Grand Mandarina is one of those places I’ve overlooked, but is it worth a look?
It’s no mean feat to run a Chinese Restaurant, especially if it’s one of those higher-end joints that require tons of space (hence the resultant exorbitant rental) and high levels of manpower. In this cut throat world, few restaurants have the staying power to go the distance when it comes to sustaining food and service quality.
Grace and Grandeur
Enter Grand Mandarina – A surprisingly unknown heavyweight situated in Chinatown. Heck, I didn’t even know that they won HungryGoWhere’s “Best Chinese Restaurant of 2016”! The 160-seater boasts a full menu of roast meats, dim sum and classic Chinese dishes on their Ala-Carte menu. This place is not your run-of-the-mill Chinese eatery. It’s a full-fledged, hotel level type of outfit, uniformed staff and all. Let’s find out if the food is up to scratch.
Now, let’s talk Dim Sum first. Our party was served a colletage of the elegant little treats. I usually love my Har Gao, so when I first bit into this, I was a little disappointed. The prawn was juicy and crunchy, but the skin was just a little too thick.
Now, the Banana & Prawn combination in the middle of the platter was a completely different story. I just have to say that the sweetness of the banana went extremely well with the prawn’s flavour. This salty sweet morsel was a real treat for my taste buds.
The roast is the pride of the restaurant, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best dishes served that night. The Honey Glazed Barbeque Pork Loin ($18 per order) is a dish best enjoyed amongst friends nad family. This hearty, no holds barred rendition of a Singaporean favourite has an outer layer adorned by caramelised sugar. The inside was juicy and firm, but not tough. I would have preferred a little more char on the outside to get that smokey fragrance, but it’s not a deal breaker.
I also quite liked the Deep Fried Prawns with Wasabi Mayonnaise ($28 per order). This dish has been a stalwart of Singaporean Chinese Cuisine since it was introduced almost 15 years ago. I did enjoy the extra crunch that the batter gave to the prawn, and the wasabi mayo wasn’t cloyingly rich. While I’d spring for the prawns, the Soft Shell Crab with Chicken Floss in Curry Flavour ($22 per order) is as complex as it sounds, which makes it hard to suss out the crab in all this sweetness and spice. This is subjective, but I preferred it if they gave the crab a little space to shine.
Top Class Stuff
We’re coming into the home run with the Baked Silver Cod with Spicy Lemongrass ($28 per order). This beauty of a dish is exactly what a good cod dish should be like. Soft, not too oily, and remarkably enjoyable. Usually, cod dishes get overwhelming towards the end because of the oiliness, but I enjoyed every bite of this dish. Now, the name is misleading, because it wasn’t spicy to me, and I didn’t catch the Lemongrass. Still, it’s a fantastic dish.
I’ve saved the best for last. Yes, here’s the Braised 8-head Abalone with Homemade Beancurd in “Tang Jia” Style ($22 per order). Now, this dish is a chef’s special, so you must order this ahead of time. I only have good things to say about this dish. You can tell the chef is generous, and cares for his customers. A small helping of caviar goes right along with that luscious 8-head abalone, both of which sit on a beautifully made piece of beancurd. I ate the abalone and caviar first, before mopping up the hearty soup stock with my beancurd. This is a must-try.
The Long and Short of It
Let’s be fair here: The Grand Mandarina has way more hits than misses. In fact, this is one of the better Chinese restaurants I’ve been to in the past 2 years. This is one of those places you go to for a business lunch, a birthday celebration or if you just want a solid place for a family gathering. Make a reservation, remember to pre-order your 8-head abalone, and be ready to enjoy your meal at Grand Mandarina.
What: Grand Mandarina
Where: 325 New Bridge Road, #01-/02-00, Thye Shan Mansion S(088760)
Reservations: 6222 3355 or use their website
– Monday to Friday: 11.30am – 2.00pm & 6.30pm – 10.00pm
– Saturday to Sunday: 11.00am – 2.30pm & 6.00pm – 10.00pm
Want 20% off your bill? Quote “GRAND20” or Show them this Instagram Post to get 20% off your final bill now till 31 March!