Over the weekend we had a meal at the Mayflower Chinese restaurant in Basingstoke to celebrate a family members Hen night. It was a great chance to get together with family and have a nice meal together. The restaurant is located close to the centre of Basingstoke town although it did take us a little while to find it. Thanks to google maps however, we knew we were pretty close when we came to the Red Lion Hotel and it was just around the corner from there.
We waited outside for a few minutes in the evening air as we were fairly early and thought from the outside the place looked quite small and despite it clearly saying restaurant on the building all we saw were people going in to collect takeaways. Once we headed inside however we saw differently.
The Mayflower is a small restaurant with a huge menu and pretty similar to other Chinese restaurants I have eaten in. All the tables were lined with white linen table cloths, flowers and clean napkins, wine glasses and cutlery. As the booking was for a hen night they had made extra effort with balloons and offered us two tables close together for our party of fourteen. Drink orders were collected table side promptly. There was never a need to get up and help yourself to a drink from the bar, which was very small and located towards the back of the room.
The setting was comfortable but I feel the lighting was quite dull and so my pictures are a little dark. The staff were fine, I wouldn’t say the service was exceptional but they were polite and frequently checked on us throughout the evening. The toilets are situated at the very back, there is one for women and one for men with a combined sink in the middle. The ladies were also fitted out to be a disabled loo and there was a white linen lined table in the toilet. I assume this is to act as baby changing facilities. These were kept clean.
The tables were very close together which made it easy for the party to sit together however being two round tables it meant that we were sort of segregated from the whole group. I do think it’s hard to cater for large groups in restaurants though and we were sat as close as we could and able to interact with those on our table which was good.
The menu has a lot of choice and a variety of set menus to make things easier for larger parties. Most of us had appetisers, with mine being the Thai Tom Yam Soup which was absolutely delicious. My mum and my nan both tried mine and really enjoyed it. The cripsy chicken with salt, chilli and garlic was also very tasty.
For my main course I had egg fried rice and shredded chilli beef. The rice came in little bamboo dishes which made for great presentation and there was plenty of rice to go around. My beef was okay, it was very chewy and the sauce wasn’t as thick as I usually enjoy. The duck pancakes looked absolutely fantastic and even just a quarter duck was very generously portioned. My sister had a pork curry which she enjoyed but found a little on the spicy side.
One thing that always really impresses me at Chinese restaurants is the vegetable art work. This one is the best I have seen.
We had a nice meal at the Mayflower although due to the location not being in my hometown it’s unlikely I would return. However, for those looking for a Chinese restaurant in Basingstoke I would happily recommend the Mayflower to them.