Year of the Dragon at Ying’s Palace

Main course

The Beers

Ying’s Palace

Celebrated the coming of the Year of the Dragon, a little on the late side, with a very tasty meal indeed at Ying’s Palace in Mayfield last night. This is a really well appointed restaurant with a high degree of space and comfort and consistently good food. But, like many Chinese establishments, the take-away business outshines the sit-down!

Amazing really that Chinese cuisine, which is so well established in Ireland, has not really crossed over to our regular restaurants. We’ve got a huge French input, a substantial Italian and Spanish influence, quite a hefty contribution from the Maghreb (cous cous, tagine) but very little from the Chinese.

I was thinking that when our starter arrived. By the way, we had picked one of the set menus which included a glass of wine for a total of €22.80. They have other marginally cheaper set menus along with a four course multi-choice special offer for just €15.59, a great way to try out the place.

Getting back to last night, we started off with a plate of irresistible Prawn Crackers. Polished them off quickly and there was precious little resistance when we were offered a second plate by our very friendly hostess.

Then on to the substantial main starter: Crispy Aromatic Duck (served with strips of spring onions, cucumbers, carrots, pancakes and Hoisin Sauce). I really enjoyed this, a terrific combination and one that might catch on in mainstream restaurants! Finger wipes were supplied as standard service.

Next up was a big bowl of very warm soup: Crabmeat and sweet corn. Just what you’d need on a showery wintry evening, really excellent. By this stage, I had sipped my last drop of the free wine, a very acceptable Cabernet Sauvignon from Valle Andino (Chile). A glass would normally cost €4.90, a bottle €16.80. Good prices!

They had Chinese beer listed on the menu at €3.90 a bottle. Tsingtao is bottled in China and has the usual ingredients, except that rice is added. The rice seems to give it extra flavour and roundness and I must say I absolutely enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a few. The other beer that we got was Tiger. This regular lager is brewed in Singapore and more widely available and very drinkable.

So now, we were ready for the double barrelled main course: Fillet beef with black pepper sauce and King Prawn Szechuan, both served sizzling! And accompanied by either chips or fried rice. We took one dish of each. Loved those prawns, each a soft explosion of taste redolent of the sea and complimented by the other flavours.

The beef – all their beef is Irish – was so tender I could have cut it with a spoon and so tasty. The black pepper sauce is what it says on the tin so you’d better be aware of that before you order. We enjoyed every piece.

Now we were full and had just begun to sip our coffee (included) when our hostess came to the table with a slice of homemade cheesecake, on the house!

We wished her well for the New Year, hoping the Dragon would be kind to her. “I hope he will be kind to all peoples,” she graciously replied. And so say all of us.