishes. I’ve only ever been to Banquet on a Friday evening after work, but I have to say it was busier this lunchtime, than it ever is from 6pm.
Poppy suggested we should go for the Shanghai set menu (priced at £23.90) – with mixed hors d'oeuvres, Peking duck and a selection of main dishes, including rice. As is usually the way with set menus, we did ask to swap a couple of dishes over, but this simply wasn’t a problem – the staff are always very accommodating.
As we were on our lunch break from work, we asked for the starter platter and aromatic crispy duck to arrive at the same time – this caused one problem: what to eat first?! The mixed hors d'oeuvres were plentiful and there was more than enough to go around the table. The spare ribs at Banquet are by far the best; the meat falls off the bone and the sauce is so sweet and sticky. I love them. I wasn’t a fan of the prawn toast, it was crispy but a little too greasy. The chicken satay proved a hit and there was enough sauce to dunk the vegetable spring rolls too.
We tucked in to the duck before I could even photograph it – but we had a whole duck, well shredded. There must have been around 20 pancakes to go around, but unfortunately a lot of them were stuck together and proved difficult to remove from the steamer. The bottom ones were particularly gelatinous and I ended up eating my final pancake like a wonton, as it was impossible to roll.
We then asked for the main courses to come straight away and our larger plates were replaced with little bowls – and those who couldn’t use chopsticks requested cutlery. We had six dishes between us: crispy shredded beef with chilli, sizzling chicken and beef with green pepper in black bean sauce, sweet & sour chicken Cantonese style and stir fried seasonal vegetables with oyster sauce. We asked for the sautéed pork chop with lemon grass & chilli to be swapped for Kung Po chicken and the special fried rice to be exchanged for an egg fried rice. The rice came in a rather large barrel and while it was lovely, there was far too much of it. In fact, I piled my first bowl so high, there was no room for any rice. Crispy shredded beef is one of my favourite dishes and this was a lot milder than what I’d usually order, but it was good! The chicken and beef in black bean sauce was poured on to the hot plate at the table and was left sizzling before the lid was removed. It smelt incredible – and tasted it, too! The Kung Po chicken was spicy, but luckily the stir-fried greens took the heat away. Those vegetables were divine and everyone remarked on how delicious they were. We struggled to eat everything but we certainly gave it a go – plus, we had to go back to the office!
Considering how busy it was, the service was good – it may have been better had we informed the staff we were on a lunch break and only planned on taking an hour and a half away from work. We managed to pay straight after the table was cleared – and then it was back to the office for the final couple of hours.
Love, Lucy xx