Place your order at Grand Lotus Chinese Restaurant, Rouse Hill.
I heard this one saying many years ago that Chinese cuisine is pleasing to the stomach, as what food should be. Many dishes now cater to the modern idea that food is to please the eye, and that we all eat with our eyes first. While this might be true, Chinese cuisine brings food back to the joy of generous servings shared between groups of people, appealing to the eye, stomach and a night ending with a satisfying food coma. Grand Lotus Chinese Restaurant is one restaurant that has definitely taken me back to this food experience.
Let the sharing begin
By day, the restaurant is sleek and modern with clean, white tablecloths placed over the tables. Dining here at lunch will find you picking and choosing between different bamboo steamers. Inside, youíll find steamed pork buns, prawn dumplings and dim sums as waitresses push carts along the aisles of the restaurant for Yum Cha. At night, the atmosphere becomes more elegant and sophisticated as golden tablecloths decorated with intricate patterns replace the white. On top of each plate are cloth napkins, folded nicely into a tall pyramid.
A bowl of prawn chips to start the night
Upon arriving at your table, leather back menus are placed in the centre next to a bowl of prawn chips. While nibbling on a few of these starters, you can flip through the menu and discover a range of different dishes separated into sections, from entrees to main dishes of seafood, rice, chow mein and even chef specialties and suggestions. Of course, this is also a good time to order any drinks before deciding on your meals. Unfortunately, Grand Lotus doesnít serve drinks in jugs to share, so each person is encouraged to order their own glass.
Peking Duck Pancake - have this chef's suggestion as an entree.
If youíre dining with a large group of people, a good idea for an entrťe is the chefís suggestion Peking Duck (Half) served with Pancakes ($28.80). The pancakes are assembled in front of you, so each person is guaranteed their own serving. The pancake itself is not just any ordinary pancake; rather it has a texture and colour similar to that of a wonton. Inside, the duck is shredded along with the crispy skin, sitting next to shredded lettuce and cucumber sticks. A sweet sauce is added to heighten the flavour and adds something a little extra to the duck.
Combination Chow Mein - delicious egg noodles loaded with different types of meat and vegetables.
Of course, whatís a dinner at a Chinese restaurant without a serving of noodles or rice? The Special Fried Rice ($17.50) contains pieces of ham, small prawns, egg and carrot. Those who are fan of noodles will enjoy the Combination Chow Mein ($21.50), a combination of sliced pork, beef, chicken and prawns tossed in soft egg noodles and stir fry vegetables such as snow peas, baby corn and broccoli. The vegetables were cooked well; were still quite glossy and had a nice crunch and bite to them. It was also quite saucy, so there were no moments of dry or crunchy noodles.
Singapore Noodles - seasoned with curry.
However, if youíre a fan of the drier texture noodles, then get your tastebuds to try the Singapore Noodles ($18.50). These rice vermicelli noodles are stir fried and seasoned with curry powder, which is what gives it that vibrant yellow colour and fragrant aroma. The Singapore Noodles here at Grand Lotus are tossed with large prawns, capsicum and a few other leafy greens, before its finished off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Szechuan Combination Supreme on Sizzling Plate. Careful, this one is hot - both in flavour and the plate.
Sizzling hot plates are not only perfect dishes for sharing; theyíre excellent modes of entertainment for the table. Thereís nothing like the experience of hearing that sputtering and sizzling sound of your food as it is spooned onto the hot plate, where steam escapes upward from the dish, and your mouth is salivating. Most hot plate dishes have hints of chilli, and this Szechuan Combination Supreme on a Sizzling Plate ($21.50) is no exception. Itís definitely a great one for seafood and hot chilli lovers.
Crispy, golden Honey Chicken - sticky, sweet and delicious.
Moving onto something more child-friendly and known as a crowd pleaser, you canít go wrong with Honey Chicken ($19.00). Grand Lotus has one of the best honey chicken dishes Iíve had so far. With a sprinkle of sesame seeds for garnishing, the chicken is well-glazed with that lovely balance of sweetness and stickiness. The chicken batter itself was still very crunchy and not at all soggy. As a favourite Chinese dish of mine, this version of Honey Chicken has definitely restored my love for the dish.
Salt and Pepper Calamari - golden and crispy with a bit of garnishes for colour.
The Salt and Pepper Calamari ($20.80) ended the round of main dishes, tossed in with a generous garnish of chopped shallots and fresh chilli. The calamari itself was perfectly cooked; not too chewy or rubbery in texture, and while the batter was crispy as it should be, it did lack that extra bit of salt that gives the dish itís salt and pepper name.
Deep Fried Ice Cream - the ideal dessert to end the night.
With large servings such as these, it would be surprising how anyone would have room for dessert; but with Fried Ice Cream involved, itís almost hard to resist and say no. This scoop of vanilla ice cream encased in a golden, coconut batter, topped with your choice of ice cream (chocolate, caramel or strawberry) and decorated with extra whipped cream is a delicious way to end the night. Itís also probably the only dish youíll have a hard time sharing.
A feast of Chinese cuisine should be shared with a group of people, whether dining in for dinner or stopping over for a Yum Cha lunch. Rouse Hillís Grand Lotus, with their friendly staff and modern restaurant atmosphere, is an ideal restaurant for anyone looking to restore that Chinese food sharing experience with high quality dishes.
Where: GR 80 Main Street, Rouse Hill Town Centre,
Rouse Hill, NSW
Why: Good quality food and large servings, making it easy to share.
Cost: Moderately - higher priced. Yum Cha ranges from $3.50-$8.20, Entrees $7-$15, Mains $14-$30.
When: Yum Cha everyday from 11am-3pm, Dinner Mon-Wed from 5-9:30pm, Thurs-Sun 5-10:30pm. Try a Yum Cha and dinner session, although dinner can get very busy so it's best to book in advance, especially for large groups.
Good for kids: Yes
Take away: Yes - take away menu available.