PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Eating places cluster around the Rivoli cinema complex. The latest is Purple Sands, pretty much next door, which took over from a Japanese restaurant in mid-2007. It’s one of the smarter Chinese restaurants in the area; quite small, painted in muted shades of purple/pink (which looks much better than it sounds) with attractive Chinese paintings and white napery. Smaller tables are square, larger tables round and usually filled by enthusiastic multi-generational Chinese families.
The food is a treat, as you’d expect from an old hand in the industry. The first Purple Sands was in Doncaster, originally set up by Gilbert Lau and Flower Drum staff. Some of the old favourites are on the menu, such as the fried stuffed garfish served with mushroom sauce. Peking duck is available, but also try the roast duck (half or whole) with a light plum sauce. The dim sum menu is a beauty – tick your choices from the extensive list, and wait for them to appear. Great dumplings, including taro dumplings, and some special Cantonese dishes like duck tongue and feet, braised chicken feet and drunken chicken are on offer. Not your thing? Try the ginger prawns instead. The wine and tea list is really good, and the service exceptional. Remember to book, though, as it gets pretty busy.