It’s very tempting when you go to a favourite restaurant to order the dishes that you know you will enjoy – things you’ve eaten in the past which always please.
Even when visiting somewhere new there is a temptation to order food which you regularly eat, all in the interests of finding out if they can do a new twist on your choice dish.
If you’re like me, you take an age to peruse the menu then usually plump for something you’ve had before in the fear that the alternatives won’t be to your taste. A flashback to my childhood and having to clear my plate, even when it was something I didn’t like – but that’s another story.
A recent visit to Chop Chop in Glasgow was the perfect opportunity to be adventurous with choices by selecting the banquet and having the opportunity to try some new flavours.
Tucked down at the bottom of Mitchell Street, the unassuming exterior hides a relaxing restaurant with a variety of tables for different sizes of groups.
It’s probably the nearest thing you will find to a Chinese tapas restaurant with most of the dishes offered in small and large portions, perfect for sharing.
Having decided on the banquet, it wasn’t long to wait before prawn crackers and some tangy, refreshing cucumber salad was put before us.
And that perhaps is one of its special touches, the attentive staff keep a close eye on when diners are ready for the next dish – not a case if it all being brought at once and some of it going cold as you eat.
Next up were the delicious pork and coriander boiled dumplings, followed by the pan-fried chicken dumplings.
We were also given some fresh grated garlic and ginger to add to our individual bowls where we could make up our own dipping sauce with the vinegar, soy sauce and chilli oil that was on the table.
Then it was time for the chicken wings which were a sticky delight with the meat falling off the bones.
Long strips of beautifully cooked aubergines with garlic were next to appear, along with some spicy fried potato, which could be the Chinese version of chips and were very moreish.
Which is also an attraction of the banquet as you can order as many additional dishes as you want from those on offer, although the portions are so generous you would have to be pretty hungry to need much more than is already served up. However, I must confess we did ask for some more cucumber salad.
The final banquet offering was crispy beef with boiled rice, another dish I would never normally order but one I’m glad that I tried.
Of course, we had to have a look at the dessert menu and the sticky toffee apple which we tried with both vanilla ice-cream and mango sorbet was a perfect end to our first, but certainly not last visit to Chop Chop.