In the flat-iron building that once housed the Strand Hotel, Ryde now boasts the China Garden Chinese takeaway. Set back behind the imposing Ryde Castle, this modest takeaway is off the beaten track but a popular location for locals.
Matt and junior reviewers Bill and Jack strolled into the China Garden to seek out an evening meal. The gleaming new interior was sparkling, as was the smile of the charming Chinese lady who greeted them and took their order. Bill and Jack could not help but gawp at the intricate characters that she wrote on the order-pad, as well as listening with rapt attention to the jolly chefs in the back room who were obviously having some sort of joke at the time, shouting and laughing at each other and even at one point singing. It might not seem like much, but to Island-raised nippers such direct experiences of other cultures are far from routine. It made for a very enjoyable wait for the meal, and as it turned out, the Chinese chefs were obviously capable of yelling and cooking at the same time and the food arrived very promptly indeed, piping hot.
Once taken home the meals were distributed. The portions were generous, with a particularly large bag of prawn crackers to start the diners off. Matt chose fried crispy chilli beef with fried rice, which was a piquant and enjoyably crunchy dish. Crispy beef is sometimes a little soggy, but the China Garden managed to avoid this entirely. A side order of mixed vegetables had fresh mange-tout as well as the more traditional veg such as Chinese leaves and onion – all with just the right degree of crunch to them. Bill and Jack both opted for duck chow mein, and were not disappointed by the generous allowance of succulent duck strips which supplemented the tasty noodles.
A good, modern takeaway that produced highly satisfactory food very quickly: China Garden is recommended.