Chapter 163: Incognito Visit to Guilin Restaurant (4)
The middle-aged woman was Ah Cai’s eldest aunt from his father’s side of the family. Her name was Wang Lu, or as most people called her, Mrs Wang. The entire Wang family of servants had been part of Matriarch He’s dowry back when she had married into the He family. Later on, they had been sent to manage Guilin Restaurant.
Ever since the west market had been redrawn, Guilin Restaurant’s business had taken a sharp turn for the worse. Their finances were perpetually stuck in the red, and had been for the past several years. When the original manager left, the Wang family had been put in charge.
Matriarch He had known that Guilin Restaurant was bleeding money, but she hadn’t shut it down due to her memories of it. She hadn’t inquired about the management either, so she didn’t know that the Wang family was running it in this manner.
After entering the backyard, Ah Cai tugged at Mrs Wang. “Eldest Aunt, why are you keeping them? We can just kick them out! It looks like she’s some minor official’s wife. How could they possibly compare to House Jing’an’s status?”
Mrs Wang glared at him. “All you know how to do is kick our customers out! How many customers have you chased out of our doors this month? Although we’re helping House Jing’an manage this business, we haven’t had a single bit of income for the past few months. It doesn’t look good on the books at all. Furthermore, didn’t you see those sturdy manservants that that young madam brought? It won’t be good if we get into trouble. Your uncle isn’t back yet!”
Ah Cai frowned. “Eldest Aunt, you’re just too timid. We all know that Guilin Restaurant hasn’t changed owners yet because of Matriarch He. As long as the matriarch is around, Guilin Restaurant will remain standing, and we can live an idle life here. What can a lowly noble’s wife do to us? The moment she hears that we’re backed by House Jing’an, she’ll probably wet herself in fright!”
Mrs Wang sighed, “Alright, alright. Ah Cai, Eldest Aunt knows about all that. No matter what, we have to deal with them first! I wonder which cave that vixen crawled out of. She must have seduced some minor official’s son and brought out some manservants to show off. She even had the gall to claim that she’s eaten the finest gourmet dishes across the entire country. Hmph! She’s probably never even had those confections that Cook Zhou of House Jing’an makes! Alright, that’s enough. Just watch while I cook up some random dishes to satisfy her. When she’s done eating, tack on some charges to the bill and buy back half a roast chicken at night for our dinner.”
When Ah Cai heard Mrs Wang’s instructions, he chuckled devilishly and said, “Whatever Eldest Aunt says.”
The two of them entered the kitchen and Mrs Wang started cooking. She started with a dish that could be cooked quickly, so that they could buy some time for the rest of the dishes.
Mrs Wang took out a white porcelain plate and was about to pour a pot full of meat into it when Ah Cai noticed what she was doing. He quickly moved to stop her. “Eldest Aunt, that’s for us to eat! If you give that to those people, won’t it be such a waste?”
Ah Cai liked to eat meat. He had nagged Mrs Wang to cook up some meat for days before she agreed to cook this one pot. How could he bear to let it go to Chu Lian and her party?
Mrs Wang found his childish actions funny and glared at him, but didn’t go through with serving up the meat in the end. She moved the meat back into the pot and looked around the kitchen. She then made up some dishes without much care and sent Ah Cai to deliver it to the main hall.
After fifteen minutes, the waiter Ah Cai returned to the main hall with some dishes in hand.
He placed them on the table none-too-gently with loud thuds.
Ah Cai then proudly lifted his chin and said, “Madam, look carefully. These are Guilin Restaurant’s signature dishes!”
Chu Lian looked at the table before her with an unmoved expression. Two dishes were filled with something so charred she couldn’t tell what it was. Another dish to the side was filled with soup, with a pitiful amount of scattered cabbage leaves. The other dish had been broiled for so long that its colour had changed and she couldn’t even tell what it was made of.
The four dishes looked completely inedible.
Did these people think she was blind?
Without waiting for Wenqing to speak for her, Chu Lian said in a flat tone. “Signature dishes? I’m afraid these were made to feed the pigs!”
After saying so, Chu Lian swept the four dishes to the floor without the slightest hint of hesitation. The tinkling sound of the porcelain dishes shattering on the limestone floor resounded in the main hall.
Wenqing and Wenlan had also been frightened by Chu Lian’s sudden action. However, when they looked at the ugly expression on that arrogant waiter Ah Cai, the maidservants were delighted! It was as if they had finally let go of the frustration plaguing their hearts; their bodies felt light and free of burden.