Thursday, 12 February 2015

Oriental Cantonese - Meanwood, Leeds

As the Chinese New Year is approaching I was asked by Hungry House to review a local Chinese takeaway in parallel with their interactive guide to create your own Chinese Feast. The chosen takeaway was a place I had never ordered from before, as I already have my set favourite in Roundhay, but willing to try somewhere different I agreed to try out Oriental Cantonese in Meanwood. 

I tried to order a good variety of dishes as well as my personal favourites. Rest assured D and I as well as two housemates and a housemate boyfriend did not manage to eat all of the dishes featured in this post in one night. It was a feast beyond proportion as the dishes were so cheap! 

Firstly I want to tell you about our trip to collect. Having read the reviews in Hungry House's website some of them said the food was cold, which I presumed may be due to the delivery driver, so trying to avoid this we ordered to collect. 

When we arrived I was taken back a little, I've never before seen tables and chairs set out in a Chinese takeaway... No one was sat in them. Neither was anyone in there waiting for food. Like I've mentioned we had quite a big order, so we had to wait around a while and during this time only one person came in to collect their food. 

It's hard to describe how it was laid out inside and I'm beginning to wish I had taken a picture. It was like we had just walked in to China. There was a strange platform towards the back where the kitchen was situated and you could see the chef cooking it all. A two person band there was the chef and the woman who took orders and packed everything up. The look of the place really didn't fill me with joy, with their plastic table cloths, electric fire place in the middle of the 'waiting area' and grease stains dripping down the walls. 

We arrived home with our box of food and started to lay it out. We all dipped in to the various dishes and ate it sort of tapas style I guess, each of us picking our favourites and recommending (or not) the many many different types of food that laid before us. 

The order here is not the order in which I ate the food, but instead the order I pulled them out of the box and took a picture. 

Pineapple fritters (£1.50)

These were horrendous! I've never had one before but I'm pretty certain it isn't supposed to taste like wet dog! 

Duck pancakes (£6.80)

Hopes weren't high when the pancakes came in a plastic bag, the duck wasn't quite 'ducky' enough for me but it made an okay wrap with the plum sauce and veg. 

Crispy seaweed (Part of the combination starter) 

This came in tiny little samosas, a little unconventional but so moreish! I think I ate most of these to myself... 

Fortune cookies (free!) 

Always good for a giggle, especially when the loved up housemate's fortune is that a new romance is on the horizon - her chap didn't look too pleased! 

Egg fried rice (£1.70)

You'd think you couldn't go wrong with egg fried rice but I've had some horrendous rice in my time, this was pretty good to be fair and I couldn't fault it. 

Crispy beef (£3.80)

This was the all out favourite dish between us (bar the veggie for obvious reasons). I've never ordered this from a Chinese takeaway before but it was crispy and slathered in sweet and sour sticky sauce. I'd order these over my favourite next time and I'm eager to try it in my local too. 

Sharing combination platter starter (£5.80)

Comprising of prawn toast, crispy won tons, salt and pepper ribs and spring rolls. The ribs were a bit dry and I've had better elsewhere, the spring roll was good and there was good reports of the prawn toast from the housemate. 

Chicken satay (£3.50)

The picture doesn't do it justice. Again I have had some pretty poor satay in my lifetime, this wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst. It was quite enjoyable and I've even managed to have it again the next day for leftovers tea. 

Crunchy chicken in chilli garlic sauce (£3.60)

Wasn't really anything crispy about this chicken, it was more just chicken strips in the same sauce as the crispy beef. A's chap wolfed it down nevertheless. 

Some soup? 

We didn't order this it was just in the box with everything else, it could have been sauce, it could have been soup I'm not so sure! I dipped my spring roll in to it but I couldn't taste anything past spring roll. 

Curry sauce (£1.20)

A must have in my Chinese takeaway. I am a fiend for chips and I love Chinese chips, thick soggy in the middle and crispy at the ends. I didn't take a picture of the chips but trust me they were good old Chinese chips and this curry sauce, with what tasted like inflects of coconut, went well with a chip dunked in. 

Crispy fried shredded chicken (£3.60)

Again not so crispy, perhaps a bit soggy maybe from the polystyrene and tin foil wrapping. Not my favourite but A liked it. 

Fried broccoli (£3.00)

Just tasted like boiled broccoli really, save yourself £2.50 and make this at home. 

Beef in black bean sauce (£3.50)

The sauce was really nice, the beef was a bit chewy for me but it went down well with everyone else. 

Mixed Vegetables Fried Rice (£4.00) 

Pretty much egg fried rice with veg. It was okay but if I was a veggie I'd be disappointed I was missing out on the flavours of China in this dish. 

Chicken chow mein (£4.30) 

Usually my staple dish from a Chinese takeaway, although I'm starting to resent buying it from Chinese takeaways as I've found I can make better or similar at home. This was a 'wet' chow mein and this is my preference plus there was plenty of sauce. The noodles were a little too thin for my liking. 

In addition to this we had a bottle of pop and a carrier bag of free prawn crackers. I took a picture of neither, apologies but I'm sure you can guess what they look like. 

All of us were full or beyond following this feast, most of the dishes ranged between £3.50-6.80 with the duck naturally being the most expensive. It's almost half the price of my local on some of the dishes and my local doesn't deliver either... but then again it is only 5 minutes away (walking).  If I ever have a craving for crispy beef, chips and curry sauce and it's raining/sleeting/hurricaning or I'm just being lazy I'll be ordering from here, even with the delivery charge it would be cheaper than my local. 

If you fancy having your own Chinese feast to celebrate the Chinese New Year why not make some accessories too? Download the PDF and follow the instructions on this blog. Oh and if you hashtag it #hungrylantern you could win a £25 Hungry House voucher! Competition ends on 19.02.2015

Here's my attempt! 

And here's D's attempt

Hungry House also provided a cocktail recipe, but we're shying off the booze a little at the mo', but if you fancy making a Chinese themed cocktail for your feast here's the recipe:

Chinese-inspired cocktail recipe:
Lychee and Peppercorn Mojito

8 fresh mint leaves
1tsp Demerara Sugar
1/2 lime
20ml Homemade Peppercorn Syrup
Ice - preferably crushed
25ml Kwai Feh Lychee Liqueur
25ml Dark Rum (Brugal Anejo is ideal)

In a tall glass add half a lime cut into quarters with the sugar and give it a really good muddle.

Tear up the mint leaves, add them to the glass and pour the peppercorn syrup over the top.  

Half fill the glass with ice and add the rum and lychee liqueur.

Give everything a good stir to churn all the ingredients around the glass to create a balanced drink.

Add a little more ice, and a dash of soda or tonic water to taste.

For a non-alcoholic version you can substitute the alcohol with 2 whole fresh Lychees and 50ml Apple Juice.

Finished cocktail should look something like this;

If you fancy ordering from Oriental Cantonese here's the link on Hungry House:

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