The Pavilion Cantonese Restaurant has been in the same ownership for more than 25 years.
It is housed in a former Public House, high in the village of Iveston on the main road between the City of Durham and the former steel town of Consett, having been established in the town in the early eighties.
I have lost count of the times I have eaten here, either with work colleagues, friends, family or just with my wife.
Over the years the level of service and attention has been consistently high and the food can only be described as first class and absolutely delicious. So obviously it’s one of my favorites.
From the outside, it doesn’t look anything special, but from its high position the view from the restaurant is quite spectacular.
As you enter the building, you are greeted by a large, golden, smiling and pot bellied Buddha, and a member of their attentive staff immediately shows you to a comfortable seat in the reception lounge for drinks.
The decor is dominated by attractive glass partitions and oriental art and wall plaques. The lounge furniture is comfortable, although we did notice that some of the cushions were suffering from some wear and tear and are definitely in need of attention or replacement. The toilets are immaculate, with fresh flower arrangements in each.
When seated you are immediately presented with a dish of complimentary, and freshly prepared prawn crackers and a hot towel and a menu for each guest.
The menu consists of no less than 146 dishes including Banquets for between 2 and 6 or more people. Soups, Appetizers, Sizzling Hot Plate Dishes, Birds Nest Dishes, King Prawn, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Vegetarian and Chow Mein Dishes.
After ten or fifteen minutes the remains of your drinks are gathered up or replenished, and you are guided to your table which is covered in a fresh white clean tablecloth.
On this occasion we were a party of four, two of which do not eat pork. This did not present a problem as there were numerous alternatives and an experienced member of staff was able to reassure them about which dishes did not contain pork.
So on this occasion we chose what is described as a Gourmet’s Table Banquet for 4 at £32.95 per head which started with Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup and followed by Mixed Hors D’Oeuvre (Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings, Curry Triangles, Deep fried Butterfly King Prawns, and Spring Rolls.
We followed this with Aromatic Crispy Duck (shredded at the table) with Pancakes and Spring Onions and struggled to complete our meal with a variety of main dishes from King Prawn Curry to Sizzling Fillet Steak.
You must have an enormous appetite if leave this place wanting more.
The sweet menu is not worth a mention here. Trust me. You will not have enough room to accommodate a sweet, but a nice and unusual treat is a complimentary liqueur before you leave.
It’s not obligatory that you accept this gift, but it does beat fortune cookies!