PEOPLE always say to never judge a book by its cover and I found the same is true of the China Moon restaurant on the A1 at Colsterworth.
From the outside it does not look much different to many of the roadside restaurants up and down the country but as soon as you walk through the doors it is like a different world.
I was taken aback by the lovely design of the restaurant with its decorative trees, contrasting lighting and even a fish tank.
As soon as we walked through the doors on a cold Monday night the waiter came straight over with a smile to greet us and show us to our table.
We were the only people in there but as it was a Monday night this did not deter us and to start we ordered the quarter duck with pancakes and the salt and chilli squid.
After being served our drinks and some prawn crackers it was not long until the starter arrived.
The duck came in one piece and was shredded for us at the table, which was another nice touch.
By this stage you would be forgiven for forgetting you were sitting metres from the A1 northbound if it wasn’t for the noise of the traffic, which was not deafening but it was overwhelming the background music.
I started on the pancakes - without the duck as I don’t eat meat - and they were lovely. My partner Marc said the pancakes with duck was nice as well.
Then I tried what turned out to be my favourite part of the meal - the squid. The flavours were fantastic and the coating on the well cooked squid was thin and tasty. What was especially good is that you could see the chilli in the sauce, which allowed you to pick how spicy you wanted it to be.
For main course we ordered a selection of sweet and sour king prawn Hong Kong style, King Prawns and Scallops in a ‘birds nest’ and chicken with mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
To accompany them we had egg fried rice and plain noodles.
The sweet and sour dish was really delicious and the amount of prawns was generous. It was nice to mix this with the less rich sauce, which coated the prawns and scallops in the solid noodle structure of the ‘nest’.
I only found three scallops and there were not as many prawns but this is probably to be expected given the price of the luxury seafood.
The only disappointment I faced in the main course were the noodles, which tasted slightly overdone. Not so bad that you wouldn’t eat them but nowhere near as nice as the dish could have been.
The chicken with mushrooms looked really nice and Marc said it tasted good as well.
Unfortunately we were full pretty quickly and there was still loads of food left but they offered to bag it up for us to take home - it tasted nice the next night as well, although I’m not sure if it helps the waistline much!
Out of curiosity we decided to look at the puddings. There wasn’t a huge range but I don’t know anyone who’s had dessert at a Chinese restaurant before so maybe it doesn’t happen that often.
I avoided the fritters because I wanted something less greasy so I selected the toffee banana, which was one of the only options other than ice cream. I should have asked for clarification of what it was because after a short wait four battered balls of banana were placed in front of me. It seemed like the same batter you get with pork balls with sweet and sour and it definitely was not for me.
Other than the dessert the meal was lovely, far above the standard of the usual roadside restaurant but not the best I have had.
By Suzie Pike - Three Stars.