This week my companion and I decided to try a meal at Tang restaurant on Fylde Road in Ashton, as part of a series of the best and worst rated Preston restaurants on TripAdvisor. As I am not permitted to disclose the true identity of my companion, I will now refer to her as,”Finicky.”
Praised for “authentic dim sum, great staff and delicious food,” in reviews, it is currently the highest rated Chinese restaurant on the popular customer review website.
I had booked a table for two at 8pm on Tuesday evening, which turned out to have been a wise move. The restaurant was surprisingly busy, resulting in a lively, bustling atmosphere.
We were greeted immediately by a friendly waiter, shown to our table, and given the menus. From a past visit a few years ago I was excited to try some dishes that aren’t found in many other Chinese restaurants in the area. However, the menu we were given, although extensive, didn’t contain anything too adventurous.
The restaurant itself was brightly lit, and clean. Perhaps not the place for a romantic meal, but perfect for group nights out with the option to have a go at karaoke in a separate room.
Whilst we were deciding what to have, a very generous basket of prawn crackers was brought to the table. I informed Finicky that I’m not a big fan of them, tried one, realised that they were fabulous, and started conveyor-belting them into myself in a manner that alarmed both of us. Eventually Finicky moved them out of reach to the chair next to her and we both pretended it hadn’t happened.
We took a long time choosing what to order as I am an excitable Jack of all foods, whilst Finicky prefers to specialise in about seven different variations of the same thing. Fortunately, three of the permissible dishes were on the menu; chicken and sweet corn soup, salt and pepper chicken as a main course and noodles with beansprouts to accompany.
I chose several smaller plates; soft shell crab, Shanghai soup-filled pork dumplings, and mini glutinous rice in lotus leaves. The glutinous rice was a panic-order as I still hadn’t decided on everything when the patient waiter returned to the table for the third time. I was also still a little shaken from the prawn cracker incident. As the waiter added the rice to the list he cautioned me not to eat the lotus leaves.
As the food was brought to the table with another warning not to eat the lotus leaves, I realised that I had ordered too much for just the two of us. The crab in a light crispy, spiced batter was bigger than I expected and cooked and seasoned perfectly, although very similarly to the large portion of salt and pepper chicken. Both were excellent, but next time I would order one or the other instead of both.
The noodles had plenty of flavour, as did the chicken and sweetcorn soup. The minced pork dumplings contained mild Chinese seasoning and went well with the accompanying bowl of soy dipping sauce.
Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy my panic choice of glutinous rice parcels as I found them far too ricey, which was unsurprising as I dislike rice. I wanted to like them as they were beautifully wrapped in lotus leaves that gave them a subtle smell a little like green tea. They also had an interesting, savoury filling which may have been mushroom and sausage based. I didn’t eat the lotus leaves.
When the waiter cleared the plates he asked us if we enjoyed the food and I said that it was fantastic, but the lotus leaf was really tough and didn’t taste very nice. He gave me a defeated look, and when I said I was teasing he told me that past customers had been known to try to eat not only the lotus leaves but the rice paper as well. I laughed, whilst pretending to myself that that I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I hadn’t been warned repeatedly.
The bill for the food and two pints of coke came to £40 including a much deserved £5 tip. No alcohol for us this evening, but I noticed that a bottle of house wine costs about £17. We also took with us two cartons of leftovers which would have easily been a full meal for a big eater.
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We enjoyed our Tang visit very much. The only thing that I found disappointing was that in addition to the English menu, there is also a Chinese menu. Looking at that menu on the website the next morning I saw many interesting dishes I’d never heard of, containing ingredients I would have loved to sample such as five spiced marinated duck tongues or hotpot with chicken, saltfish and tofu. Unfortunately we weren’t given the opportunity to choose from the Chinese menu, so we missed out on trying food that isn’t available anywhere else in Preston. I hope that next time we are given that option.
I believe that Tang deserves its place in the upper echelons of TripAdvisor’s highest rated restaurants. In addition to many meat and seafood dishes there are a good number of vegetarian and vegan options, and they seem willing to adapt to any dietary needs.
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There are some steps up to the entrance which might be difficult for some, so it would be best to check with the restaurant if that might be a problem.
Have you tried the food or karaoke at Tang? Let us know if you enjoyed it in the comments