All roads lead to China Rose for quality Cantonese cuisine ... that’s what we heard, at least, from family, friends and colleagues.
You, the general public, also agreed, relatively recent Mother’s Day TripAdvisor testimonials from “astounding” to “absolutely gorgeous” and “incredible” to “impeccable” stacking up like crispy duck pancakes. So we decided to use our noodle and follow suit, only adding to concerted chorus of approval after visiting the Bawtry venue, situated at one end of the South Yorkshire market town’s main drag.
First impressions count so, simply fact that they bucked general Sunday night dining trend by accommodating our 9pm late booking, proved impressive in itself. Then there’s dress code, smart casual and correct side of civilized. If we’d wanted to be surrounded by shorts, sleeveless T-shirts, tracksuits, football tops, trainers and strategically ripped designer jeans, we’d have dined at JD Wetherspoon. As we often do.
The Tardis-like building opens up into capacious space, supplemented by 70 more seats in function room, reservable for private parties and corporate events. And last year’s successful VIP food and drink taster session burgeoned into regular Showtime spectaculars, next of which sees sold out April 26 Elvis & The Passionettes, May The American Divas, June Take That covers and July Complete Madness, presumably with Our House Specialty encore.
Oriental decor and overall cleanliness complement south east China dishes on which the eatery’s esteemed reputation has been established over three decades. So to the food, served by assorted staff who were efficient and friendly in equal measure. Speaking of which, Kirin lager - originating from Japan - is methinks ideal crisp accompaniment to these delightful dishes. But I digress!
Spring it may officially be but warming stock broth was first order of the day, long-time favourite Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup (£4.90) joined by Crab Meat & Sweetcorn Soup (£5.50) whose seafood bisque added piquancy to traditional starter.
Then special set dinner for two (£20 each) to capture flavour of expansive but inexpensive menu. Barbecue Spare Ribs, King Prawns with Cashew Nuts, Fillet Steak Cantonese Style and Chicken in Szcheun beckoned but it was the other option that offered most variety.
Pancake Rolls were parcels of perfection, crispy crumbly exteriors giving way to soft succulent fillings that were indeed filling, giving lie to fallacy such carb-heavy fare leaves you feeling hungry hour after consumption.
After restful respite, Chicken with Cashew Nuts proved textural delight, accompanied by Duckling in Orange Sauce, sweet to our taste, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. As syrupy as that dish was, so Soft Shredded Beef in Hot Chilli was spicy, the palate enlivened by savoury speciality that warmed not only our cockles, calling for cooling beer.
To say their Soft Special Fried Rice is nice would be an understatement, not doing justice to fluffy flavoursome creation that proved perfect addition to literally bowl us over.
Management’s mission statement is “you should enjoy the food in a warm and friendly atmosphere”. In that they succeed, leaving these sated diners firmly of opinion kitchen creators, led by head chef and restaurant manager husband and wife team, truly deserve their status as undisputed wok stars.
China Rose, 16 South Parade, Bawtry, DN10 6JH, 01302 710461/711338 www.chinarose.co.uk