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Quality Counts at Abacus
Bolton Evening News - 12.07.2010
By Cherry Brown

ABACUS is a modern, relaxed, Chinese restaurant, nestled among the shops, close to the cinema, at Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park in Horwich. Its position on the first floor means diners enjoy a nice view, if you ignore the car park and take in the distance and the sunset!

I headed there with a friend one Friday night for a catch up. We were immediately seated in the window and although the restaurant was busy, there was a relaxed, quiet buzz.

We scanned the wine list first, opting for the only Rose on the list at around £15 as well as two cokes to quench our thirst first.

After pouring over the ample menu, which also includes some Thai dishes, we ordered sesame prawns on toast (£5) and crispy fried pork spring rolls (£4). The portions were very generous, which was good as we had decided to share, with six pieces of toast and four spring rolls, which were all piping hot and delicious, a perfect start.

Starters range from soup and ribs to pancakes and combo platters (from £2.50-£7.80). Next we opted for chicken in sweet and sour sauce and beef in Szechuan sauce (both £7.50), both with egg fried rice (£2.30 each). The meals were scrumptious, with generous portions, and we soon polished them off.

The menu also includes a range of meats and sauces, including seafood, priced between £7-9.50. There are also rice and noodle dishes, specialities and a good vegetarian selection. Up until this point the service had been great but we did have to ask about dessert as they weren't offered.

Options included fruit and ice cream from a couple of pounds upwards. After a rest we choose mint parfait, mint ice cream in a chocolate coating with chocolate sauce in the middle, which melted in the mouth, and pineapple katsu, pinapple fritters with ice cream, which was declared yummy but was too big to be finished.

We had to wait a bit to attract someone's attention to get the bill but the staff were otherwise friendly and efficient and it was all part of the relaxed atmosphere really.

The bill came to £55.20, not bad at all, so next time you fancy a Chinese don't forget about this gem, tucked away at Middlebrook. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed.

Manchester Evening News logo

A Taste of the Orient
Manchester Evening News | 20.12.2002

By Les Holt of Prestwich

A TASTE of the Orient on the outskirts of Bolton hardly seems feasible. But given the nomadic passion for exploration into every nook and cranny of the globe it’s not surprising the Orientals moved in lock, stock and chopsticks to the Middlebrook Leisure Park adjacent to Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium. Soccer and fried rice make a pleasant combination. You score on both counts of value!

Which brings me to the Abacus Oriental. It’s sumptuous, irresistibly inviting because of it’s magnificent ambience designed by the restauranteurs themselves. What strikes you is the expansiveness. No expense has been spared to create a truly luxury environment with ultra-modern decor and stylish table arrangements. In my time I’ve savoured what Manchester’s famous Chinatown has to offer. But Abacus is tantalisingly different. My wife, Trish, was so entranced by its Far Eastern exotic menu that she fancied everything.

If you arrive before 5pm there’s a special three-course mouthwatering menu for £8.50 per person. Living dangerously we lapped up chicken and sweetcorn soup, spring roll and seaweed (nutritionists say it’s full of healthy things), then sweet and sour chicken with boiled rice.

I’m a demanding diner, appreciating quality food prepared to perfection. I’ve come a long way from chips and mushy peas. Hand on heart this was cuisine at its best. And the full, incredibly large menu with a variety of exciting dishes from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, besides Cantonese favourites, has been chosen to reflect each country’s origin.

Obviously the wine and drinks (non-alcoholoc selection plentiful) list is comprehensive, and won’t disappoint you. It’s bursting with original ideas. And the coffees are delicious.

But what impressed me was the careful thought that has gone into presenting dishes that appeal to every palate. Lots of vegetarian too. When I see the festive meals at most hotels and restaurants. Abacus are offering a wonderful fayre from £16.90 to £23.90 per head, though they are closed Christmas Day.

A massive car park is immediately outside with window tables available to lovingly ogle your vehicle. Odds on the food will grab your whole attention. If it doesn’t, your tastebuds need a MoT!

The restaurant’s slogan is, “Originality is our quality. Quality is our name. And our name is Abacus!”

Even if you don’t fancy footie at the Reebok, you’ll fancy the Oriental splendours that will seduce you.

Bolton Evening News Logo

Restaurant of the Year 2002
Bolton Evening News - 13.02.2003

A hidden gem on the Warner Village complex at Middlebrook has scooped the Bolton Evening News’ Restaurant of the Year 2002, proving that if you have got what it takes discerning diners will seek you out.

The Abacus Restaurant can count on hundreds of regulars who have discovered its culinary charms.

But cinema-goers could easily miss this treat as the entrance to this modern, airy restaurant is accessed via stairs from the central walkway.

Oriental restaurant Abacus first opened in 1998, but changed hands last year when a consortium of investors bought it. Manager Alan Yim came from a restaurant in Cheshire to help make the 120 covers restaurant such a success and head up the team of 24 full and part-time staff.

Its appeal lies not simply in the marriage of modern, bright decor and tables on two levels with stunning views over the huge shopping and leisure complex and the West Pennine hills beyond. Nor is it just the friendly staff or Abacus’ extensive menu. It is in all these things, effortlessly blended together to provide an eating out experience that so many local people – and visitors from further afield – have found worth repeating time after time.

“It’s great that so many people are now regular customers,” says Mr Yim. “We try to be flexible and if someone asks for something that is not on the menu, I will ask the chef if he can cook it for them.” This flexibility is echoed in the kitchen where head chef Kaman Lau from Hong Kong brings 10 years of experience and flair. He daily creates a mixture of Cantonese and Thai cuisine that has won many fans. The Bolton Evening News’ reviewer certainly found all dishes sampled to be of an excellent standard and well presented.

“It is nice to win awards and to have your work appreciated,” admits Mr Yim. “We have a friendly team and we try our best for our customers. Perhaps that is our ’secret’.”