Middle Kingdom Revisited - Manchester Princess Street

It’s no word of a lie that going to Manchester was mostly about being back at Middle Kingdom. In fact, after arrival at the aBode Hotel, we headed straight there. The place was packed with young Chinese people - as usual.We wanted to keep our order small and managed to stick to that. Our choices:

Hot and spicy aubergine- a cold numbing dish as a starter (my favourite)
Gong bao prawn - could be boring but never is. plump prawns, whole chilies, peanuts and sichuan peppercorns and sweet, spicy sauce - not too much of it
One small bowl of egg fried rice

All delicious and exactly as remembered. The service was fast and attentive. My partner ordered a sneaky plate of onion rings and I did try one - meh. Wouldn’t bother.

It was all so delicious we went back for dinner the next day. This time we had:

Dry Green beans with pork (one of his favourites)
Chili Beef (a nice sweet and spicy sauce on this)
Egg fried rice

Not quite satisfied with this we ordered dishes to bring home to London:

The aubergine
Hot and sour soup - in theirs the woodear mushroom taste is prevalent, quite interesting and smoky
Dandan noodles (comfort food)

Today I read that they have a 1 Rating for Hygiene. Oh well. I won’t tell. Could they actually be open with such a low score?

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Hi Jan

We’ve literally just got in from dinner at MK. Gong bao chicken and the green beans with pork. Both good.

I prefer not to read the “scores on the doors” website,as it might scare me off places I really want to eat at. But, yes, Mrs H mentioned it to me the other day. I replied that the toilets are clean (and were tonight), which is more than can be said for some places in Chinatown . I think MK is owned by the Red & Hot mini-chain. I used to have lunch quite often at their place in Chinatown until one day I went to the toilet. Absolutely disgusting - and I take the view that if a place has poor hygiene in the areas where the public can see, heaven knows what the out of sight bits are like. I’ve not been back. Nor have I been back to Red Chilli - the other Sichuan place in Chinatwon - for the same reason.

Hope you enjoyed your trip to the Rainy City - we seem to have fed you well once again. Was the food at Abode as mediocre as I feared?

Yes, clean toilets is a big reflection of cleanliness for me generally. The floors and walls and tables are always clean here and I’ve never had to send a bowl or chopsticks back - these things I’m used to doing elsewhere, so not sure how they score so low. Service is so attentive. I tried in vain to fit in a visit to The Hunan, as you suggested. Didn’t get very far, he loves MK so much. At the front they have cards for bigfoodie.co.uk and that lists all the restaurants in their family. One day I’ll be able to try one of the others…perhaps.

Glad you enjoyed your meal. I may learn to make the cold aubergine dish. It seems fairly simple.

PS - the whole visit was a good one, the best we’ve had so far. The rest is not a foodie story but we went to the art gallery for the Joy Division/New Order exhibit, discovered the Portico Library, photographed a lot of the new graffiti in the Northern Quarter (street art is a big draw for us). sat next to the Alan Turing statue and wandered around taking note of all the new construction. Manchester still seems a bit small and empty to us but it’s definitely a great city with some kicking architecture and big promise for the years ahead.

I’ve recently completed a short adult education course - “The Rise of Manchester’s Middle Class” - in which the art gallery and the Portico both featured. It’s along the lines of “we’re rich now, we better have some culture” - a fight back against the 19th century description of “Manchester men but Liverpool gentlemen”

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Dinner at MK is on the horizon. Remembering the hygiene discussion on this thread, I checked the “scores on the doors”. Happy to report that it’s now a very middling 3. Works for me.

Looking forward to your re-review, John! Could definitely tackle that prawn and chilis, and the cold sichuan eggplant dish RIGHT NOW! :slight_smile:

Deffo going to try the aubergine starter. Never had starters there as I knew the main courses were so big. Think we may look to have a starter each then share a main.