BRIAN CLARIDGE eats at China Diner, in Beaconsfield New Town Telephone: 01494 673 345 / 678 346
THE China Diner in Beaconsfield New Town is an exclusively independent Chinese restaurant specialising in Szechuan and Pekinese food.
The establishment has been a favourite for more than 30 years among locals and customers from further afield, including some famous faces from the world of film and television. Founded in June 1978 by George Li, his pursuit of excellence still guides China Diner, which is now run by his daughter Pui and her husband Eric.
The 80-seat restaurant has a relaxed and sophisticated ambience, with modern red and black decor and stylish furnishings.
The menus are equally impressive, with a wide selection of Chinese dishes covering appetisers, intermediate courses, soups, iron griddle sizzlers, poultry, seafood, beef, lamb, pork, vegetarian, noodles and rice.
If you prefer a set menu, there is a Peking special, Szechuan special, chef's gourmet banquet and vegetarian feast, all for two people, with a selection of dishes from the main menu.
As a lover of Chinese food, I decided to visit China Diner and went there with my wife Denise and our sons Adam and Scott. With so many enticing dishes on offer it is difficult to decide what to choose.
However, the friendly and attentive staff are on hand to guide you through the dishes, which makes the experience more enjoyable.
After pondering over the extensive menu, Denise and I ordered the chef's gourmet banquet, which is for two people (£21.50 per person).
We started with mixed hors d'oeuvres (butterflied prawns in breadcrumbs, chicken satay, spare ribs, spring rolls and seaweed) followed by crispy aromatic duck with pancakes.
The main course includes sizzling prawns in black bean sauce, spicy chilli chicken, crispy beef shreds and egg fried rice. For dessert, we had toffee bananas with ice cream (included in the price) which was the perfect finale to one of the best Chinese meals I have had the pleasure to experience.
Our sons also decided to go for the set menu for two and ordered Szechuan special (£17.50 per person).
Their starters included crispy seaweed, satay chicken skewers, fried 'three spice' pork choplettes and vegetarian spring rolls, followed by Manchurian crispy lamb served in lettuce. Their main course included Szechuan king prawns, dry fried beef with chilli and onion, pan spicy chicken and special fried rice.
The feisty flavours of each dish complemented each other and each course was served with immaculate timing, a credit to our waiter Danny.
The restaurant operates an all-day Sunday special three-course menu for £14.95 (adults) and £8.95 (children up to 12). There is also a special set lunch for £7.50 per person (two courses) or £9.50 per person (three courses) served Monday to Friday.
A Christmas menu is available from November 27 to December 30, with a three-course menu for £20.50 per person.
The restaurant also has a takeaway service. China Diner has won much praise from local and national food critics and customers. Judging by its delicious food, friendly staff and first class service, it is easy to see why.
I highly recommend it.