The Emerald Gardens Chinese Restaurant in Kilkenny’s High Street is deservedly well known as one of the best of the oriental eating places in the city and so when I found myself needing early evening sustenance recently I made a bee-line for the place.
It was not to be a disappointment. I was seated immediately in the upper room and presented with a menu and a large bowl of prawn crackers which given my state of hunger rapidly disappeared. Now there are two things I cannot resist, one is temptation and the other is a bowl of prawn crackers!
I ordered the Spicy Hot and Sour Soup, followed by the Mixed Meats Ho San with noodles and accompanied by a pot of China tea. What could be simpler. And it was all delicious. The soup was especially good and it was an intensely flavoured concoction with lots of little bits of tofu, meats and shrimps. A nice touch: they brought extra crackers with the soup without having to be asked! The mixed tastes were very well balanced indeed and it has to be one of the best of its type that I have ever tasted. The main course was not far behind in quality. Again there was a good mix of different flavours all separate and well balanced and the noodles were suitably al dente. And it was served piping hot. And the service was efficient and courteous. It was a most satisfying meal which did not cost a fortune and I was certainly not hungry when I left!
A couple of small niggles though: one, the tea was served in a metal tea pot which to my mind tends to affect the flavour of the tea adversely and there was nowhere to put the inner container of the tea leaves to stop the tea from getting too strong. The second niggle was that the chopsticks I requested were very cheap wooden ones which were far too short and flimsy for practical use and no chopstick holder was supplied. However, more normal implements were provided request even if the request caused an eyebrow or two to be raised.
I shall be back for more the next time I am in the area!
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