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19 Jun, Wednesday
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Mandarin Kitchen Lahore: Dim Sum and then Some

I enjoy Pan Asian cuisine and make it a point to try new restaurants that open up in Lahore. Lucky for me that a new Pan Asian restaurant opens up in major cities of Pakistan every other day. I thought I’d had it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Lahore has a tendency to shock me and shock me it did when I happened upon Mandarin Kitchen Lahore.

I’ll admit I’m a little late to the party. Mandarin Kitchen has been around for a few years and has been receiving great reviews all this time. I have to say that Mandarin Kitchen is a must visit for all Chinese and Pan Asian food connoisseurs.

 

Mandarin Kitchen Lahore

The full spread

First Impressions

As soon as you walk in, the aroma of soy sauce and ginger tantalizes the senses. The interior has a zen vibe, with Chinese lanterns illuminating the interior with a dull glow. The space is dark at night, but during lunch hours light filters in through the ceiling-high windows.

I visited during lunch hours, and chose a table right beside the window so that I could indulge in a little people watching while enjoying my meal. The cutlery and layout were very contemporary. The chopsticks stared up at me mockingly; a fork would suffice.

 

Mandarin Kitchen Lahore

Order Up

After being served with a complimentary Mint Margarita and fresh fish crackers, I was all riled up for a great experience. The staff proved very helpful and courteous, and walked me through the menu while answering all of my queries. After contemplating my options, I decided on was the Dim Sum Chicken Dumplings as my appetizer. For my main course, I went for the Korean Style Jungle Beef. I’m not a dessert person, so I skipped that bit.

Dim Sum Chicken Dumplings

The dumplings arrived in a bamboo steamer and as soon as I opened the lid, a cloud of flavorful aroma flooded my senses. When the fog cleared, I finally got a look at the generous serving of 8 soft dumplings and a dipping sauce in a small ceramic cup. Wrapped in ever so light flour pockets was herbed chicken mince, scallions, and cubed carrots. Perfectly seasoned with an assortment of Chinese spices and paired with dark fish sauce, the dumplings were to die for. I couldn’t get enough but I had to save space for the main course, so I willed myself to stop munching on the mouthwatering dumplings.

 

 

Korean Style Jungle Beef

Their Korean Style Jungle Beef was served with Garlic Sticky Rice, the latter of which was solely responsible for the delicious smells engulfing the whole restaurant. The order was served on a rectangular wooden board atop which the curry was served in a low, flat bowl, while the rice was served in a deep bowl. I was already full from just looking at the serving size.

The beef was browned to perfection. The meat was tender and juicy, with some crispiness around the edges. The beef strips were slathered in a sticky, sweet sauce. The sweetness and spice were so well balanced that I almost licked my plate clean. It had a generous amount of fresh, crunchy and vibrant veggies. The garlic rice was golden brown – fluffy and satisfying. The taste of garlic was evident, making the rice perfectly bitter and buttery. The meal was a delight through and through; from the very first bite to the cold leftovers I ate at home later.

Verdict

Though my order was limited, my opinion is not. Mandarin Kitchen is well worth the money spent. There are no buffets or deals here; this ensures that the quality of your dining experience is never compromised. Mandarin Kitchen promises authentic Pan Asian food in Lahore, but it’s the ambience and the service staff that make it an amazing destination.

I will definitely be going back.

 

Location: Building 23، Street 17, Sector Z DHA Phase 3, Lahore, Punjab
Contact: (042) 35692969