Sherman's Food Adventures: New Mandarin Seafood Restaurant (Dinner Service)

New Mandarin Seafood Restaurant (Dinner Service)

It's nice to see a bunch of people I haven't seen for awhile.  Due to the pandemic, I haven't done many group events, but with an invite to New Mandarin on Kingsway, it was a great way to enjoy good food and connect again with some foodies.  I've actually been to New Mandarin for both Dim Sum and dinner on several occasions (and quite recently too) and I consider it a solid place for Cantonese cuisine.  It also helps the place is fairly new, well-appointed and has free parking.

Unlike some tastings in the past at Chinese restaurants, we were able to select our dishes.  We started with the Appetizer Platter consisting of hokkigai, jellyfish, sliced beef shank, smoked salmon and salted egg yolk fried fish skin.  Nicely presented, the items on the plate were pretty much on point.  Medium in thickness, the beef shank was tender and moist with a meaty texture.  The braising liquid had penetrated into the meat and it was plenty flavourful.  Also well-marinated, the surf clams had their unmistakable chewy, yet tender texture.  However, I would've liked that they sliced them in half rather having them whole.  Exhibiting an appealing elasticity, the jellyfish was dressed in enough soy, sugar, white pepper and sesame oil for impactful flavours.  Not much to comment on the smoked salmon other than it was buttery soft with smoky saltiness.  Loved the fish skin as it was crunchy and full of salted egg yolk on the outside.

We chose a dish that is best shared in a larger group - Peking Duck in 3 courses.  The first course was the traditional sliced duck skin served with steamed crepes, scallions and hoisin sauce.  I thought the colour on the skin was nicely lacquered and appealing.  The skin itself was uniformly crispy with much of the fat rendered away.  There was also an inherent aromaticness with the skin and umaminess.  The crepes were thin and were easy to lift off one another.  Texturally, it was tender with some chewiness.  This was a solid version of Peking duck.

Our next course was the Duck Lettuce Wrap consisting of mixed diced veggies, duck meat and green onions.  This was wok-fried properly where the veggies were still crunchy while cooked through.  There was a balanced amount of duck in medium-sized pieces.  I found the seasoning to be on the milder side, but that was totally fine as it is typical to drizzle the lettuce wrap with hoisin.  As for the lettuce, it was cut into easy to wrap cups that could hold enough filling.  They were also devoid of moisture which meant it didn't water down the flavours. Third course of the Peking duck was the Duck Bone Soup (not pictured but you can see it in the background of the lobster image) with mustard greens and tofu.  This is a classic combination of ingredients that yield flavours that cover sweet, salty and slight bitterness.  The roasted duck bones offered up some smokiness and natural duck umaminess.  There was some complimentary seasoning that amplified the salty and sweet elements as well as a background touch of white pepper.  Loved how the soup wasn't oily as they skimmed the fat before serving.

Since we had to choose between crab and lobster, it was suggested that we order both.  Great idea!  So we decided on Dungeness Crab with Salted Egg Yolk and Rice Cakes.  Absolutely loved this dish as the crab was large and full of fluffy meat.  It was fried just enough so it didn't dry out.  There was a bevy of salted egg yolk slurry on the outside which added a nutty butteriness.  To top it off, the rice cakes were prepared beautifully where they were soft yet still offering up an appealing chewiness.

Moving onto the other crustacean, we had the Lobster with Consomme and E-Fu Noodles.  Much like the crab, the lobster was fried just right with the meat being fully cooked while exhibiting the classic sweet bounce texture.  The starch-thickened consomme (just enough of it to cling onto every piece) was light with only enough salty sweetness to flavour the noodles.  Usually, the noodles get quite mushy, yet these were perfect being still somewhat chewy.

Now we can eat all this meat without veggies right?  Well, not really as some of the group were not too enthused.  However, we did get a few including the 4 Seasons Green Beans.  This was well-prepared with deep fried beans that were wok-fried after.  Hence they were cooked all-the-way-through while still crunchy.  There was enough salty, sweet and slight spice to go with the ample tender ground pork strewn throughout.

Always a fan-favourite, we also ordered the Stir-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic.  As you can see, this was a significant portion piled high on the plate.  As evidenced in the picture, the pea shoots were cooked just right where they were wilted but still had a vibrant crunch.  Nice colour on it too.  Good wok hei (hot wok) too as there was not much in the way of moisture at the bottom of the plate.  It also wasn't oil-logged and seasoning was on point.

One classic dish that seems to be on every Cantonese menu is the Black Truffle Chicken.  We got this and loved how it was presented in a chicken wicker basket.  Very cute.  The gelatinzed free-range chicken was tossed with black truffle sauce, pickled vegetable, red onion and cilantro.  Lots of flavour here including a good amount of truffle.  Loved the tang and crunch from the pickled veg.  The chicken itself was gelatinzed where the skin ate well.

Maybe a bit defaultish, we ended up with the Sweet & Sour Pork just because some of us have a soft spot for the dish.  This was loaded with red peppers, pineapple and cantaloupe as well as large chunks of pork belly.  Since the pork was so fatty, it was naturally tender and juicy.  I would've preferred a bit leaner, but then it would've have been so juicy though.  There was just enough sauce clinging onto each piece and it was balanced in flavour.

For dessert, we were treated to a bevy of them including Chocolate Pudding Puppy, Strawberry Pudding Bear, Coconut Pudding Piglets, Ginger Pudding Squares and Corn-Shaped Mango Pudding.  My favourites were the typical tasting desserts in the coconut and mango pudding.  Good texture on these and they weren't too sweet.  Even before the tasting, I already knew what to expect and it was another solid meal at New Mandarin.  A really good choice amongst the many Chinese restaurants in the GVRD.

*All food was complimentary*

The Good:
- Solid eats with proper preparation
- Well-portioned
- Reasonable pricing consider the decor and food quality

The Bad:
- Main dining room seating can be a bit tight
- Service observed from previous visits is friendly, yet can be sparse (might be due to staffing issues these days)



Search this Site