Do you know when you have one of those weekends that are so hectic and action-packed that by Monday morning you need another weekend just to recover? Yeah, well I’ve had one of those. I’m exhausted this evening, and already ready for bed – at 5.45pm! What a lightweight I am these days.
On Saturday, we went out for a meal with family and friends to celebrate my step-dads 70th birthday. He chose a Chinese eaterie called The Maplewood Restaurant, popular for its classic Cantonese menu. (https://www.themaplewood.co.uk/) We haven’t got together as a family for a long time, so it was an event I, for one, had been looking forward to (I can’t really speak for everyone else, but let’s just assume they were all as enthusiastic as me!) Plus, The Maplewood is a popular restaurant and I like to eat out when I can (afford to!)
Our table was booked for 7.30pm and the restaurant was busy when we arrived. We sat in the lounge area at first with a drink, waiting for everybody to arrive. There were 14 of us in all, my siblings, mother and stepdad (of course), grandmother, my friend Michelle, auntie and uncle with their respective partners, and my stepdads brother and wife. We had booked the ’round table’ – unfortunately not King Arthur’s round table, but a big one placed slap bang in the middle of the restaurant with a rotating plate in the centre, making it easier to share the banquet, which the majority of the party ordered.
My sister Jenna, Michelle and I decided to opt out of the banquet and order off the menu instead, which in hindsight was a mistake as we seemed to spend a lot of the time sitting around watching while everybody else ate. I think the restaurant focuses heavily on its banquet menu, especially for larger parties, and we three who opted out seemed almost to be served as an afterthought. The food was gorgeous, but the wait in between courses killed my appetite. By the time my main arrived, steaming hot and looking extremely appetising (stir fried beef in oyster sauce, with soft noodles and beansprouts), I could unfortunately only manage a few bites. Michelle faired a little better with her beef curry with egg fried rice. I did manage to swipe a few spare ribs off the banquet, as the platter went past on the spinny thing in the middle of the table, and my starter of chicken and sweetcorn soup with (banquet) prawn crackers went down very well. The shared carafe of red wine was a welcome addition.
All in all, it was a fabulous night out, apart from the loss of appetite. The staff were very attentive and friendly, and the atmosphere was buoyant, busy but not annoyingly so. The menu was admittedly quite pricey, especially the wine list, but the house red was more than acceptable, and the food was worth the stretched purse strings. I’d definitely re-visit, although I would probably have the banquet next time!
I wish I’d taken pictures, as it would have been a great accompaniment to this blog, but I was having far too good a time – next time, maybe!
Sunday was spent sunning ourselves (Michelle, my son Ryan and I) in the local beer garden. We decided to mosey on down to The Farmers Arms (https://www.thefarmersarmsfearnhead.co.uk/), my local drinking establishment, to get fed and watered, and ended up moving out to the beer garden once we had eaten to soak up a few rays, accompanied by a bottle of Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon – for Michelle and I, anyway. Ryan stuck to orange and passionfruit J20, and commandeered the swings, pestering us to take part in a swinging competition. The sun was out and the wine was chilled and very potent, and I definitely needed a rest afterwards. I’m not used to such busy weekends! But I’m not complaining. 😊