Bangkok Post reviews
Worth popping into
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: May 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm
Mandopop's Chinese buffet combines flavour and visual appeal
To complement Mandopop’s contemporary cuisine, the dining room is set to mimic a casual gastro-bar ambience.
In an era when buffets are all the craze, all-you-can-eat ecstasy can be experienced almost round the clock in the City of Angels, with offerings to suit every cuisine preference and budget.
However, one culinary option that's hard to find in buffet form in Bangkok is Chinese. So when I learned about a fine-dining establishment where diners can enjoy as much piping hot Chinese fare as they'd like, and know they won't blow the budget, I was pleased.
Mandopop, this week's subject of review, is the Chinese restaurant at the Oriental Residence Bangkok hotel. Although its name means "Mandarin popular music", its cuisine, prepared by an award-winning Singaporean chef, is more contemporary Cantonese, presenting the likes of dim sum delicacies and barbecue meats along with red meat and Hong Kong-style seafood dishes.
Yet the servings aren't typical of a Cantonese banquet either. Food comes in smaller portions, boasts visual appeal, offers a distinctive touch of flavours and is great for both casual dining and a sumptuous night out.
Whole Canadian lobster with black pepper sauce.
Though the menu, which lists 50 savoury dishes under categories such as appetisers, dim sum, lamb, beef, seafood and vegetables, may not seem extensive, to choose from the whole mouth-watering collection can be quite difficult.
There's no need to go through such hesitation if you come for its limitless Sunday lunch promotion, which features unlimited dishes from the regular menu. Prices are 1,188 baht per person, or 1,688 baht with an extra selection of premium soup and main courses.
Of course, we took the Sunday buffet as an excellent opportunity to sample Mandopop's cuisine. Our meal kicked off with three choices of appetiser.
Pan-fried cod with ginger scallion sauce (350 baht) offered a pleasing start. Four fillets of the silky cod, pan-fried until the exterior is slightly golden and crusty while the centre retained its moist character, came laced with a salty puree of green onions and ginger.
Next up, pan-seared foie gras with crispy duck skin (450 baht) was a scrumptious unification of a Chinese classic with French luxury. A large slice of crispy mahogany-coloured duck skin, typical of a Peking duck delicacy, was served on a bed of firm duck liver that had been lightly battered before being seared. Both the duck skin and the liver were enjoyed with hoi sin sauce, and a garnishing salad of sprouts and sweet mango lent a classic fruity complement to the dish.
The Australian beef tenderloin in black pepper sauce.
The third appetiser, tossed crispy squid with spicy salt and pepper (200 baht), was addictive and enhanced with crispy morsels of garlic.
From a dozen dim sum options, we had utmost gratification with steamed prawn dumplings, aka ha gao, in delicately soft spinach skin (140 baht), steamed scallop dumplings with caviar topping (160 baht), steamed pork dumplings, aka siew mai, with crab roe (120 baht) and foie gras, or pan-fried duck liver, in a rice skin roll (300 baht).
The restaurant's highlighted choice, yam puff with prawn (130 baht), failed to leave a memorable note on my palate, although they were absolutely good-looking.
Of the main dishes, I recommend that you go for beef tenderloin in black pepper sauce (550 baht). Tiny cubes of very tender Australian beef were thoroughly imbued in aromatic and spicy sauce and enjoyed with crunchy spears of green asparagus.
If you are not a red meat fan, there are seafood and vegetarian dishes to suit your appetite. Pan-fried garoupa fillet with a subtly sweet chilli sauce and Chinese spinach (350 baht) was one of the most popular choices.
For a more sumptuous option, whole Canadian lobster with black pepper sauce (1,200 baht) was great in terms of taste and value. This imported giant crustacean, which is offered as one of the buffet's premium mains along with abalone, sea cucumber and river prawns, delivered supple flesh permeated with black pepper-infused sauce.
The last two dainties that must be mentioned are the stir-fried assorted vegetables with the chef's home-made tofu and special chilli sauce (200 baht), which was super tasty, and the scallop noodle in superior stock (150 baht), which featured flourless noodles made to the chef's secret recipe with scallops and egg white in piping hot clear soup.
This was one of my favourite dishes that day.
All the dishes mentioned above are available at both lunch and dinner as well as in the Sunday buffet, which also includes half a dozen choices of desserts. Don't miss the heavenly creamy avocado ice cream with an assortment of fresh berries (200 baht). The restaurant has four exclusive rooms decked out in modern chinoiserie style for more private dining. Service blended five-star standard with an energetic touch.