'Original flavours and textures in impeccably decorated surroundings'

Good Earth, Wandsworth

Open Mon–Sat midday–2.30pm & 6pm–11.15pm, Sun 12.30–2.45pm & 6pm–10.45pm

This new branch of Good Earth on Bellevue Road produced easily the best Chinese food I’ve had in a long time. Service is top-notch and it boasts a fabulous location overlooking Wandsworth Common and just down the road from a couple of lovely pubs, which offer a great spot for a summer drink before dinner. It’s pricier than your average Chinese (set menu £39, mains £10–20) but, for a special occasion, boy oh boy is it worth it. Original flavours and textures in impeccably decorated surroundings, Good Earth is a truly up-market dining experience.

The ambiance of the restaurant is bright and inviting. Seating is arranged in large round tables with rotating marble platters in the middle and the space is decorated ornately in traditional reds and golds. It might sound an odd observation but even the acoustics are spot on; even though it’s a large space and our table seated four to six (we were two) it felt quiet and intimate.

While grappling with the extensive a la carte selection – which all sounded so tasty it was hard to know where to start – we were offered a tasting menu, which we gladly accepted. Service was quick and we kicked off with Dragon Whisker prawns, lamb skewers and crispy duck pancakes – all very nice. The mains, however, were really something special. We were brought spicy Szechuan prawns, which were delicious (the prawns were huge), a side of dry fried beans, and a sizzling sirloin beef hotpot, which was cooked for us at the table. The beef really was the highlight of the evening; it was cooked perfectly and so soft it melted in the mouth. It was served in slices, tossed in a simple plum sauce with wilted greens, which let the flavour and butter-like texture of the beef shine through. For dessert we were brought some sweet crepes with berry sauce inside; a lovely bite for the end of the meal. We washed the lot down with bottles of Tiger and Tsing Tao beers, which were light and went perfectly with the food. The serving staff were unobtrusive, attentive, and smiling; hats, in particular, go off to the manager Johnny Lau who made us feel like the centre of attention all evening.

All in all: first-rate.

Take-aways are also available.

11 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, London, SW17; www.goodearthgroup.co.uk; 020 8682 9230

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