Majestic Cuisine, 11 Courtenay Place, Tel: (04) 381-0338
It’s just not the ease of access, being only a couple of minutes away from Regional Wines, but it’s also the excellent food, very friendly service and good value. These clichés extolling the virtues of a restaurant are bandied around easily, but in the case of the Majestic, they are very apt. Wine enthusiasts and winemakers have decent palates and an appreciation of what is good eating, and most are not inexperienced in dining out. Without exception, for all the times we have frequented the Majestic, we have been well-served in the goodness of the food and the congenial service. We feel as if we are family when we are there, one big family, especially when we descend upon the restaurant in a sizeable group.
The word ‘family’ is one of the keys to the magic at the Majestic. Owned by three siblings, Walter and Simon Yan and the ever-youthful Ida Chiu, who are first, third and sixth of the Yan family, their children are also involved with the operation. Jeremy Yan looks after the wine list and the effervescent Vicky Chiu oversees the service between university studies.
The food is classical Cantonese with a bit of a Szechuan twist. It’s what the family know best. It’s also the Chinese cuisine I know best, my family running a Chinese restaurant for over a decade, so I feel reasonably qualified to judge it! Our favourite main courses include crispy roast duck, king prawns and seasonal vegetables, pork ribs in OK sauce, beef in black bean sauce, a steamed whole fish, ‘Eight Treasure’ tofu, bok choy with garlic and combination fried rice. My mum couldn’t cook these dishes better. In addition to the comprehensive range of main courses, there is the traditional selection of entrees, soups, and desserts. As with any respectable Chinese restaurant, banquet set meals are offered, but often we put our trust in the kitchen for a selection of interesting, tasty and different dishes. The entrees range in price from $4.00 - $8.00, mains from $18.00 - $40.00, averaging in the mid $20.00s and desserts at $6.00.
The more subtle Cantonese flavours suit a surprising range of wine styles, but recently we have enjoyed Mt Edward Pinot Blanc 2009, Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett 2007, Schoffit Alsace Gewurztraminer ‘Harth’ 2007, Spade Oak Viognier 2007, (surprisingly) Te Mata ‘Elston’ Chardonnay 2008, Pond Paddock Pinot Noir 2008, Drouhin Beaune 1er ‘Greves’ 2007 and Yalumba ‘Hand-Picked’ Tempranillo/Grenache/Viognier 2006 with the food. If you don’t BYO, then there’s a sound wine list of New Zealand wines with favourites such as Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc, Redmetal Chardonnay, Wild Rock Pinot Noir and Instinct Syrah.
The Majestic serves Yum Char in addition to dinner daily. You can walk out from lunch, replete, for less than $20.00 per person. For dinner, you spend $25.00 - $35.00 per person, excluding wine. I call that incredible value. How can they manage it? It must be magic!
- Raymond Chan