When things are all getting a bit hectic and a touch stressy, we have a saying in Begbie Towers … just go Zen.
As in just push away all the negative vibes, stay calm and just get on with things.
Now, as we all know, the season of – at times – enforced jollity and splurging can become a grind.
It was on one such night that Mrs B and I decided to take the “go Zen” mantra literally.
So we went to Zen.
We also took along the offspring formerly known at the World’s Most Perfect Child and his girlfriend. Seeing as how both are the most mellow people we know they were bound to make it a chilled night.
Mellow is also a fine way to describe this elegant Chinese eatery.
Soft lighting, gentle music, decor that suggested feng shui had been at work. Nice place.
Of course, we were there to eat, not meditate … although we did put a lot of thought into what to have.
We had decided “sharesies” was the order of the evening, but putting together an impromptu banquet when some people don’t like this and others don’t like that was a slight challenge.
In the end we decided to share a couple of starters to ensure we could stuff our faces with our mixter maxter of mains.
The crispy pancake rolls were, as billed, crispy, albeit a bit bursting out the ends from the deep fryer. Despite that, they were light on the grease front, heavy on the filling. A melange of ham, shrimp and beansprouts made for a pleasing opening salvo.
The barbecue spare ribs were delicious – although a couple were disappointingly fatty.
A wee pause, a wee bit of banter, a few laughs and it was time for the star attractions.
One of the nice things about share and share alike is the chance to sample dishes you would otherwise just skip over.
Take, for example, the house special curry. My early forays into Chinese food as a teenager involved chicken curry, but I thought I had grown out of it.
Not so, given the way I set about this bad boy. Old school it was, full of chunky onion and peas and that unmistakable aniseedy flavour and gentle tingle of spice. This house version came full of king prawn, roast pork and ham. We liked it.
Still on the spice front, we had asked for kung po chicken.
Wow … if the curry tingled the taste buds this dish took them outside for a hiding. The chilli attack was fierce, but didn’t overwhelm the rest of the flavours. The big garlic hit was present and correct.
Another dish I had never troubled with before was steak Canton. I shall be bothering it again in future.
Sliced fillet, not the tenderest but still full of flavour, was cooked along with onion and served in what was billed as an “oriental sauce”.
This proved to be a dark, sweet affair that added a bit of depth to the dish. Yummy.
The finest choice turned out to be mine, he said modestly.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the seafood supreme. It was a riot of scallops, king prawn and white fish along with those fine meaty mushrooms and excellent crunchy veg.
It came in a subtle sauce that balanced ginger and garlic in just the right proportions, while letting the seafood do all the talking.
Good food, family, easy atmosphere. This was an excellent way to go Zen.