When I heard that one of Scarborough’s longest established restaurants had changed its name, I was keen to find out if anything else had changed.
I’ve been a fairly regular customer at what was formerly the Hong Kong in York Place over the years, celebrating birthdays and family gatherings there more times than I can remember.
In fact it was the first restaurant I ever visited as a youngster, where I had my first taste of Chinese food.
No pressure then, as we arrived full of curiosity on a Sunday evening to see what the “new” restaurant would have in store.
The first thing I noticed is that decor-wise, nothing has changed. The interior is traditional as Chinese restaurants go, with a red and black theme.
The silk hangings and intricate black lanterns I have become familiar with over the years are still present – not that it’s a bad thing.
The restaurant has always been welcoming and that hasn’t changed.
Staff are polite and courteous from the minute you set foot inside, always greeting you with a smile.
I didn’t expect it to be busy being a Sunday, but a few couples were dining and more popped in to collect takeaways during the night.
The menu is as extensive as ever, but has altered along with the new name. There is plenty of choice, with all the old favourites you would expect at a Chinese restaurant, and set meal options also available.
Starters come in at around the £5 mark, with choices including satay chicken (£5.90), sesame prawn toast (£5.50) and salt and pepper spare ribs (£5.90).
We opted to go straight to the main courses, with a menu so extensive it could make your head spin.
Chow mein, curry, black bean and Szechuan dishes abound, with plenty on offer for veggies and seafood fans as well as meat lovers.
We ordered vegetable curry with rice (£6.90), Szechuan sizzling vegetables with rice (£7.90) and a portion of chips.
We also asked if the sizzling dish could be adapted with the addition of cashew nuts, which was not a problem at all.
The food arrived very quickly and smelt and looked very appetising.
We both really enjoyed our main course – both dishes were colourful and packed with flavour, the Szechuan dish having just the right amount of peppery spice.
The chips are also worth a mention as they are “proper” chips, not the frozen cheat’s variety!
The menu also has lots to offer those with a sweet tooth, such as toffee sundae (£3.50), banoffee temptation (£3.50) and peach melba (£2.80).
We ordered pineapple melba (£2.80) and Baileys cheesecake (£3.50), which were both lovely and really good value for money, especially the melba dish.
It may not be reinventing the wheel, but a trip to the Oriental is as enjoyable now as it ever was.
I would recommend it both on the food and the polite, efficient service. The restaurant is still my top choice for a Chinese treat in Scarborough – even after 30-odd years.
Menu choice 9