We went to Mandarin Palace in BF Parañaque for a Sunday dinner, and people were coming and going at a fast rate, so we were glad we made reservations ahead of time. Parking’s OK; there are only about six in front of the restaurant, but they let you park at the opposite side of the street.
The restaurant is just a bit cramped but clean, and the decor is a combination of red, black and white, which isn’t the usual kind you’d see in a Chinese restaurant but it looks great. The staff isn’t that friendly; they’re more on the business, almost brusque, side. But they move fast, and they get your food on the table quickly.
In the menu, there are items marked with a star. According to my brother-in-law, they’re the house specialties. We chose 3 starred dishes: Bird’s Nest with Crabmeat Soup, Crispy Fried Chicken, Mixed Vegetables & Mushroom (Lolanchay); and two non-bestsellers: Yang Chow Fried Rice and Fried Lumpiang Shanghai. We asked for small servings, because from what we know of Chinese restaurants, their small servings are not so small and the same was true for Mandarin.
Although I’ve never been a fan of Bird’s Nest soup, I still think it was pretty good, save for the fact that I could hardly taste the crab meat. The Yang Chow Fried Rice was excellent: chock-full of bits of vegetables and meat, it was a meal in itself.
I really enjoyed the Lolanchay. Chinese food with some kind of sauce often has a sweet touch to it, but this one didn’t have it. It was savory and seasoned well, the vegetables weren’t overcooked, and the mushrooms were very substantial.
While cooked to a nice golden-brown crisp, the Fried Lumpiang Shanghai somewhat tasted like star anise, which is not my favorite spice in the world. Dipping it in the sweet and sour sauce did help, though.
The Crispy Fried Chicken was heavenly. The skin had an incredibly appealing sheen on it and was very crispy, and the meat itself was soft and cooked to tender perfection. It’s served with gravy but I didn’t have any because it kind of tastes like anise, which we’ve already established I don’t like.
The prices are very reasonable and, as mentioned, the servings are big (the four of us were very full afterwards, and we didn’t even finish the soup and the rice). Next time, we want to try other items like the hot pot and some of the dimsum items.
Overall rating: ★★★★☆
142 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City
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