Yang Sing is one of those classic Manchester restaurants that has been around for donkey's years that even people at my work all know about even though they don't come over here too often. Me and Bailey were getting a bit fed up of people being really surprised that we had never been there so decided to get ourselves booked in and see what the fuss was about.
Yang Sing seems to be super popular seeing as, even though we booked our table over a month in advance, the earliest they could get us in was 8:45pm. This was totally fine as it gave us plenty of time to have a few cheeky cocktails with our friends beforehand.
The first thing I decided after setting foot in Yang Sing was that it was the perfect choice for a Saturday night out. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the restaurant, it was almost like you could smell the fun being had in the air. The staff were even really fun, particularly the guy they had at the front of house who had the personality of a pop-punk band member circa 2001. We didn't mind having to stand at the bar for a drink while our table was prepared and we didn't mind sitting at the table for ages without menus because we were really enjoying ourselves.
However eventually we did start to think that maybe we should be getting round to the business of eating at which point we asked the boss for some menus who was very apologetic that we hadn't already been given any. I should mention at this point that, particularly having already imbibed a few drinks, we all found the Yang Sing menu quite a challenge! It is huge and there is so much to choose from, a little bit overwhelming. Once we'd all decided we felt a little bit worn out and very proud of ourselves.
In advance of our visit, the owner's daughter Bonnie had been in touch with us and had made some recommendations but also seemed quite keen to put a banquet together for us (we declined, what with there being four of us who all have such different tastes and dietary requirements!). Word on the street was also that Yang Sing is famous for its excellent Dim Sum; Yang Sing does lend itself to repeat visits - I think next time we will take Bonnie up on her banquet offer and I think I'll also pop in for a Dim Sum menu some other time too.
To start both Kate and I fancied a bit of soup - Crabmeat and Sweetcorn for Kate and Crabmeat with Beancurd for me. The boss immediately warned us that he didn't think we were going to like it due to it being "really fishy". This only made us want to order it more. The soup arrived and was about one million degrees centigrade so we had to wait some time for it to cool down. It wasn't too fishy for us but wasn't quite what we expected - it was quite thick with quite a gluey texture - not really my cup of tea, and also was an absolutely massive bowl. I did sort of enjoy it but couldn't quite finish it, and I did throw a few jealous glances over at a girl on a nearby table who was eating what looked like the most beautiful Won Ton Soup. I suppose we had been warned!
Fortunately I had also ordered a cheeky portion of Har Kau steamed prawn dumplings from the Dim Sum menu. Oh my word, these were incredible. The prawns inside them were plump and juicy and tasted awesome. So delighted was I by these little beauties that I looked them up on Wikipedia the next morning. The description for the perfect Har Kau was as follows... "The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough not to break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other har kau in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked. The amount of meat should be generous, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite." The Yang Sing Har Kau fitted this delectable descpription to the letter. Chris' spring rolls were also excellent, what they say about the Dim Sum menu was proving to be true.
Bailey was less impressed with his Ow Yuk Sui Mai as he felt that although the ginger and spring onion sauce was delicious, the beef filling was a bit bland. The beef was also quite rare which he didn't mind but thought it might be a touch too rare for some.
We were really looking forward to our mains having invested so much time and attention into choosing what we were going to have and all four were excellent. I ordered the Pan Fried Squid with Seasonal Vegetables and was very pleased with the crunchy, vibrant veg and nicely cooked squid. The sauce it was all in looked so simple but tasted beautiful and the steamed rice we all had was perfect.
It was quite funny when Kate's massive plate of Steamed Seasonal Fish (Sole) arrived looking and smelling amazing but was promptly whisked off again. Cue some confusion and us asking the waiter where the sole had gone. He pointed to a corner of the room where a waitress diligently deboning Kate's fish could be seen. The sole was absolutely delicious but was a huge amount of fish for one person - we all got stuck in which was good for us, but perhaps it could have been made clear how big the portion was going to be.
Bailey decided to go for Bonnie's recommendation of Barbecue Roast Duck Off the Bone. He thought this was, I quote "amazing" - crispy skin with moist meat and a good simple duck flavour. He said this was hands down the best Chinese dish he had ever eaten.
I believe both the boys were impressed with Chris' main of Beef with Green Pepper and Black Bean Sauce. Bailey said Yang Sing had done a good job of making something he expected to be a pedestrian dish into an amazing plate of food packed with flavour.
With four brilliant main courses eaten we were feeling very pleased with our evening. The service throughout the meal had been generally really good - although a lot of different staff members had dealt with us everyone had been polite and professional. One thing that had been bothering Bailey a little was the somewhat aggressive manner in which staff had been topping our wine glasses up without asking and even when they didn't need topping up at all and the minute one bottle was emptied another was offered instantly. We had been on the Cotes de Gascogne Domain Laballe (while hilariously referring to it as 'Paul Gascoigne') which was a pleasant enough wine that went down quite nicely and while I can't suggest that there is anyone to blame but ourselves for the fact we got through THREE BOTTLES as well as other drinks, I don't think the aggressive topping up helped.
This also contributed to the fact that when the bill arrived we were all in for quite an unpleasant surprise... Cue some panic followed by the difficult realisation that yes, we really DID spend all that money on drinks... Oh dear. It also didn't help matters that a service charge was added on which seemed a bit cheeky for a table of four!
So a bit of a stressful end to the meal but having had time to think it through (soberly) all four of us have said we really enjoyed our meal and thought the food was really good quality, appropriately priced. It's definitely the best Chinese meal I've eaten in Manchester and have said we would definitely return. This time we will be like seasoned pros, asking the staff to put us together a nice banquet and trying out more of the Dim Sum. We recommend a night out at Yang Sing to anyone who likes a decent bit of Chinese food!