Gordon Ramsey – a shouty, crinkly faced, telly-monger and not someone I usually consult for anything other than how not to speak to other people. However female solicitor is a fan of some really trash telly and mentioned that Mr Ramsey had recently bestowed Yu and You Ribble with the title of ‘Best Chinese Restaurant,’ therefore we should probably nip over to the Horwich branch to see if we agreed with him.
Simply Yu and You is tucked away on St John’s Street, around a corner off Winter Hey Lane in Horwich; thankfully the solicitors had done their research, presented their case and led the way.
Any winner for a restaurant is service, and the staff at Simply Yu and You made us feel like kings, or more fittingly emperors. Though service was clumsy (dropped cutlery anyone?), the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable; something many places could learn from – hope you’re taking note Vermillion.
Having never visited the main Yu and You, or indeed watched that rapscallion Mr Ramsey’s programme, I have no idea how Simply compares. At first glance the restaurant is very stylish; with a bright blue up lit bar, granite panelling and flock covered menus. In contrast the actual restaurant part is somewhat ‘bedroom wallpaper from Homebase,’ but the main thing has to be said that the small space is clean and they have at least made an effort.
The menu is a little shorter than a standard chinese restaurant’s, plus seems to be much more simplified than the Ribble restaurant’s version; though unfortunately the prices don’t much match this simplification. The question was, why does Yu and You think the people of Horwich need a simpler menu?
Starters came out reasonably quickly, though female solicitor’s didn’t come out until we had all but finished ours – something she used to her advantage by nicking off our plates. If we hadn’t been ‘sharing’ we may have complained, but portions were big enough and when it did come out they were very apologetic.
The boy’s vegetable spring rolls were nice enough, crispy pastry no hint of oil; but he was very jealous when female solicitor’s mini duck spring rolls arrived, there were four compared with his two – and they weren’t that mini either! Once again I chose the squid, was cooked well but nothing special and did have an oily aftertaste. However the winner of the starters was male solicitor’s salt and pepper spare ribs – the only word I have to describe these are soft and lip-smacking – yum!
For mains the boy’s beef with green pepper was good, female solicitor’s predictable sweet and sour pork was predictably alright – good compared with the stuff you get from the chinese takeaway, not mind blowing, but for once a sauce that is both sweet and sour, not just cloyingly sweet.
Male solicitor was vying for first place again with his Thai style crispy king prawns – the sauce was lovely, however his prawns were slightly overdone and chewy. My steamed sea bream was cooked to perfection with the flavour of the fish delicately skipping across my tongue, the crispy noodles a great contrast in texture – however the dish was spoiled by the soy sauce; instead of a complimentary, slightly salty flavour the sauce overpowered the delicate fish and left me gasping for water: therefore no winners on the mains front.
To finish off we ordered the fruit fritters; too oily, not worth mentioning and not worth the £4.95 we paid for the them no matter how good the presentation was (thought the server had managed to knock over both towers bringing them to table, we restyled them for the photo).
Simply Yu and You is better than the takeaway but seems to have simplified not only its menu, but also it’s award winning cooking style – however not its prices. Although the service is charming, the food isn’t worth the prices charged; whether this is a reflection on Gordon’s taste I am unsure, let’s hope the Ribble restaurant is worth eating at – the Horwich one certainly isn’t.
Price for four starters, fours mains, two sides and a pudding – £72.25
Value for money – 6/10
Atmosphere – 6/10
Service – 8/10
Total – 25/40
Simply Yu and You, 2 St John Street, Horwich, Bolton BL6 7NY – 01204 698600 – http://www.simplyyuandyou.com/