Bookings at Ying Chow are like Christmas cards to long-lost relatives – full of empty sentiment and quickly forgotten – but you make them anyhow. Reservation or none, arrive prepared for a flexible seating system in the knowledge that good things are to come. The walls are lined with awards, and customers line up out the door.
Fine dining this isn’t. Courses roll out in waves, arriving in no discernible order, and the staff definitely let you know you’re in their house. But all is forgiven once the plates begin to land.
Generous servings of traditionally prepared standards such as E-shand chicken, black pepper beef, or sizzling venison with shallots never disappoint. The list (which has been reprinted without some original endearing mistranslations, more the pity) also features knockout hits such as stir-fried crocodile with snow peas and bean curd, broad beans and Chinese chutney – “please call BBC”, the menu advises.
The liquor license stretches into the wee hours offering a few cheapish local wines and bottled beers, along with the option to BYO (for $10 corkage).
Many Adelaideans have their favourite dish from “Yingaz” and will fight to the death anyone who claims another restaurant does it better. The shallot pancakes are the usual sticking point in this debate, which still rages on.