I'm an actress and freelance writer living in North London
Published May 30th 2011
When my boyfriend said he wanted to take me out for a Chinese, I expected a quick trip to the local take-away, but I was more than pleasantly surprised when I was whisked off to a luxurious restaurant.
The Good Earth, just off Mill Hill Broadway, is a traditional Chinese restaurant with an extra touch of class. The restaurant also has popular branches in sought after London locations such as West Hampstead and Kensington, so you know it must have something a little bit special about it.
When we got there it was bustling and lively. We were greeted at the door almost immediately even though the staff were rushed off their feet. Within minutes our coats were neatly hung up and we had prawn crackers and drinks before we had even had time to peruse the menu.
The dιcor was traditional and elegant with specially folded white table cloths and napkins and atmospheric lighting. There were Chinese paintings, ornaments and other traditional artefacts lining the walls, and although it was busy, it felt relaxed and private.
The menu was a little pricier than I would normally expect but the quality of food and the service was worth it. The staff were friendly and efficient, rather than pushy which I have often found in some other traditional restaurants.
The food was excellent and served quickly, they even came out and showed us how our quarter duck looked before cutting it up for us (it wasn't still feathered). They have everything you would expect on a traditional Chinese menu such as crispy duck, but they say they have their own Chinese inspired creations which include things like grilled monk fish. So there is plenty of variety for any type of eater. They also have a extensive vegetarian menu.
Keeping in with tradition, chop sticks are of course provided. They do however have other cutlery if you are struggling. I did my best to master my chopstick technique, although the couple on the table next to us enjoyed laughing at my attempts!
The portions sizes were generous, and I barely started my main course because I was full from my starter. Luckily we were able to take or unfinished food home in little boxes, like you see on american TV shows, which I have to say was one of the most exciting parts of the night for me.
The restaurant is definitely a great place for a special occasion, as it has a great vibe and the fast and personal service makes you feel that little bit more important. Also, it is worth booking in advance on busy evenings as it gets very full. We went on a Saturday night and couldn't get a booking until much later in the evening.
In addition to their restaurants they also have a take-away service Good Earth Express, with venues all around London.
Full details of all of their menus including their take-away service is available on their website.