Mandarin Marvels, featured in Masala Lite Magazine in November 2012, Thailand
[For original click on the link below]
The fare at Mandopop pays homage to the Chinese culinary tradition without forgetting to have fun. By Reena Karim
Mandopop, short for Mandarin pop music, is the newest fine-dining addition to Wireless Road. Situated on the ground floor of the Oriental Residence, the entrance is an antique, wooden fortress–style door. The sleekness of the restaurant may make you want to put on your best behaviour, but as you look around, you’ll find stylish young professionals just chilling and being chirpy amid the dim lighting and soft jazz playing in the background. The two-floor space features long bar and plenty of tables for intimate parties of four on the lower level. A spiral staircase leads up to the private dining rooms, each fitted with a plasma screen that plays Mandarin pop music videos, if you feel like a bit of ironic dancing.
Chef Adrian Chua from Singapore pays homage to age-old Chinese cooking methods while occasionally adding flavours from other cuisines to his creations. For his pan-seared foie gras with crispy duck skin (B450), for example, the chef puts crunch into the duck skin the traditional way by coating it with sweet and-sour sauce and sun-drying it for a day. The menu is divided into many little compact sections: appetisers, soup, dim sum, vegetables, meats, seafood, and rice and noodles. Mandopop also offers four- and five course set menus for lunch and dinner (B850–B2,050), ideal for corporate meetings and parties. The portions here are tapas-style, so don’t be afraid to order lots of different vegetarian, meat, and seafood dishes. We began with steamed prawn dumplings in spinach skin (B140), which is accompanied by a ginger and onion dip and swirly lines of soy sauce. Chef Chua likes to have a little fun and pays close attention to detail when it comes to presentation. The baked razor clams with garlic (B320), for instance, arrive at your table cloaked in dry-ice smoke. Our next choice is the tempura beef skewer with Sichuan sauce (B550)—succulent braised tenderloin bits with a healthy dose of leek and capsicum, served on a wooden platter and sprinkled with seven different spices. If our veg aunties are cringing, then we recommend stir-fried assorted vegetables with home-made spinach tofu. Crunchy on the outside and soft and silky on the inside, the tofu comes doused in Chef Chua’s special chilli sauce (B200). For dessert, indulge in their home-made avocado ice cream (B200), which is not too heavy on the avocado and comes topped with berries and a rice-flour wafer.
The wine list features a selection from Australia, France, New Zealand, and Italy (B380–B490 by the glass), while their sparkling wine comes from Taittinger in Nevada (B1,700 by the glass). If you prefer cocktails, they do classics and original concoctions made with premium alcohol from behind their glass-topped bar. We love their sweet Kir Anti (B285), which is a mix of Absolut Raspberry, crème de cassis, and apple syrup, served in a flute rimmed with ruby-coloured sugar. For something stronger, try out one of the gemstone-inspired cocktails from their Jewellery Pop Collection. We recommend Emerald (B385), a blend of Bombay Sapphire and Midori, served with a ball of ice and thin slices of cucumber.
110 Wireless Road
Open noon–2:30pm, 6pm–midnight