I arrived at the Mandarin City Chinese restaurant on Wednesday evening slightly early, after seven, so ventured to the counter and ordered a snifter, which happened to be Bombay Sapphire.
Isn't it a wonder the Political Correctness Brigade hasn't changed that to Mumbai Sapphire? Ha!
As I sat sipping the restorative, I observed that most of the takeaway customers had a certain rapport with the staff; obviously a good sign.
I have to say that I've been coming to this Chinese establishment occasionally since it opened its doors about 25 years ago (that's a guess: do any readers know when it actually opened?).
BP duly arrived at about seven thirty and we were promptly shown to our table.
The staff here are well presented, diligent and courteous, in my experience.
The decor and ambiance is one of opulence, in an Oriental sense, comfort, warmth and well-being; which actually belies the exterior facade, which appears rather more prosaic.
The restaurant was almost full, quite a statement of Success, given that it was a Wednesday, let alone the current economic circumstances.
Mandarin City is actually quite large, seating probably over 100 people on a full night.
BP ordered the usual chicken in honey and chilli sauce; while I had the king prawns kung po.
Frankly I have never been disappointed here yet. The cuisine was as good as ever. BP gave the chicken the thumbs-up; I relished my big, juicy prawns, served with plenty of vegetables, including a few baby carrots.
Pudding consisted of strawberry cheesecake with whipped cream for me; while BP had the banana fritters.
We concluded the meal with coffee, accompanied by the complimentary after-dinner mint and Chinese biscuit.
The bill came to about £60, including drinks.