The owner and chef Ni (who has been living in London in excess of 20 years) brings fusion flavours of China and London in the style of small sharing plates.
We checked out the new restaurant on a cold December evening. The interiors, designed by Kai Interiors, are subtle, peppered with a few quirky details like the hexagonal wall and floor tiles, bespoke wallpaper, mirrors and cactus greenery to pique your interest.
We were recommended to order two to three plates per person. From the ‘Meat and Seafood’ section we ordered the Xinjiang Lamb Fritters (£6) and Taiwanese Fried Chicken (£6).
They also have a small but rather good selection of wines and American IPAs so we ordered two cans of Beavertown to accompany all that fried food.
The Taiwanese Fried Chicken was the first to arrive, with a side of kimchi mayo. The portion size was fairly substantial and the chicken was well-cooked. However, I found it a tad over-seasoned for my liking so the mayo dip really helped to balance out the flavours.
The lamb fritters were absolutely delicious: moist meat encased in delicate crumbs, accompanied a delightful pickled plum sauce. I would definitely order more of these.
Next to arrive was the Slow-cooked Beef Short Rib with a sweet, dark soy glaze (£9.5). This was wonderfully slow cooked with the meat easily falling apart. The sauce underneath was beautifully sticky and sweet which we lovingly mopped up with some steamed rice (£2.5). The whole dish was tender, rich and intense.
The other meat dish of the evening was the Lamb Cutlets (£9.5) with Dukkah and Chilli Bean sauce. The lamb was nicely juicy and cooked rare; the herby dukkah crust added exotic savoury textures to the meat. It was wonderfully smoky and spicy with all the flavours coming together in perfect harmony.
It is not often that a vegetable dish manages to upstage meat. But in this case, we fell in love with the Twice-cooked Green Beans with Dried Chilli and Garlic (£6). It was fresh and crunchy, with spicy undertones.
With the rest of the food choices being quite meat heavy, this little side dish was simple and soulful and won us over. I would definitely recommend ordering this one. It would be a delicious, guilt-free contribution to your five-a-day and make you question your love for meat!
Having liked everything we tasted so far, we didn’t want to give pudding a miss. For dessert, we shared a Deep-fried Vanilla Ice Cream with chocolate sauce. Whilst not ground breaking, it was a decent dessert to end the evening on a sweet note.
Our total cost of the meal came to be £58.5 for two, including drinks and service. My only gripe would be that the service (at times) felt too quick and rushed for us to have a relaxed evening and enjoy the food.
Overall, Mandarin Street is an exciting new addition to the culinary map of Wandsworth and it surpassed our expectations. Judging by the packed crowds in the restaurant every evening, looks like this one is set to become a firm favourite amongst the locals.
More information can be found on their Facebook page here.
N.B. All opinions and views expressed in this blog are my own. The photographs used have been taken by me and my partner (credited wherever applicable). I review anonymously and pay for my meals.