Tops Chinese Restaurant, Falsgrave Road
With an unassuming exterior, new kids on the block Tops certainly exceeded expectations inside, both for the appearance and its delicious food.
We were met by a very modern and classy interior with a waiting area opposite a bar. Moving through to the dining area was a fantastic water feature while the dark walls were brightened up with a range of tasteful decorations.
In Chinese restaurants I usually end up with a soft drink due to a lack of options when it comes to beer.
However I was delighted at Tops to discover they had American pale ale Shed Head on draft. It was difficult to choose what to have and when the sweet waitress came to take our order she recommended the set menu for two people costing £21 per person. This included a shared starter platter, duck pancakes and a choice of two main courses with egg fried rice.
In no time we were given a bowl of prawn crackers which lasted a matter of minutes with our bellies rumbling and the aromas coming from other tables.
The starters included spring rolls, satay chicken, ribs and prawns.
The highlight for me were the ribs with the meat simply coming off the bone and going fantastically with the sweet and sticky barbecue Cantonese sauce.
One of my favourite things to eat are crispy duck pancakes. They are just a joy to eat. Three pancakes each was just enough knowing we had our main course to come. The duck was crispy on the outside and succulent in the middle and went beautifully with the hoisin sauce.
All members of staff were attentive, helpful and friendly and really made the experience a pleasure.
My girlfriend chose her favourite - sweet and sour chicken. She hailed the dish as “fantastic” with the chicken being wrapped in a light and crispy batter covered in a tangy sauce.
My crispy beef with chilli was a generous portion which went well with the perfectly cooked egg fried rice.
The waiter tempted us into looking at the dessert menu despite the mountain of food we’d already consumed. However we felt we may squeeze something else in and chose to share the toffee banana with ice cream. The waiting time was significantly longer for the dessert than any other course but this wasn’t a problem as it gave our food time to settle. The banana arrived in a thin crisp batter covered in a crunchy toffee which was very tasty and the accompanying ice cream complemented it further.
Overall the meal came to £61.60 which included two drinks each too. I thought it represented good value considering the quantity and quality on display here.
They may be new but if they keep this up, Tops will be a firm favourite in the town for many years to come. I will be back.