IN times of need, the local Chinese is always there.
It was one of those weeks when it felt like God had drunk a double vodka and the world was slightly askew, with everything sliding out of control and going against you.
But I’ll save you all my first-world problems and just say “Thank God for sweet and sour pork”.
The Lee Palace is on the Canning Highway in Palmyra; part of a group of shops just down from the Mazda dealership.
With its huge green-and-red neon sign, it’s gloriously old fashioned and the outside is a bit tatty (imagine Ridley Scott had run out of budget and shot Blade Runner in Palmyra).
But some of the best Chinese meals I’ve had were in places that weren’t exactly Buckingham Palace, so sometimes appearances aren’t that important.
Lee Palace’s menu played to the gallery and was a collection of old favourites, almost to the point of cliche.
Special fried rice, black bean, sweet and sour, Szechuan, lemon chicken, omelette – all the classics from your childhood takeaways with mum and dad.
The menu had a comforting familiarity and no-nonsense approach, but would the food deliver?
The highlight of our meal was the black bean beef ($21)
There were loads of tender slices of beef, which were perfectly cooked with just a little hint of pink in the middle (I’ve had so many Chinese beef dishes that were tougher than a leather jacket left out in the sun).
The sauce was on point too, with that trademark glisten and salty punch you get from the black bean.
The seasoning was just right and they hadn’t over done it (some black bean sauces can leave you gulping water for days).
The sweet and sour pork ($21) was just how I remembered it from my childhood – that bright red radioactive-looking sauce and chunks of tender chicken with a crispy batter.
When combined with the steamed jasmine rice (large $8) the world seemed a better place and suddenly all the trials of the week fell away.
A comforting and tasty dish.
The chilli king prawns ($26) had plenty of mixed veg including baby sweetcorn and onion, and lots of good quality prawns, but it didn’t quite hit the flavour heights of the other dishes.
If you’re going here, I would probably stick with the old-school favourites.
So, yes, in times of need Lee Palace is like an old-school comfort blanket that other modern takeaways and hipster joints can’t emulate.
File under a rainy night when you need a boost.
Lee Palace Chinese Restaurant
1/379 Canning Highway, Palmyra
By STEPHEN POLLOCK