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Orange banquettes and a textured ceiling suggest that the Mandarin Kitchen has changed little since it opened in the 70s, but that’s no deterrent to the swarms of mostly oriental customers who
regularly pack this Chinese seafood specialist. Its lobster dishes have a near-legendary reputation, and the kitchen gets through a thousand of these luxury crustacea each week: choose from six
versions, including steamed with ginger and spring onion or braised with black bean and green pepper sauce, but be sure to order some soft noodles on the side. Mandarin’s maritime menagerie
also extends to steamed scallops and razor clams with garlic and soy sauce, roasted baby squid with chilli, steamed sea bass and various takes on crab, eel, turbot and others. Table 19,
with its semi-circular orange booth, is great for groups.
Bayswater Tube Station 116m
Queensway Tube Station 137m
U.C.I. Whiteleys 8 Cinema 390m
Kensington Museum 652m
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
“Lobster, it still is …”
Mandarin Kitchen needs no introduction especially to lobster noodle devotees, of which many have been for literally decades since it was originally set up in the Queensway line up of Chinese restaurants. I had not been for a while and after watching an engrossing centre court match at Wimbledon with an old pal, this seemed an ideal choice as we had both not been for a good while.
As we had called up beforehand, we were for once not subject to the crowding round the reception area procedure, and instead were shown swiftly and almost ceremoniously to our table right at the back. Mandarin Kitchen still has its cavernous decor and gives off a slightly dated but cosy environment, but this as my pal reminded me was not such bad thing in an age of sleek but sometimes rather cold aesthetics.
And so to the choice of food this evening which was of course a healthy serving of lobster noodles for two, some vegetables, and a Chinese “Winter” broth which we had first. The lobster noodles were as exquisite as we last remembered and we wolfed down our portions with enthusiasm, whilst the Chinese broccoli was fresh and a welcome accompaniment.
We chatted as old friends do, literally of trials and tribulations, as both seemed so imminent and frequent these days, but where else better than a familiar venue such as this to do so. We left somewhat satisfied as one would say, proclaiming that we should meet up more often and to return for more lobster noodles.
Food + drink: 2
Just like stepping into a bustling, vibrant Hong Kong eaterie and packed with Chinese folk, so clearly a good sign. Our food was a bit curate's egg – duck was very good, but the sea bass was poorly cooked, tasteless and an unpleasant texture…rice and noodles were ok. The service and atmosphere was excellent but I do think that modern London restaurant standards have left this place behind a bit in the food department. All in all a good place for atmosphere, fun and noise but not a tremendous dining experience.
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