IT is not clear from the outside of Grantham’s Hop Sing Chinese restaurant just how special this place is.
Other than it being a favourite with many of our Readers of the Week I didn’t really know much about the Tudor-fronted restaurant so I decided to give it a go.
I was nearly put off by the tired looking outside and the empty menu board that greet you but the smell of the food made me continue through the door - and I would urge other people to do the same.
The decor on the inside is quite old-fashioned but the boothed seating was really nice to give you some privacy but also keep the atmosphere.
After a really friendly greeting from the staff, who were brilliant throughout, my partner and I set about choosing from the extensive menu.
The first thing that caught my eye was the vegetarian pancakes, an alternative to the traditional duck pancakes. They are not available in that many Chinese restaurants.
On the one occasion I have tried them before I remember them tasting fantastic. And I have to say they lived up to expectation.
The mix of vegetables, including a lot of sliced baby corn, was delicious in the light sauce. There was easily enough for several people and after I gave up on the eating challenge I was thrilled when the waiter offered to get me a doggy bag for the remainder.
My partner, not wanting to make the mistake of eating too much for starter, ordered prawn toast. This is one of his favourites and he ate it all.
For main course we ordered scallops with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, chicken with black bean sauce and sweet and sour king prawn. To accompany them we had noodles and egg fried rice.
All of the dishes were generously sized and I was surprised by how many scallops there were, although this is reflected in the high prices. The prawns, which were coated in a light batter and served with the usual sweet and sour vegetables, were really nice and balanced perfectly against the more water-based sauce in the scallops.
But my favourite part of the main course had to be the scallops themselves. I’ve never seen so many on one plate and they were incredibly well cooked. Not a single one of them tasted chewy and the sauce was delicate enough not to overwhelm them. It was fantastic.
My partner said the chicken in black bean sauce was also really tasty and it went down very well with the ‘awesome’ Chinese beer that he had to accompany the meal.
Unfortunately it wasn’t long before we were defeated by the size of the dishes.
After my first impressions there are very few negatives I have from my experience at Hop Sing. If I’m being fussy the noodles were a bit over-cooked for my liking. But the main thing would have to be the price. You are paying for quality dishes but you are paying quite a lot - although you could pick some cheaper options to the dishes we chose.
After payday I may well go back.
Review by Suzie Pike