“ 15 Bridge Lane,Frodsham, Cheshire, WA6 7HJ. Tel:0871 434 8958 „
I had arranged to meet fellow Dooyooer Koshka, for a meal in Frodsham, which is a nice little town near to the M56 in Cheshire. We decided to meet at the Chinese Delight Restaurant just outside of the town. The restaurant is on the main road through Frodsham, the A 56.
So that I could have a pint (or three) I persuaded my husband to drop me off in the car park which is large and well laid out. I was looking forward to meeting Koshka and walked straight in to the rather plain looking building to the left of the car park.
I was met, not by a smiling waiter, not by a smiling Koshka, not by pretty oriental decoration. None of these things at all! I was met by a rather harassed looking lady with an arm full of ironing! She looked at me quizzically. I looked at her quizzically. I realised that I had wandered in to a private house. Apologising profusely and rather confusedly, I backed out.
Sometimes I wonder if I have got a complete set of marbles because, having hurriedly removed myself before I got an ironing board wrapped around my ears, I looked around and there at the bottom of the slope from the car park, was a great big, lit up, unequivocally Chinese, Chinese Delight Restaurant.! How I missed it I do not know!
We decided, Koshka and I, that I would wear my pink boots so that she would recognise me. They went well with my, by now, pink face. I sat on the wall and lit a cigarette. What a good start to the evening!
I thought I might have to do a bit of boot waving to anybody who passed me by, but disappointingly I didn't get to show my lovely new boots off because Koshka was the next person to arrive. She very sensibly drove into the other carpark at the back of the restaurant. (I hadn't seen that either!) Having exchanged passwords and made sure that I wasn't walking into a restaurant with a total stranger, we went in.
This time we did get a smiling waiter, oriental decoration and a little bridge spanning a fish pool. I gazed at the fish for a few moments then remembered my manners and followed Koshka into the bar. We were seated by a very smiley and attentive Jonathon who wisely left us to gab until we remembered we were there to eat as well. The bar area was comfortably decked out with settees and low tables.
Although Jonathon checked if we were ready to order a couple of times, I didn't feel as though he was putting pressure on us to hurry along. I enjoyed this bit of space to just relax and get acquainted.
Eventually we remembered that we were there to eat and consulted the very comprehensive menus we had been given. I ordered Ribs for starters and Prawns in Chili sauce for my main course. Koshka ordered Crab and Sweetcorn soup and Seafood Casserole for mains. We carried on nattering for a few minutes and then we were asked to come through to our table.
The main body of the restaurant is quite spacious and obviously caters for large groups as well as couples or families. The decor was pleasing and not too theatrically Chinese. I enjoyed the painted red wooden fixtures and the Chinese vases and artefacts scattered about the room. There were a lot of different banquets on offer on the menu and I think it would be a good place to come with or for a party and to try the many different plates that the various banquets offered. The staff seemed very efficient to me as they looked after a party of about twelve that arrived as we were eating. I was fairly impressed that the layout of the place seemed to absorb the sound, the large group were enjoying themselves but I didn't feel impinged upon by the noise they were making.
Our table was a decent size and set with spotless white linen and gleaming cutlery. When my plate of ribs arrived I was fairly impressed with the size of them and the amount. For a starter I thought it was a generous portion. A finger bowl was provided, which is just as well because it's impossible to eat ribs without getting messy. (It is for me anyway!) They were tasty and juicy and managed to avoid being laden with fat as some ribs are. I really enjoyed them and found them quite filling. My companion enjoyed her soup but found it a bit short on crabmeat. (She didn't get crabby about it though!)
Our glasses were refilled promptly and emptied fairly promptly too! I was drinking lager and apparently impressing the waiter with my capacity to not fall under the table. (I think Koshka was just jealous!) I did enjoy not having the responsibility of having to drive though!
We were given a few minutes breathing space before our main courses arrived. I enjoy that because I hate to feel rushed by staff. My King Prawns were tasty but not spectacular. The noodles were very pleasant and had a good texture. There were a few veg mixed in with them for some extra flavour. The sauce on the prawns was a little glutinous and I wondered if it was freshly made or not. I suspect not, but I might be doing the Chefs an injustice. Koshka's casserole looked good but she kept raiding the prawn sauce for a bit of extra flavour.
Whilst waiting for our coffees to arrive I went in search of the toilets. They were clean and roomy. I think that there would be no problem here for people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility.
Our coffee arrived with quite a few chocolate mints and the bill. The coffee was not particularly good but I have yet to visit a Chinese restaurant that does very good coffee. It was passable, just.
The bill, with the tip, came to just under £50.00, not cheap but not expensive either considering the amount of drinks we had had before and with the meal.
As we were leaving we had a proper look at the very impressive fish pond. It seemed to circumnavigate about a third of the restaurant in about an 18 inch wide and deep trough. I wondered if the larger fish had to have a one way system with roundabouts at either end but sadly I couldn't see the ends. (I didn't think scrabbling about below the tables to have a look, would go down very well with the remaining diners!) The fish looked very healthy and didn't seem at all anxious about whether they were next on the menu. I thought the fish pond was a really nice touch.
Overall it was a pleasant way to spend an evening, the decor was pleasing and the furniture comfortable. The food was not spectacularly good but it wasn't bad either and we had only tried a small and not terribly adventurous sample. My companion was fun to be with. The staff were friendly and helpful without being obtrusive. I'd go back without too much persuasion.
~*~ Opening times ~*~
Mon to Saturday 12-2pm, 5.30-11.30pm
Sunday 12-2pm, 5.30-11pm
~*~Telephone number for reservations~*~
One of the nice things about writing reviews is that every now and then you get to know someone on a site and then realise that they actually live not far from where you live or work and friendships can move from the internet to the real world. Such was the case recently when I arranged to meet for dinner with a fellow member of dooyoo.co.uk. After debating the various options we worked out that for both of us Frodsham could be a handy location and I suggested 'that Chinese place on the way into Frodsham from the Preston Brook end of the town'. I think most people in the area would know it from that description but a bit of googling quickly identified the restaurant name as the Chinese Delight.
Frodsham, for those unfamiliar with the area is located just south of the M56 between Junctions 12 and 13 and offers scenic views towards the far-from-scenic ICI chemical works that used to be known as Icky-city until ICI flogged it to the Belgian firm, Ineos. I don't know what the locals call it now but it's still ugly. It's also not too far from Stanlow oil refinery but despite Frodsham's rather large, sparkly and sometimes whiffy neighbours, it's a lovely little town that's always worth a visit.
Despite not knowing its name, I've been going to the Chinese Delight (admittedly not very frequently) for about 17 years. It's always had a fantastic reputation and is very dependable, though admittedly, not cheap. Nobody wants to meet someone new in an e-coli infested hovel and be condemned to be eternally referred to as "That stupid woman who chose a lousy restaurant" so I thought this was a pretty safe choice.
I turned up just before 7pm to find Gill having a crafty ciggie outside the front door and flashing the pink boots that she'd told me would help me to identify her. They were rather more subtle than I'd expected - when someone says "You'll not be able to miss me, I'll be wearing pink boots" you do rather suspect bright pink rubber waders or something fairly spectacular. However, it wasn't as if there was too much opportunity for confusion as nobody else was waiting outside.
It was a Thursday night and the car park was already nearly full so the signs were good that the restaurant was riding the recession without too much trouble which is also a very good indication that we could expect good food inside. In recent months I've noticed that a lot of restaurants that would once have been strictly 'advanced booking only' are looking rather empty or being forced to offer bargain dinner deals to keep the punters in. Chinese Delight shows no indication of needing to do either.
Through the front door the first thing that grabs the attention of most diners is the fish pond though maybe I should call it the fish trough. It's a narrow moat-like affair that runs from one side of the restaurant to the other, passing round the corners and under the entrance way. It's quite narrow in places and I suspect that some of the bigger fish have to head for the area near the door just to get space to turn round in though they all look pretty happy and healthy (if a fish can be said to be happy).
We were shown to a seating area with lots of couches and brought some menus by a very smiley waiter called Jonathon who kept smiling each time he returned to see if we'd stopped gassing long enough to choose some food. With our drinks and our menus at hand we ploughed through several pages of 'banquets' to get to the normal food listings. Why so many banquets? Well you can't help but notice that the Chinese Delight is very popular with large groups. However a banquet for two when one eats meat and the other doesn't wasn't really a good option and we picked some favourite dishes, placed our orders and got back to drinking and chatting. About ten minutes later another waiter appeared and led us to our table.
I'd forgotten just how big the Chinese Delight is. The main dining area is a whopper with dozens of tables of all sorts of sizes and configurations. The room is decorated with lots of highly polished or carved red wood. There room is so large that it's held up by lots of wooden pillars decorated in oriental style but without going over the top into cartoon-like orientalism. These pillars also help to subdivide a very large room into more manageable sized areas.
I had ordered crabmeat and sweetcorn soup, Gill had ribs. My bowl was of a good size though the soup was a rather unnatural shade of bright yellow and I think the balance of crabmeat to sweetcorn would have made it more appropriate to call it a sweetcorn and crab soup or possibly even a sweetcorn and egg soup with a teensy bit of crab. What it lacked in crab it fortunately made up for in flavour and what little crab there was present was at least the real stuff and not crabstick. I have to say that the soup prices were quite low at around £3.20 if I remember correctly so I probably shouldn't grumble. The ribs were apparently delicious though I'll have to take that on trust. They certainly looked enormous and very juicy and I could see that there was plenty of meat on the bones. They were delivered with hot towels and a finger bowl for the use of anyone more likely to wear them than to eat them.
Main courses followed ten minutes or so after the starters were cleared. I had ordered a Chinese Delight Special Seafood Casserole and my companion had stir-fried king prawns in chilli sauce so we could both have a pick at each other's food. I'd ordered mine with boiled rice and she had hers with fried noodles.
I'd wanted a dish with plenty of different ingredients and textures as I tend to find that many oriental restaurant dishes are a bit too simple - if the menu says prawns and chilli then you get prawns and chilli rather then prawns and several different types of vegetables with chilli which is how I'd always make a dish at home. I want to find something where each spoonful has the potential to be different from the last and my casserole certainly delivered on that. With a variety of different seafood including king prawns, small bits of squid, think slices of scallop and a couple of oversized slabs of fried fish complete with batter, there was no shortage of tastes and textures on the fishy side. Vegetable wise I had pea pods, sliced pak choi and pieces of carrot to mix up the colours and flavours. The only thing missing - and there was no particular reason for it to be there - was any sense of zing about the sauce. If I had been on my own, I'd have asked for some chilli sauce to zap it up a bit but instead I was able so scrounge some from the prawn dish and make mine a bit more interesting.
The prawn dish seemed a bit on the simple side for me and whilst it was very nice, I didn't think it had taxed the chef too much to combine a chilli sauce similar in style and texture to a dipping sauce with a load of big prawns. The quality and quantity of the prawns was good and I guess the noodles would have added a bit of additional texture and there were a few bits of veg in the noodles to bring a hint of green stuff to a meal that would otherwise not have helped anyone towards their five a day!
By the time we were through the main courses we'd talked a lot, a considerable volume of lager and diet coke had been consumed and neither of us wanted puddings but we were having too much fun to stop so we ordered more coke/lager and a couple of coffees which were generously accompanied by plenty of chocolate mints. Jonathon the waiter brought the bill with a giggle and was clearly in awe of Gill's skill at necking down pints of lager without any side effects. His admiration was clear to see as he giggled away processing the payment. For the two of us the bill came to just over £50 which was pretty much what I'd expected - not cheap but not outrageously expensive either. We'd had a lovely evening and that was what mattered.