Saturday, 23 October 2021

All change as sisters take over restaurant

TWO sisters have taken over the management of Henley’s only Chinese restaurant.

TWO sisters have taken over the management of Henley’s only Chinese restaurant.

Angela and Mei Li have been running Royal China in Reading Road since November and Mei’s husband Kai and their son Michael, 23, are the chefs.

The women, who both have experience in the trade, have reduced the number of covers from 76 to 42 and the menu is smaller with about 80 dishes.

Angela, who lives above the premises, said: “There were too many seats before. If you were collecting a takeaway you had to walk in between tables. It is now more comfortable.

“We have a smaller menu which we can concentrate on so we can have very high standards and keep our food fresh.”

She wants to move the front door so customers don’t need to cross the dining room to get to the bar area when they arrive and the restaurant will be redecorated.

Angela was born in south China and came to England in the Nineties, when she was in her twenties, to study business management in London, although a family illness meant she couldn’t finish the course.

She spent a number of years travelling between China and England, working and looking after her three children.

She sold safety equipment to building firms and was an administrator before becoming manager for a Chinese restaurant in Dunstable.

She moved to Henley because she wanted her children to attend better schools. Victoria, six, is at Trinity primary and Lewis, 10, is at Gillotts School, while Ray, 17, is at boarding school in Lancaster. Angela said she had planned to open a café but when the restaurant became available it was too good an opportunity to miss.

She says that her children prefer living in Henley, adding: “It is very lively — it is full of life. My daughter is saying, ‘Mummy, I love this town’. It is so different to Dunstable.”

Royal China became the only Chinese restaurant in the town following the closure of Chef Peking in Market Place in May 2013, which is now Portugese restaurant The Square. The restaurant used to be in Duke Street but moved to its current location in 2008.

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