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Tuesday 13 November 2012

Chinese Feasting at The Mayflower

I have lived in Bristol nearly five years and never been to the Mayflower. I have heard so much about it since knowing of it's existence that I was well over due a visit. Sarah had set up our monthly foodies meet up dinner for the Mayflower, it seemed to take ages for Friday to come round but finally it did. The Mayflower is hidden under the Beefeater and next to the Bearpit if you take the subway, a little secret restaurant hidden from passing trade view. I invited Jamie to join our party and promised her she could order for Rich and I as she was the expert, plus I wanted to try some new and authentic dishes. Jamie had already praised the Mayflower as the place to go in Bristol to get authentic Cantonese dishes so I knew I was in for a treat.
The Mayflower Bristol
Sizzling Beef (ordered by one of our party)
As in some of the bigger Chinese restaurants there are both English and Chinese menus, the Mayflower excels in it's Chinese menu, here you can get many Southern Chinese delights including a good variety of hot pot dishes. We were all pretty hungry by this point so a hush descended over the table whilst we studied the four page menu. Jamie helped with some of the menu details and after about 20 minutes everyone had come to a decision so I sat back and sipped my Chinese tea whilst I waited.
The Mayflower Bristol
Three Roasties
Jamie had ordered; three roasties, salt and pepper squid, tung choy in Malaysian sauce and an oyster and pork belly hot pot. I'd had three roasties before at Dynasty and the squid was my one stipulation to the meal because I adore it. Three roasties comprises of honey roast pork, pork belly and roasted duck served with rice and this was the best I have tasted, really well flavoured meats and crispy skin on the duck. The only warning I have is this is served at room temperature so don't be surprised when it does not turn up hot.

Tung choy is a semi-aquatic tropical plant, known as water spinach in English. Definitely one of Jamie's favourites from home where she knows it as morning glory. So obviously there were a number of titters round the table when it rocked up announced as such. The Malaysian style sauce it was served in was made from fermented tofu paste and was totally delicious. I wanted to try something new and this was definitely new. 
The Mayflower Bristol
Tung Choy
The Mayflower Bristol
Salt and Pepper Squid with Chilli Salt
The Mayflower serves the best salt and pepper squid I've had. It was crispy and not in any way rubbery, it has recently become one of my favourite dishes to order and this was the pinnacle of my recent foray into this dish. Finally the hot pot, this was also something completely new and the variety of different ones you can get at The Mayflower is great, anything from fish belly and tofu to stewed beef brisket. I was slightly dubious of the oysters after my first introduction into the world of oysters two years or so ago I was pretty sick the next day. Since then never has a oyster passed my lips. However these were cooked with a light batter so I was willing to give them a go. I was glad I did because they tasted very different hot. The sauce in the hot pot was light, giving the tender pork belly and oysters a chance to shine I would love to try some different hot pots in the future the brisket one on the menu here sounds particularly delicious.
The Mayflower Bristol
Oyster and Pork Belly Hot Pot 
The Mayflower may not be fancy inside but the food it serves is first rate. There were sounds of happy munching at our table for many minutes it was definitely some of the best Chinese food I have experienced probably ever. I look forward to returning, especially with Jamie, who is my secret weapon. Rather randomly The Mayflower is open until 3am most evenings so if you have a late night hankering, this is not a problem. To check out some of the many other dishes served at The Mayflower check out their website

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