Posted on Tuesday, 4th August 2015
MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK – THE CHINA HOUSE
The China House is the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok’s in-house Cantonese Chinese restaurant. The design is inspired by Shanghai’s art deco period and is decorated in an opulent old-world style with dark wood furnishings and atmospheric low lighting. It’s a classy restaurant and features dim sum as well as a series of Cantonese dishes interpreted in a contemporary style.
On Tuesdays to Saturdays The China House offers an unlimited all you-can-eat dim sum menu (1,080THB net – £20). What was a surprise was that there was not only dim sum, but that you could choose from a buffet counter as well as order off an a la carte menu. This all-you-can eat brunch menu at The China House was fabulous and incredibly good value as well.
We headed for the buffet first and I thought the buffet dishes were excellent. We tried a selection of goodies including drunken chicken, fresh prawns, jellyfish, all of which were delicious. Also fabulous was the Chinese roast pork belly. This really was sensational, with the crackling being superbly crunchy. It was a little fatty but the fat was what made it so tasty. There was also some roast duck, but we didn’t try this as the pork looked better.
Also from the buffet was a snow fungus, scallop and crabmeat soup which was outstanding and very authentic. This soup reminded me of the kind of soups I use to eat as a child. Rich with seafood flavour and with a hint of tanginess, the soup was thick with lots of fresh seafood. The fungus added a squidgy dimension to the soup which in Cantonese cooking is a much-loved touch.
Also in the buffet selection were braised goose webs with mushrooms in a brown sauce and a trio of mushrooms with green vegetables in brown sauce. Both of these were really flavoursome, and for the comfort of the diner, there were no bones in the goose web dish.
From the a la carte menu, the silken tofu with shredded abalone ‘mao po’ style, was yet another glorious dish. I was genuinely surprised to see abalone on an all-you-can-eat menu. Abalone is such a delicacy in Chinese cooking and very expensive. Japanese silken tofu had been used here, which in my opinion is the best type of tofu as the texture of the tofu is incredibly smooth. The sauce was luscious and rich, and this was perhaps my favourite dish of the day.
Also from the a la carte menu were the stir-fried egg noodles with soy sauce and sautéed prawns (as per the menu) with shallots and garlic. The noodles were very tasty with a good firmness to them. The prawns were also delicious and we enjoyed this dish very much. As for the prawns with shallots and garlic, these had been deep-fried rather than sautéed. Nevertheless, the prawns were firm and good, but the dish needed a touch more salt.
With regards to the dim sum menu, what I liked most about it were the interesting contemporary interpretations that had been incorporated into it. For instance, there was glutinous rice with foie gras, and black truffle ‘xiao long bao’, both of which we tried. I adored the hint of foie gras running through the glutinous rice, but there weren’t enough savoury meat elements in the rice and this meant it was a little bland. I again adored the aroma of truffle in the xiao long bao, but thought the broth in the dumplings could have been richer.
We tried classics such as the shrimp har gow and the prawn and pork siew mai dumpings. The har gow was tasty, although with the siew mai, I would have preferred a firmer consistency with noticeable pieces of prawn running through the mixture. This would have given it not only a better prawn flavour, but a better texture as well.
The dessert selection from the buffet contained a variety of fruit, sticky rice and items such as green tea and osmanthus flower jelly, avocado mousse with chocolate sauce and a mango pudding. Other than the sticky rice, we didn’t enjoy any of the desserts we tried. For example, the jelly was bland, and the mango pudding had not set.
The all-you-can-eat brunch at The China House was an incredibly delightful experience, and a very good value one at that. I loved the buffet and a la carte items that we tried, and I really couldn’t find fault with any of these. The dim sum was good, but the a la carte selection and the buffet were even better. As for dessert, I would only stick with the sticky rice and the fruit. But in conclusion, The China House gets a big YES from me. I would happily eat off the buffet and a la carte menu again and again. The service was very good too.
1. The a la carte selection and the buffet selection in the all-you-can-eat brunch. The food was delicious and authentic.
2. The snow fungus, scallop and crab soup, and the tofu and abalone dish were my favourites.
3. The all-you-can-eat brunch is great value for money.
1. Other than the sticky rice, the desserts.
The a la carte menu and the buffet in the all-you-can-eat brunch: 4.75/5
The dim sum in the all-you-can-eat brunch: 3.75/5
The dessert in the all-you-can-eat brunch: 3/5
Service rating: 4/5
Overall brunch rating: 4.5/5
All-you-can-eat dim sum brunch is 1,080THB net (about £20), and with free flowing wine is 1,400THB (about £26).