The snow slowed everyone down this week. Yesterday, I paid a JCB to dig me out of captivity near Roundwood, and undertook a genuinely treacherous and very scary journey to Dublin.
My sister Barbara, meanwhile, decided to cheer herself up by availing of the swanky €20 lunch offer- starter, main, and a glass of house wine – in the recently relocated China Sichuan. She got stuck in traffic in the Sandyford Industrial Estate and arrived for lunch half an hour late.
She ran from the car through the outdoor misery and got soaked. But, she says, her spirits lifted very soon. Inside the China Sichuan, she was greeted by a genuinely friendly waiter who made sure to give them a table by the radiator. He told them that, of over 80 lunch covers booked, at least half had cancelled because of the bad weather.
Barbara is an avid foodie and a great cook. She was impressed with the wide choice on offer for €20. She opted for the Crispy Spring Rolls as a starter and was pleasantly surprised by what she got.
“It wasn’t what I expected at all,” she says. “They had chicken and a savoury sauce inside, which tasted of garlic and spring onion. With four pieces, it was a decent-sized portion.” Her friend enjoyed the deep-fried prawns, which came with a sweet chilli sauce.
Her main, Kun Po (Chicken with Cashew Nuts fried with Chinese vinegar and chili oil) was well presented, and tasted delicious. Spicy Sichuan Beef went down well, with both dishes praised for their freshness and lack of gloopiness – something Barbara swears bedevils Chinese food in Ireland.
Outside this lunch offer, China Sichuan is far from cheap, with mains ranging from €17 for pork to €28 for fish. This long-standing establishment has a reputation as Ireland’s best Chinese restaurant, but it’s too pricey for this rarely-employed freelance journalist, except as a very occasional treat.
However, they’re now offering a lunch menu for €16; I’m almost certainly heading there after the next payday. Indeed, for anyone who is short of work or money or has just lost their job, but still fancies eating out, lunch is the time to go. It’s almost invariably cheaper (or should be), and there’s no need to run back to the office – what a pleasant way to spend the afternoon!