Mongolian Grill

29 North Street Old Town, Clapham Common , Clapham, SW4 0HJ

5 reviews

33 Pan-Asian

SquareMeal Review of Mongolian Grill

Headlined as an ‘oriental BBQ & hotpot restaurant’, the Mongolian Grill brings some authentic Asian culinary thrills to a quiet corner of Clapham Old Town. The concept has different names in different cultures – shabu-shabu, gogi gui, yakiniku – but essentially it’s a DIY blow out involving a pot of simmering broth at the centre of the table, surrounded by morsels of raw meats, seafood, vegetables & noodles for dunking into the savoury liquor. Simply choose the style & fragrance of the broth, select your chosen ingredients from the buffet display, & make up a dipping sauce from the condiments at the bar. Alternatively, grill your own food at one of the mini tabletop BBQs. Prices are remarkably enticing (‘all you can eat’ for around £12), & the whole show takes places in the compact surrounds of a converted pub – all black paintwork & red lanterns.

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6.2

Food & Drink: 7.2

Service: 5.6

Atmosphere: 6.4

Value: 7.0

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Daniel O. silver reviewer 18 February 2013

What does the average person know about Mongolia? All I know is that many of the population play a kind of polo with goat heads, and that Ewan MacGregor enjoyed traversing the vast landscapes by motorbike in his series The Long Way Round. The fact that it was a grey and dismal Sunday is worth a mention; however, it was lunchtime and entering a dead empty restaurant and feeling like you have rudely interrupted the window cleaning isn’t a great way to start the experience. I waited, and in the end, was forced to interrupt the chores (why weren’t they doing this when the place was shut?!) to be seated and receive a menu. A point on the menu: it had to be the first ever draft as it resembled a toddler’s scrapbook with messy writing and spilt tipex marring each page. Dirty extension cords, scruffy signage and coupled with harsh red and black colour scheme made me feel like I was in a car mechanics boudoir. The best bit about this place was the menus’ attempt to encourage the guest to eat like a Barbarian. Apparently, you could choose to either grill or dunk your food in a hotpot but the ‘mechanics’ were unclear and no matter how many times we stuttered and stumbled during the order taking process, our waitress was unable (and unwilling) to clarify the procedure or even act somewhat sympathetic to our plight. Hedging our bets, half the table decided to grill and the other half to have the hotpot. I went for the ‘spicy’ hotpot which was no spicier than a damp sock and utterly flavorless to boot; rather worrying for something that had promised a taste explosion. The grillers in the party seemed to be fairing a little better; however, I struggled to understand the Mongolian angle in all of this. It just reminded me of the French pierrade, but without the charm. Whatever you chose to grill or dunk was collected from an unappetizing buffet located in the centre of the restaurant. It isn’t unfair to say that some of the offerings looked rather tired. I say ‘some of the offerings’ because it was nigh on impossible to tell what was what (no labels) and it was difficult to drag the waitress from her cleaning duties to get a decent explanation. The ‘fishballs’ were a particular lowlight, especially when they were still frozen in the centre. It was all accompanied with rice and noodles, which were, well, rice and noodles. No attempt was made to explain what went with what; how to create a compelling taste combination. It was simply left to the diner’s knowledge and discretion. Yes the food was cheap; the Sunday buffet was £12.50pp, but that shouldn’t mean that a dinner should have to endure such an experience. There were glimmers of potential for a different, social dining experience but the realities of this restaurant overshadow these. I would rather be a Barbarian, eat in a cave and forage for my own lunch of nettles and bark than eat at the Mongolian Grill again. I’m afraid I would go The Long Way Round to avoid this restaurant in the future.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Julie L. 21 July 2012

I totally agree with the reviewer below – I love love LOVE this place, and have been 6 times now since discovering it 8 months ago!!! Being Sichuanese, I often crave the mouth-numbing taste of spicy hotpot, and this place is by far the cheapest place to feast this desire. £12.50 for a buffet is an amazing price. Meat, seafood, veg, noodles… the options are varied and enough to satisfy most people's appetites. As I often go with westerners who cannot tolerate the spice so we opt for a half-half pot, where one side is just chicken broth and the other spicy. There is also a grill option which I've yet to try but have heard really positive things about it. Be warned, they charge £5 for every box of food you leave – and yes, I've seen the chef enforce this! Personally, I feel this is good practice for a buffet; if you can't finish, don't put it on your plate!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Gulcan H. 12 March 2012

I first went to The Mongolian Grill about 18 months ago and since then I have been at least 10 times and I will keep on going again and again.. I live in Palmers Green in North London and I dont mind the 1 hour and 20 minute journey home. My taste buds have come alive for the first time in years, ohhh the excitement of choosing my vegetables, meats, sauces and spices to cook at my table. love it, love it, love it!!! The staff are lovely too, always at help if I need anything and also helping me mix my sauces and spices and telling me what goes with what. Last time they showed me how to mix up a sauce with garlic, soy sauce and parsley to roll up in some lettuce with a slithers of juicy steak. YUM… THATS IT!! my taste buds are tingling again, Im going to book a table for saturday :-)

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Maggie B. 12 March 2012

I absolutely love this place. Went with three friends we all felt the same. Being a fussy veggie bore i was particularly impressed with the choice of fresh veg and meat alternatives. The staff were very attentive and excellent in advice on correct choice of soup base, and dips for my hotpot. We were able to choose two, to the delight of my friends.. I had my veggie side while the others got to indulge in their favourite meats and fish. Healthy food cooked and eaten at your table, to your own leisure, in fun relaxed atmosphere. The wine choice was very favourable. I am no connoisseur but my friend having just come back from a wine tasting weekend in France was very impressed. Perfect, something for everyone. Highly recommend for a great night out. Without breaking the bank. Will definitely be back. A must try…

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 2.0

Shirley S. 07 January 2012

An awful offal dinner Being a Chinese who had been craving for hot pot and grill in this wintry weather, I searched online and found this highly rated restaurant that was also recommended by London TimeOut, yet the dinner was a disaster. We were literally being bullied by the restaurant's owners because they didn't inform us about the time limit yet were keen to kick us out before we finished our dinner because there were other customers waiting for a table. Food is really average – generally salty, wide range of internal organs (with no label) and meats are paper-thin; inconvenient location and horrendous service! I can only hope the customers do actually know what they are eating.

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