The only thing wrong with Face is that nobody’s heard of it, says Catherine Musgrove
A new Chinese has opened in the basement of the Fives building in Guildhall Street – the same location its sister restaurant, Great Times, did in 1983.
It might be deja-vu for owner Raymond Chung, who proudly points out where the bar and tables used to be 30 years ago, but there’s nothing stale about what this new place has on offer.
You can’t help but be impressed when you walk down the steps to the restaurant, opening grand doors into a womb-like cavern.
To be fair, the place was decked out very smartly in its former incarnation as the Cocktail Factory, and Face haven’t changed a great deal.
When my husband and I arrived at 7pm on Saturday, we were worried about two things – was it going to be too dark, and were we going to be the only diners?
Well, it wasn’t too dark – it was very delicately lit – but we did sit alone for the entirety of our stay.
And it’s no wonder really, because if I hadn’t have known about its opening through work’s picture desk, then there was no chance of stumbling across it.
There’s been no advertising, no phone number online, no website, and I didn’t notice much of a sign outside the door.
It’s such a shame that people have been missing out, because it’s genuinely very impressive and not hugely expensive.
Me and Chris ordered a selection of starters – chicken siu mei(£3.90), chicken spring rolls (£4.20) and chicken buns (£3.90). They arrived in metal dishes, kept warm on a tealight-heated plate.
The rolls were crispy and flavourful, and the chicken buns – cloud-like, white bread rolls with meat in the middle – were fluffy and light with a savoury central surprise.
The sui mei, bite-sized steamed chicken bites, have never been to my taste, but Chris was pleased.
For the main course I ordered sirloin steak strips in a satay sauce (£12), Chris went for Szechuan chicken (£9.80), and we shared a large portion of egg fried rice (£6).
A side order of prawn crackers cost £2.50, which I thought was a bit steep.
All of the food was lovely. Instead of the thick, greasy, sugary. salty sauces found in numerous Chinese takeaways, this food was light and full of vegetables. The strips of beef in my meal were plentiful and as tender as can be, so I wouldn’t complain about the pricetag.
The rice was fluffy, and there was far too much for the two of us. Little touches were also good, such as serving Coca Cola from a bottle, rather than on draft.
Always a plus point for me, as there’s no comparison in taste. A very enjoyable evening that the people of Preston need to know about.