Chinese cuisine isn’t something I would usually select if you told me I could eat any kind of food or go to any restaurant for dinner. I think it’s a combination of never having found my order or my go-to dishes and since following a vegetarian diet, none of the veggie/fish options usually appeal to me.
So, when an invite landed to try JIN, a new fusion style restaurant, handily located within the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Speke and a mere five minutes from my home, my arm was twisted to go along and see what the fuss is all about…
Located to the rear of the hotel, the stand-alone restaurant has a variety of seating options, suited to members of the hotel looking for a bite to eat or locals simply in need of a Chinese meal.
We took our seats in the very swanky VIP section, suited to larger parties dining for special occasions, whether that’s a birthday or an anniversary. With a large menu to look over, compromising of meat, fish and veggie dishes plus the option to sample the duck banquet (but please do book advance for duck dishes), we took recommendations from the waiting staff and got stuck in!
The restaurant offers lots of little extra touches, including palette cleansers between each course – starting with a variety of chilli and salt and pepper seasoned popcorn. Not what you’d expect but oh so moreish.
We decided to go for two courses. To start we went for –
Vegetable spring rolls
Deliciously crispy, very little grease and just the perfect, light portion to start your meal. A classic you would see on the menu, but oh so delicious.
Roasted Lamb Belly with chilli, coriander and cumin
I have it on authority from Darren that the lamb was succulent, easily fell off the bone and flavoured perfectly. This was his first foray back onto meat for a couple of months and he was very happy he went for the lamb belly. Would defo recommend!
Steamed meat and prawn dumplings
Something different but a good way to try new dishes on the menu. The dumplings were soft, clearly freshly cooked and steamed and the two flavours complimented each other well.
Once the starters were demolished and our plates were empty, another palette cleanser appeared before we had our mains. A watermelon sorbet with lychee. Honestly, this was so fruity yet fresh tasting. The small spoonful was not enough. It needs to be a standalone dessert!
We had a breather between courses and we both went for a cocktail from the Specials menu – I opted for a gin cocktail whilst Darren chose a gold rum with ginger beer. Both were so refreshing and a great choice whilst we waited for our mains to cook!
Onto the mains!
After the success of the starters, we were both excited to try our chosen mains!
Stir fried soft shell crab with salt and pepper
I want to return to JIN for this dish alone. Served with noodles – It. Was. Delicious. The crab tasted amazing, the perfect mix of salt and pepper. No words. Just go. Order this dish and then come talk to me. You won’t regret it!
Steamed seabass with ginger and spring onion
Darren ordered the seabass and was given the option of de-boning it himself or one of the wait staff could do it for him as it’s super fiddly. He opted for the latter, luckily! I had a bite and we couldn’t decide who’s main won the round. Ordered with fragrant white rice, the fish fell off the bone and was so soft and succulent. Again, order it and then we’ll talk.
JIN was such a pleasant surprise and I’m so #thankful they’re only down the road from us. Such lovely, helpful staff who are on hand to answer all of your questions ( we asked lots) and the food is so fresh and well prepared. Whilst this may a complimentary review, I’m so glad we went along as we both enjoyed it so much!