Mandarin Kitchen is one of the handful of places that we used to frequent for a decent Chinese meal in the Bayswater area. When we were students, a lot of friends had flat in the area and we used to congregate at a long closed restaurant called Hung Toa where the Roast Duck was famous. This used to be like a clubhouse, as all the gang would show up there sometime on a Sunday after a late night in the clubs on Saturday. We would almost always have the Roast Duck on rice. You would always see someone you knew in there, regardless of the time of day. Some of the staff from here left to open the now very popular Four Seasons.
For more formal Chinese meals or when the parents were in town, we would go to Mandarin Kitchen or Fortune Cookie (the old incarnation), both along Queensway.
After all these years, we still like to go to Mandarin Kitchen, especially when old friends visit London. Its nostalgic. The rather dated decor hasn’t changed much as they still have the cave like alcoves and walls covered in the strange plaster texture. There are still long queues for tables. There are big round tables to cater for big family meals and some smaller tables along the wall. When it’s busy, it’s frenetic.
The one thing we always order here is the Lobster Noodles. It looked like most of the customers in the restaurant on the night we were there ordered this too. This is the dish that they are the most famous for. On this occassion, we ordered Lobster Noodles with ginger and spring onions with a Yee Mein base. I prefer to order it with the crispy egg noodles base and a double portion of that too.
Mandarin Kitchen serves great seafood as the husband of the boss runs a seafood wholesale company. You can order the regular favourites like Crispy Duck too but that is just a distraction from the other choices. As they mainly do Cantonese Cuisine, there are a lot of familiar dishes on the menu for you to choose from if seafood is not your thing.
On this visit, we ordered an array of dishes to make up a casual Chinese dinner. All dishes were for sharing as the Chinese don’t really do “order your own main course” thing. Of the other seafood dishes we ordered were steamed bamboo clams with a soya sauce based dressing, prawn stuffed tofu soup, fried crab claws, some stuffed Japanese tofu and some fried green beans.
Service was brisk and efficient. No superfluous fawning. The place was busy and buzzing. Not a place to have a romantic date but go with a group of friends for some great seafood.
It is comforting to know that the quality of the cooking has remained consistently above average, even after so many years. If you are around Bayswater, this is definitely a great choice for a very good Chinese meal.
London W2 3RX
020 7727 9012