AS my family and I got out of the car in Mt Lawley, the heavens opened and we got absolutely drenched.
We quickly scampered into Beaux Lane and took refuge under a dripping gutter.
“We’re soaked through; we’re freezing,” complained the kids.
Having been brought up in Scotland, I was non-plussed.
“It’s just a shower – you’ll be fine.”
As the thunder roared the kids fled inside Chuan Yue Garden, a modern-looking Chinese restaurant.
It must do a great takeaway as rows of delivery bags were lined up on the counter on a Tuesday night.
Chuan Yue’s extensive menu had all the old favourites (sweet and sour, black bean, garlic prawns) and a chef’s section with more traditional and outre dishes.
The uber helpful waitress was happy for the kids to have a main between them, and helped us save money by upsizing dishes to share.
When you are eating out with young kids on a week night, good service can be the difference between an enjoyable meal and a disastrous one.
There was also a big pile of toys in the corner, so Chuan Yue gets brownie points on the kids front.
The excellent service continued throughout the meal and the waitress was soon back with a large pot of green tea ($6) and spring rolls ($9).
Housed in a pot with ornate artwork and a wicker handle, the piping-hot tea was nice and smooth with no trace of bitterness.
The spring rolls were crunchy with a pleasant medley of vegetables, but I wanted more of a spicy kick from the accompanying chilli sauce.
My king prawn Szechuan ($25.80) arrived sizzling in a cast iron tray shaped like a cow.
It was a cute touch and made for an eye-catching presentation.
The dish had just the right amount of heat, so I could enjoy the well-cooked prawns and liberal punch of garlic and sesame oil.
Previous Szechuan dishes I’ve tried have been tomato-based, but this darker and saltier version was still enjoyable and the assorted vegetables were well cooked and tasty enough.
Looking around the restaurant was nicely fitted-out with wrought iron lanterns and decorative Chinese wallpaper. It wasn’t twee and was well executed.
The waitress was soon back with my wife’s lemon chicken ($18.80), perched on a bed of lettuce in a dainty ceramic boat.
I eyeballed the succulent chicken breast coated in thick layers of glistening batter, and began to drool on the other side of the table (my deep-fried genes were kicking in).
“The chicken is so tender and the lemon sauce is just right without being too cloying,” reported my wife. It’s delicious.”
I feigned a smiled and begrudgingly ate a chunk of cauliflower from the kids’ black bean chicken ($18.80).
The dish was going down well and the kids were enjoying the salty bursts of flavour.
I had a sneaky taste and can testify the chook was nice and tender, with no fatty bits, and the accompanying vegies, including carrot, broccoli and cabbage, were fresh with a satisfying crunch.
My wife said the plain rice ($7 to share) had a lovely texture and was well cooked.
Chuan Yue Garden is a solid bet for a Chinese meal with decent prices, friendly service and a well-presented interior.
Chuan Yue Garden Beau Lane,
609 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley