Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Golden Phoenix, Liverpool
The once loved Chinese that is now a building site....
My very first Chinese in the early 80s was at the Golden Phoenix. Downtown in Hanover Street, this Chinese was an institution in the city loved by families, clubbers and businessmen alike. Its banquets were legendary and the decor was a throwback to the 70s, a time when eating out was more special. However, when the restaurant really came into its own for me was of a lunchtime.
Business lunch in the Phoenix was a plentiful affair, you were left in peace to linger over it if you weren't stuck for time. The last time I went was in 2006, just before its closure and a slap up lunch cost £5.50. The starter was always chicken and sweetcorn soup, the veggie soup of the day or bizarrely sometimes even a glass of orange juice! It was always served with crusty bread...mmm!
Main course was heaven. Served with either EFR, chips or boiled rice, veggies could order practically anything and your fussy friend who hates foreign food could even get a roast! I always had the veggie vermicelli or veg curry.
The folks at the GF always went the extra mile for dessert- yes, the ubiquitous ice cream in a metal dish was there, but they also offered a hot pudding with custard and these were so moreish! Once I even got one served with a piece of plastic in it- what a tasty garnish that could choke! This little slip aside, the GP always come up with the goods to please my choosy veggie tastebuds.
If you wanted to splash out, you could have had a cheeseboard for another quid with 5 different cheeses, crackers and grapes. Or, if you had more room in your belly, why not take a trip to Dessert Island?
Dessert Island...oh the memories! In the middle of the restaurant was an ornate island of gateaux and more with a huge statue of a fish in the middle of it. I always joked that I wanted one in my house. The coffee here was suitably potent as well, and always served with mints.
On the way out, guests could always help themselves to more mints or if you were cheeky as I was, you could help yourself to the kiddies' chocolate bars- Phoenix guests were well and truly spoiled!
The staff here were friendly and took the effort to get to know their guests, I was nearly invited on the staff nights out as I was so regular here. The toilets left a lot to be desired here, the seats painted maroon and the paint chipping off, and I'm pretty sure Environmental Health give them a big fat fail. Another quirky memory I have of the place was on entering, you were greeted by a glass display cabinet filled with cat statues and you got a whiff of the NCP next door- yes, it shared an entrance with the aforementioned car park but the combining scent of petrol and egg foo yung added to the ambience of the GP!
I am saddened to think I will never return to the GP, thanks to the greed of those pesky Liverpool One developers. A true icon of my childhood has now been destroyed, along with many others, paving way for another boring set of chains like N***o's, C**ta and Gourmet B****r Kitchen.
If the owners are reading this, what have you done with Dessert Island?