We went out for a meal with Padraig and Mary last night. We went to the China Sichuan restaurant in Stillorgan, one of our favourite places to eat out. There is always a great buzz there, the food is delicious, service is good, and it's close to home. Last night, I had a tofu and sweetcorn soup (just like chicken and sweetcorn, with tofu instead), squid shreds (cooked to perfection - soft and chewy, not rubbery), and salt-and-pepper prawns - a very simple dish, with no sauce, but the taste of it is just right for me. And then, I had to have my banana fritter with ice-cream. I had been looking forward to it even before looking at the menu, and it didn't disappoint.
I had to rush eating my dessert a bit, as we felt we had to free the table (though there was nobody that seemed to be waiting for it at that point, and there was no pressure from the staff). We had been a bit slow at the start of the meal - we were chatting away, with our menus open. It wasn't until we all closed our menus that the waiter came to our table to take our orders. This is one to remember - if you want to get quick service, close your menus over as soon as you've decided what you're going to order!
There is a rumour that they will be relocating to new premises. A website says this will happen in late autumn 2006 - well, that's come and gone and they are still in Stillorgan. Mary had heard that they were moving to Sandyford. She asked the son of the owners, who replied that she knew more than he did, to which he added "Let me put it this way: by this time next year, we won't be here anymore" (or something to that effect - I would make a terrible witness in court - I can never remember what people said).
By the way, we were not sure when the China Sichuan first opened. Brendan, Mary and Padraig thought it was between 1982 and 1985 that they first ate there. The website I looked at says 1986, but it's the same website that got the date of their move wrong, so we're none the wiser.
We had a drink in the Mill House before and after the meal. It's amazing how quiet it was, for a Saturday night. We got seats no problem, there were several tables to choose from. Quite a different scene from pubs in Ireland 10 years ago, or even just 5 years ago!