WHEN it comes to going out for a meal, I like to get to my venue in plenty of time. I hate to rush.
So when I got stuck in traffic on my way to Sam’s I got a little stressed. I had to phone ahead to let them know.
Arriving at the King Street venue only five minutes late, me and my mate received a warm welcome and I soon forgot the stress of getting there. Thankfully, the menu was just as inviting.
We decided a set meal was the way to go, it’s a great way of getting a little taste of a variety of dishes.
After some humming and hawing over the merits of each selection, we settled on Set Menu B (£23.50 per person).
First up was a selection of starters to share – melt-in-the mouth Beijing spare ribs in a sticky and fruity sauce; generously-sized spring rolls packed with vegetables and chicken; crisp, golden prawn-filled won tun and sweet and salty seaweed.
With our taste buds tantalised, we looked forward to the next course and, while we had a bit of a wait between courses, it was worth it in the end.
The crispy aromatic duck – tender flakes of lean meat, steamed pancakes and sharp, fruity plum sauce – is always a winning combination.
Rapidly filling up, but still undaunted, we tackled the main course – a selection of three dishes accompanied by egg fried rice.
The mysterious-sounding Guilin pork, with its medallions of meat in a spicy, garlic sauce, was a real discovery.
The four seasons beef was also mouth-watering, packed full of tender meat, peppers and cashew nuts. It was delicious, if a bit mild for my liking.
I’m usually not the greatest fan of lemon chicken, but this, the third dish in our selection, might just have me converted. Often too sweet for me, this one blended a distinctive honey flavour with tangy, citrus kick. The meat was tender too and, best of all, the batter was nice and crisp – not soggy at all.
The egg fried rice made me envious. It was the kind of light, fluffy rice I wish I could cook at home, but constantly fail to.
Chinese food is a real favourite of mine and I’ve eaten in a lot of different restaurants but, strangely, this is the first place where I’ve never been given chopsticks. For me, it is part of the experience and even if my skills leave a lot to be desired (and I end up with half my food across the table), it would have been nice to have the option.
For dessert I decided to forgo the incredibly indulgent-sounding banana fritter and instead went for the creamy, vanilla ice-cream, drizzled in chocolate sauce.
As it was Saturday night the restaurant was packed, so we did have a bit of a wait between courses. But after the rush of getting there, we were happy enough to sit back and enjoy the food and savour the atmosphere. And for that, I’m glad I gave Sam’s the time of day.