The circumstances which thwarted my lightly laid plans and led me to eat out of Beijing’s kitchen rather than that originally expected need not detain us here.
Suffice to say, any unexpected turn of events which carries one over the threshold of this excellent restaurant are to be roundly applauded as serendipitous.
Long a personal favourite, under two – so far as am aware – different managements this longstanding Leyland establishment has turned out first rate Chinese/Cantonese cuisine for the decade and more it has been on my radar, and no doubt before.
The Chapel Brow eaterie offers friendly smiling staff and a cosy little dining area, the decor simple and tasteful, bright pictures of colourful landscapes, Buddhas, lions, dragons and sundry dotted tastefully here and there.
A cornucopia of starters is always our chosen path to enlargement, and so the gamut from soup to dumplings via meat on the bone soon lay on the table before us.
Won ton soup, clear rich savoury broth, laden with crisp mixed vegetables, and soft yielding parcels of piping hot succulence.
A mountain of ribs, salt and pepper, crisp crumb, tender meat-laden and zingy shrouded beneath a thick cloak of spicy dark fried shredded chilli, garlic and spring onion.
From the steamer arrived sia mai (pork and prawn), sweet moist blobs of sausagey meat and har kau (prawn) translucent white wobbly shells, eggy and moreish.
And the duck. Skin crisp as a complementary prawn cracker, flesh piled high with pancakes, julienned veg and plum sauce to match.
Close to overwhelmed, the main courses arrived with their inevitable fate – tomorrow’s delicious lunch – more or less sealed, but a game effort was made to enjoy all we could fresh from the pan.
Hot and spicy king prawns ticked all boxes, the sauce steaming rich and sticky with a big chilli punch, the prawns plump and cooked to burst juicy and fresh at the bite, bamboo shoots and onions bringing crunch and sweetness.
Special fried rice was a light fluffy cloud but a hearty plateful, shot through with yielding beef, tender char shui pork, chicken, shreds of soft omelette and more of those marvellous prawns.
All delicious, all quite out of the blue as of one hour prior to taking the first bite.
Serendipity is seldom so tasty.