Although people seem to think that bloggers are the new in thing, there is definitely much to be said for the power of traditional media outlets. Sometimes higher entry barriers tend to result in a better quality as the price of admission is rather high. Case in point being the millions of uninteresting cat videos online. After a while, I really don’t care… Bye bye kitty.
A good example of this effect is Mandarin Kitchen. After a glowing review by the Guardian food critic, this place was packed to the gills with non-Chinese diners. Previously it was just somewhere that people of Chinese ethnicity knew to come to. Older (and richer) diners don’t seem as at ease with annoying bloggers (like me). They put their trust in print. Wise choice.
This was a Saturday night. Every table was full and the line was out the door. Most people were happy.
Except for the young boy on the left. Maybe he didn’t like seafood. Well, too bad for him. Means more seafood for me.
Lobster with ginger & spring onion. This is the reason why people come. Mandarin Kitchen bills itself as the home of the lobster noodle. I have to agree as that is how I remember them too from my first visit a long long time ago. At that time, it blew my mind and my wallet as I had just started work then.
That is still somewhat true decades later, as my stomach was very happy here. This is a place to bring back thoughts of the Chinese meals I used to have as a kid where at the end I was finish surrounded by copious amounts of shells and other seafood detritus. This lobster was succulent, meaty and sat on a delicious bed of egg noodles so no juices were wasted. The garlic and ginger delicately complemented the lobster flesh, it was so good, that I made sure to lick every last bit of this sauce from the lobster shell.
Dover sole stir fried with dried chilli & onion. Flavourful and delicate. Could have done with a crispier exterior though, as it was a bit soggy. Then again, to be fair to them, sogginess maybe as a result of my indecision as there were many dishes to eat on the table so I only got to this much later on. As people remark, I can be slow of tongue (speaking and eating) at times.
Deep fried king prawn with salted egg yolk. Succulent and meaty as the coating encased moist and flavourful prawn inside. Would have been nice to be on a bed of fried garlic though but nonetheless quite good.
Fried minced bean curd & prawn stewed in oyster sauce. Delicious as fulfilling the place as our token non-seafood/meat dish of the night. Deep umami flavour, moist tofu and prawn delicate filling set off by oyster sauce outside.
Seafood fried rice with sauce fook chow style. Rice heaped with generous helpings of seafood, it was savoury, salty and filling and provided a great filler.
I think I ate too much. That is a statement that is more true than usual, hard as that may be to believe. Although I think most people (Chinese or not) can appreciate the quality of this cooking, the decor, the hustle and bustle, the dishes reminded me of seafood dinners back in Asia with family when I was young. If the internet had been around when I was a kid and I was as determined to let the world know my views about food as I am now, I would definitely have blogged about this too. That would have been a good thing as in that case, perhaps they would not be so full.
A quiet eating 8.5/10.
Dinner (2 course equivalent) was GBP 38 excluding drinks and service.
London W2 3RX