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Wednesday, Dec 15, 2004

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Hook, line and sinker

If you are looking for a delightful platter, here's where you should head

THERE ARE three rules for reviewing a food festival. First, never visit the restaurant alone. To do a proper review, you must arrive with a team of focused gastronomists, each with many years of actual experience in the field (but if the friends stand you up, it's okay to do it alone).

Second, take no notes, and third, never write the review immediately after the visit. Good food must withstand the test of time. If you can't remember what you ate a week after the visit, it probably wasn't good enough to be remembered.

Scientists continually tout the health benefits of fish, but the slithery little things can be so iffy, messy and smelly to prepare at home that few people bother. And really, why bother when restaurants like Mainland China are available? Their ongoing seafood festival — `Treasures of the Deep' offers perfectly palatable seafood including lobsters, crabs and the works.

The restaurant is cheery with a helpful staff committed to smooth sailing even during the crush of a Sunday lunch.

The menu includes appetisers, salads, cold plates, broiled and fried seafood platters and desserts. There's just the right variety with crab cakes, steamed lobster and mushroom dumplings and stuffed shrimp. There's a whole seafood dream in a delicate cheese and chilly lobster; crab and oyster sauces, soft jumbo crabs and whole betki served with a choice of rice or noodles. There are seaside soups and stews. Finally, don't forget the steamed appetisers — all very fresh.

Put your appetites to work on broiled jumbo shrimp and scallops and a fried seafood platter, which is the specialty of the house. The platter includes fried lobster, devilled crab, baby shrimp, oysters, stuffed clams and scallops. The lobsters are large and tender, the oyster sauce plentiful, the breading tasty and the shrimp firm. The regular fare is also available and the salad is delightfully crisp. And the wine is a wonderful accompaniment.

The lunch withstood the test of time and after a week there are still fond memories of the visit. The verdict: five forks up for the Cantonese home-style crab presented in a clay pot to retain the `fragrance' and the Hot tossed lobster with chillies and Szechwan pepper.

Now just dig deep until December 20.


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