Review of 'Happy Seasons'

On another trip to Manchester I was looking once again for a fix of dim sum in Chinatown so having done a bit of searching online I came up with “Happy Seasons” being a particularly good choice so we made our way to Faulkner Street and joined the queue, generally a good sign on a Friday afternoon, to wait for a table. After about 30 minutes we were shown inside to our table to the left of the door in the window with a great view of others waiting to come in.


The restaurant has 2 small rooms with paper covered tables very close to one another. This is not a place to linger with little in the way of ambiance other than some uninspiring art on the walls and a dirty fish tank near the entrance with a few sad looking goldfish listlessly swimming back and forth.

The menu is what you might expect from most Chinese restaurants in the UK with it divided to show several set menus, “Appetisers”, “Dim Sum”, “Soups”, “Seafood”, “Prawn Dishes”, “Noodles, Rice Stick & Vermicelli Dishes”, “Udon Noodle Dishes” (though udon noodles are Japanese), “Rice Dishes”, “Chinese Authentic Dishes”, “Sizzling Fillet Steak”, “Chicken Dishes”, “In House Roasted Duck Dishes”, “Beef Dishes”, “Pork Dishes”, “Barbeque Dishes”, “Barbeque Rice Dishes”, “Extra Portions” (sauces and the like), “Seasonal Vegetables”, then “Vegetarian Dishes” including “Soup”, “Appetizers”, “Main Course”, and “Mock Chicken Dishes” (where, presumably, the staff mock you if you order it). Prices are pretty much what you might expect with most appetizers in the single digits and mains in the double with only the half “Crispy Aromatic Duck” and the set menus being more than £20. Despite only 9 choices on the dim sum section (yes, I counted) we were determined to make a good go of it straying only briefly from this section of the menu for two of our dishes. After grabbing the attention of the waiting staff we placed our order then waited, shuffling our table to the left when a bigger group needed a larger table arranged beside us.

Choi Sum

A favourite of ours is “Gai Lan”, a steamed Chinese green vegetable similar to tender stem broccoli, but this is often not available and so it was the case here so we ordered the “Choi Sum” (£10.50) with oyster sauce which was quite a good sized portion and not over doused with oyster sauce. The vegetables were not overcooked though the pieces were quite large and a bit watery, making it a bit awkward to eat (yes, with chopsticks).

Salt & Pepper Squid

Another option we ordered outside of the dim sum section was “Salt & Pepper Squid” (£14.50) which was quite delicious with the squid not at all over cooked, nor oily, and another large portion. It had a good amount of chilli toppings which was nice though we did find the batter a bit undercooked with a slight taste of flour.

Fried Won Ton

Next up was the “Crispy Fried Won Tun” (£5.20 for three, served with sweet and sour sauce) which was quite different than what you might expect with the “won tun” actually wrapped into parcels meaning that, sure, there was a lot more prawn filling, but it was quite greasy and not at all attractive on the plate.

Ha Gou Steamed Prawn Dumplings

The “Ha Gou Steamed Prawn Dumplings” (£5.20 for four) were tasteless in the extreme with no seasoning or anything else at all added to the prawn. You should think even a bit of bamboo shoots or something for texture…For this I had to resort to asking for some “Chilli Oil/Chilli Sauce” (cheekily charged for at £1) to make it a bit more tasty to eat.

Steamed Vegetable Crystal Bun

“Steamed Vegetable Crystal Bun” (£4.50 for three) were good sized steamed dumplings full of a reasonably tasty vegetable filling though a bit tricky to pick up as the wrapping was a bit fragile and they were stuck to the paper in the steamer.

Char Siu Bun

A personal favourite, the “Steamed Char Siu Buns” (£4.50 for three, fluffy steamed buns filled with barbeque pork) were quite good as well with a large amount of fair bland but OK filling.

While we were waiting for dishes to be delivered we noted that many groups around us were ordering large amounts of food and generally shovelling it in and given what we saw by the portion sizes and costs it is no wonder - Inexpensive, reasonably tasty and with large quantities. I don't think this is somewhere you go for a fancy or even tasty Chinese dinner and certainly not for dim sum with their depressingly short list of options for that type of eating.

At £51.70 for the two of us including two (bottomless) orders of “Chinese Tea” (Jasmine) and a 10% service charge it was fairly reasonable considering the amount of food we received but certainly was not what I would call a good quality meal. With an unappealing interior, indifferent though efficient staff, and uninspiring food I can't say I will be wishing for “Happy Seasons” again any time soon though I can see that it would appeal to many who just want a cheap and cheerful “Chinese”.

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2022-06-03

Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 59 Faulkner St, Manchester M1 4FF ENGLAND

Location: Manchester (England)



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