Julian Rees Visits China Orchids Restaurant, Cullompton, Devon - Restaurant Review
Julian Rees visits Robby Ho's China Orchids restaurant in Cullompton, Devon and gets slain by the Green Dragon.
Julian Rees visits Robby Ho's China Orchids restaurant in Cullompton and gets slain by the Green Dragon.
Having 5,000 years of history to look back upon, the debate over China’s national flower remains unsettled. OK, so you were probably blissfully unaware of this fact as we all take the English rose for granted, and you probably don’t give it a second thought, but China Orchids restaurant is certainly testament to China’s very visual floral history.
The restaurant is split into three dining rooms: the Peony, the Orchid and the Chrysanthemum, each of whose walls are hand-decorated as well as hosting many delicate and precious blooms. The separate bar area, clad in bamboo, supplies a different ambience for pre- and after-dinner drinks away from the dining area.
Considering the building is Grade II Listed, proprietor Robby Ho has created a contemporary and relaxing environment in the former High Street caf� and guest house.
The restaurant has been open for 6 1/2 years and attracts diners from all over the county. Originally trained as an engineer, Robby returned to catering 12 years ago to follow in his father’s footsteps and to indulge his wife’s love of cooking.
This evening we were to be treated to the Christmas special set meal for two. Not being a common Chinese ingredient, the turkey did, however, not disappoint.
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We started with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres - mainly seafood, the restaurant’s extensive speciality - accompanied by quite the most ornately carved ‘carrot-fish’, fashioned, I’m told, in mere minutes by the nimble-fingered chef.
Following this course was my must-have favourite, crispy duck. In my opinion every trip to a Chinese restaurant should include this and often it’s the measure of the meal, and in this case the homemade hoi sin puts China Orchids amongst my local favourites.
For main course came sizzling turkey in black pepper sauce, pork in sweet soy, and king prawns in a bird’s nest, this time all overlooked by an even more exquisite ‘carrot-eagle’! The turkey was cooked to perfection and as I sat, under the watchful eye of a large, grinning, be-tinselled Buddha, I felt the first tinge of Christmas.
To celebrate we finished off in the traditional way with banana fritters followed by a shot of finest genuine Chinese liqueur locally known as the Green Dragon.
Why not tell us about your favourite chinese restaurant in the comments box at the bottom of this article...
The service was great, the waitresses friendly and helpful, and Robby’s Green Dragon frighteningly intoxicating!
China Orchids Restaurant
20 High Street
Friday and Saturday:"5.30pm -11.30pm
Sunday: Buffet Lunch 12.30pm-2.30pm, Evening 6.00pm-10.30pm
Proprietor: Robby Ho
Head Chef: Poh Woo
Specialising in Cantonese, Peking & Szechuan Cuisine
Aassorted hors d’oeuvres
Cantonese beef dumpling with green pepper
Stir-fried scallops with mange-tout served in a bird’s nest
Peking-style chicken with chilli and sweet bean sauce
In your area you could try:
Yum Sing, Babbacombe Road, Torquay. 01803 293314
The Royal Garden, St Andrew’s Cross, Plymouth. 01752 313138
Fullam Restaurant, Tuly Street, Barnstaple. 01271 328 882
Bird’s Nest Restaurant, Barley Market Street, Tavistock. 01822 610611