Chinese food has always been a favourite of mine, so the chance to dine at a new restaurant, with a menu created by an award-winning chef, was hugely appealing.
Shanghai Teahouse is a beautifully-designed Cantonese restaurant, which opened its doors in Bothwell last week.
Located on Hamilton Road, it’s just a short drive from the M74, in the heart of a beautiful but busy village. The interior is beautifully presented, with a homely but elegant feel to it.
The menu was always going to impress, given that it has been created by Asian-Scots celebrity chef Jimmy Lee.
Jimmy, from the multi-awarding winning Lychee Oriental in Glasgow, has spent months mentoring the kitchen team at Shanghai Teahouse, and it definitely shows, having designed a menu that combines traditional flavours with modern cooking techniques.
We opted for a sharing platter as our starter, and it did not disappoint. The chargrilled chicken satay skewers were cooked to perfection, and the satay sauce had a good afterburn, which you wouldn’t expect at first.
The wontons were filled with chicken and pork, and were very moreish, while the spring rolls – not normally a favourite of mine – were absolutely perfect, with the pastry cracking perfectly, and the contents were nice and hot. No soggy pastry or fatty residues here.
But the stars of the show were the spare ribs in peking sauce. I’m sure most of us have, at one time or another, bitten into ribs and ended up with a mouth of fat. That’s not the case here – plenty of meat, and best of all, the sauce is wonderful. I may have dipped a finger in the sauce that remained on the platter, just for another taste.
Our junior diner picked the chicken and coriander gyozas, and this normally fussy little eater polished off the lot in a couple of minutes – so that says it all!
The menu offers a range of fresh and vibrant dishes, and the A La Carte menu includes favourites like kung po chicken and traditional Chinese curry. Specialities featured include twice cooked pork belly with black bean sauce and steamed halibut fillets with ginger, soy and spring onion.
There was so much to choose from, but in the end, I opted for the honey chilli chicken as my main dish, with fried rice. And the presentation was superb – the chilli chicken was presented in a basket of noodles, giving a distinctive feel to the restaurant which I will remember for a long time.
The sweet honey taste hit my mouth just seconds before the heat from the chilli, and was superb. The batter on the chicken strips was pleasantly firm, without being too crunchy – absolutely ideal and just the way I like it. Definitely a dish to try.
My companion selected the Japanese chicken katsu curry, again with fried rice. The curry sauce was served separately, and the chicken in its breadcrumb coating was crisped to perfection. The sauce made it a great combination – warm, without being too hot.
Our junior diner went for the Hong Kong sweet ‘n sour king prawns. She tucked into the prawns with relish. She loves her seafood. She was kind enough to share a prawn with her parents (on pain of no pocket money), and these were the real deal. Large, fleshy and fresh, there were no complaints from me. The sauce had the pleasant sweet and sour zing that you would expect. Another winner.
We arrived at 5pm, and the restaurant was comparatively quiet. When we left, just over an hour later, there was a large queue of diners waiting to be seated – if you’re going to go, make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
It’s a 60 cover restaurant, open from midday, Monday through to Sunday, serving lunch and dinner.
Shanghai Teahouse, 34 Hamilton Road, Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, G71 8NB