RESTAURANT REVIEW – SWEET MANDARIN – HIGH STREET, MANCHESTER.

I reviewed Helen Tse’s family history book, Sweet Mandarin at SWEET MANDARIN It tells of the background to the remarkable Manchester restaurant run by her family, after years of setbacks including ruination through gambling addiction, and murderous attacks by the Triads. . I vowed to try the food there at the first opportunity, though it took almost a year for me to be able to do so. It was well worth the wait.

With my lack of work of late, and potential bankrupsy round the corner, the luxury of restaurant dining is largely outside my budget, but following a countryside walk round  DAISY NOOK with my mate Tom Clark, he was kind enough to treat me to a meal. The restaurant we settled on, at my recommendation, was Sweet Mandarin.

Located on High Street, the restaurant is near to the frontispiece architecture that is all that remains of the once famous Manchester Market. They couldn’t remove the wall as it is a listed architectural structure – They just demolished all the non-important bits round it to leave the wall standing in grim lonely solitude.

Sweet Mandarin has a wide glass frontage, and a very relaxed, comfortable seating plan. Décor is modest, with tall status of a woman in an evening dress, and a series of origami crane-birds and hearts on one wall. There are nice loop fold lampshades above the dining area too.

They were quiet when we went in, though the Market wall area itself seated other diners outside.

The staff were friendly and helpful, without being intrusive. It was particularly lovely to see Helen again, who remembered me from the day we met by chance when doing radio interviews at Radio Manchester (I was there to talk about cults, (see BRAINWASHING) and she was there to promote the book).

I Chose Lil’s Chicken Curry, a dish, which is specially mentioned in the book, and it, certainly lived up to its sterling reputation. It was rich and creamy without being over-strong.

What was really impressive was the sheer quantity of food. I was wondering if ordering noodles and the chicken-stick Tapas meal was overdoing it. We also had a couple of bottles of a lovely Chinese beer, (brewed in the UK) called Sun Lik. Tom took photos of the dragon motif on the label for a friend of his who likes dragon art. We also added to the weight the walk had taken off us by having chocolate cake and ice cream, served in fabulous square dishes.

The book was on sale at the restaurant, and Tom bought a copy, which Helen was happy to sign for him. Had I known in advance that we would have ended up there, I would have taken my copy along too, but now I have an excuse for a return visit?  Many thanks to Tom for making this visit possible.

 

 

Their own website is at http://www.sweetmandarin.com/book.html  SWEET MANDARIN ON MYSPACE http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=94776312&MyToken=a38f778c-ee59-4728-a523-e43016d9cee5

 

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