Emerald Garden Chinese restaurant has been run by the Chan family for almost 30 years, and now third generation Jasmine is running it along with the capable hands of Phillip, her manager. The restaurant is located in the centre of Kilkenny High Street, directly opposite Bank of Ireland. When you enter there is a large open carpeted area split over 2 levels, and wooden tables all fully set makes the room very inviting. There is also a take away area at the front for those evenings that you feel like good food without the cooking.
Once seated we looked over the menus, an early bird that is great value for money with 2-courses for €16.50 Monday to Wednesday between 5 & 10pm or €19.50 Thursday to Sunday from 5 – 11pm or 3-courses for €26.90 all week. Starters on the early bird offer Prawn Toast, Spring Rolls or Barbecued Spare Ribs while on the mains are a selection of Chicken Curry, Sizzling Sichuan Chicken or King Prawns with Cashew Nuts. There is a selection of desserts and teas/coffee. One thing that I found really surprising is that all their desserts are homemade on the premises by an Irish lady which is unusual for a Chinese restaurant.
The A La Carte was far more extensive divided between starters, seafood, sizzling and mains. Starters ranged anywhere from €5.50 to €17.50 for the Peking duck to be shared between two people. There were a couple of dishes that could be shared which again I liked. There was a selection of soups; a Fried won Ton Salad, Calamari with Coriander Aioli or a Malaysian Style Chicken Satay.
I went chose the Bang Bang Chicken while Fred went with the Spicy Hot ‘N Sour Soup and Keisha had Spicy Chicken Wings. The Bang Bang Chicken won the competition here, but when the waiter tells you that something is spicy believe him, it really was hot. One of the things I believe that makes their food so authentic is that their head chef Fang Zeng Tai was fully trained in Sichuan province before coming to the Emerald Garden all those years ago.
Main Courses ranged from €14-22, but there was a great selection. Wok Seared Squid with Dry Hot Chilies & Red Onions, Lamb with Aromatic Garlic and Oyster Sauce or Hoisin Chicken may just give you an idea of the variation in the menu.
I went with a sizzling dish of Monkfish, Crab Claws and Prawns with Mixed Greens while he opted for a Duck Curry and Keisha had the Crispy Shredded Chicken, we also ordered fried rice and noodles which we all shared. I would recommend any of the sizzling dishes; they were all really well done.
Last was the wine list which gave a choice of 9 white wines and 8 reds, they were priced anywhere from €19-54.00. We went with a South African Sauvignon Blanc which probably wasn’t my finest choice, but that didn’t stop us from finishing the bottle.
All in all it was a very pleasant evening and if you are looking for authentic Chinese food and good value for money you can’t go wrong in the Emerald Garden where both Jasmine and Phillip will look after you very well.