Manchurian Legends? [London]
Excellent dumplings/shui3 jiao3 - the surface lightly slippery, the skins dense and soft, and the small morsel of pork and chive filling within nicely balanced with the amount of skin.
The spicy lotus roots was punchy and hearty, also very enjoyable.
Ginger and chive sauce enlivened the firm slices of duck.
Zha2 jiang4 mian4/noodles with a meat sauce suffered from clumpy and mushy rice noodles, the meat sauce with bean paste was solid.
Various skewers were good (lamb, chicken heart, squid), but the ones from Royal Palace in Rotherhithe are superior.
Sorry this isn't in time for your visit: but I really enjoyed the red-cooked pork with glass noodles. I think the noodles were made with sweet potato starch, and they had a great texture. The pork was braised really well, too, to the point where the skin was almost as soft as the fat.
Also had shredded kelp, cucumber with pork, and pork and suan cai dumplings, all good.
(Apologies for imprecise dish names, haven't sorted out my menu photos yet as I had to take them on my phone.)
hi Kake no problem glad you enjoyed
Did you find the food a bit oily?
Anyway I went on Friday with a school friend and we ordered the following (excuse me if I get some of names wrong as it was only late last night I remembered I was supposed to write them down but was starving at the time of ordering) and our ordering was geared towards dishes that had chili or were spicy
So if I remember we had the Lamb Skewers which is a 'must' if anybody goes to ML. The meat was grilled to perfection with the right amount of fat , had taste of cumin, chili and other spices. (this was probably my favourite of all the dishes we ordered)
We also ordered Beef in hot and spicy sauce which I believe was meant to be like the boiled beef in hot and spicy sauce that you find in many sichuan restaurants - this was a bit bog standard and to me not spicy enough but then I am not in a Sichuan restaurant so maybe it's not supposed to be so fiery?
also ordered Chicken in hotpot....this comes in a mini wok like hot pot balanced on a wooden board that has several tealights? on the bottom that 'cooks' the chicken. The chicken comes already cooked but be warned, do let the t ealights? heat the chicken otherwise its cold, once the tealight/gas thing does it's bit the chicken is nice and warm. The chicken is also on the bone which does make it tastier.
We ordered pork fried pastry which I don't recommend...the pastry was very oily, the mince pork filling I found not very fresh. Both my friend and I left most of this
We also ordered pork chili noodles which we didn't finish. The noodles were ho fun / Pho which looked like were steamed or just rinsed with warm water and some sort of mince pork in sauce was put over the noodles. It reminds me of dan dan noodles a bit but because the ho fun were all stuck together mixing the meat with the noodle was very difficult and again I didn't enjoy.
For drinks we had bubble tea which come in individual jugs , I had the normal tea flavoured and friend had the papaya, both were very nice although very creamy...I am guessing they add cream..anyway we were both quite piggy and had two but i hardly touched my second. To be honest I am still trying to find a place in the UK that makes Bubble tea like in Taiwan as they are so different out there, and seem lighter
We found that the portions were quite substantial and struggled to finish everything
I also found that you were rushed in the restaurant as I guess as it's a Friday they want a quick turn around. After we had eaten I was still trying to drink my bubble tea but they gave us the bill. It was very quiet when we first got to ML at 7.30 and we were told to go upstairs which had only one other table but when we left the whole place was packed.
Total bill came to £39.80 but they did try to charge us more but I had to remind them that we when I booked we were on the restaurant privilege offer which they then took off about 25%
so in a nutshell I wasn't overly impressed with the dishes but that could just be down to choosing bad dishes and I don't like dismissing a place based on just one visit. Also I did find myself comparing it to Sichuan restaurants which is silly as its not a Sichuan restaurant although some of the names of dishes were very similar . I did find the menu consisted of too much offal which unfortunately I am not a fan of.
I probably would go back at some point but with more people and only if they still had the discount but I believe it runs out on 31 August 2011? so if you want to try, I would do it before end of Aug
Menu photos now here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pugh/sets/72157627415470477/
I didn't find what we had to be too oily, but then we had one stewed dish, two cold dishes, and some boiled dumplings, so they'd have had to mess up quite badly for those to be oily.
There do seem to be a fair few Sichuan dishes on the menu; for example if you look at this page - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kake_pug... - number 81 is 魚香肉絲 (fish-fragrant/sea-spiced shredded pork), number 95 (which might be what you had) is 水煮牛肉 (water-boiled beef), number 99 is kung po/gong bao chicken. Also, I thought number 106 (剁椒蒸魚頭/steamed fish head with chopped chillies) was a Hunan dish (though I could be wrong, but 剁椒 is usually the Hunan chopped salted chillies, isn't it?). It's a bit confusing to see these in a section headed "Manchurian fried dishes".
Worth trying would be the "mixed vegetable and shredded pork with glass noodles" (number 13; 東北大拉皮/Dongbei dalapi) — I've only seen these at one other place in London, Royal Palace in Surrey Quays. Also the "special mixed vegetables" (number 1; 老虎菜/tiger salad) — another not-hugely-common dish in London, though the best rendition I've had here was in Sanxia Renjia on Goodge Street.