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The Mandarin, Liverpool, review

Jonathan Schofield goes to Liverpool and loses £90

Written by . Published on November 8th 2010.

The Mandarin, Liverpool, review

What could I have got with £90?

A flight to Amsterdam perhaps, lots of lovely books, loads of iTunes downloads, several pairs of jolly patterned Wellington boots, a digital camera, some dandy scarves, a small piece of original art, a saucy massage, a good shirt, 40 bacon sandwiches.

I could also – probably- have procured a jester with bells on his toes and a tickle stick with which to assault me and cry jovially in a camp voice, “you silly, silly man”.

That would have been better than the experience at the New Mandarin Restaurant in Victoria Street.

The restaurant’s website says of the interior: “An artistic blend of light and colour pleases the eye (f)rom our award winning window presentation to our stained glass, backlit ceiling, to our pillar of tropical fish.”

Arse-tistic more like. As for the pillar of tropical fish this comprises a picture of some fish printed on the kind of laminate you might find on a kitchen work-surface.

But the interior is sheer heaven compared to the food. This has two chief characteristics: dust and mush.

Dust was the starter of shredded lamb, which had lost most of the lamb flavour apart from the fatty, slimy, aftertaste that the beast can get if sat around too long chilling – and not chilling in a relaxing way either, more like in a dead whale beached on an Alaskan shore kind of way.

Mush was the rest. There were some rubbery prawns in some opaque goo for the other starter. Then there was a pair of oyster and pork mains which pushed mushiness to new levels and developed the oeuvre to such an extent that Milton Keynes University apparently now runs a course on the topic.

Try this and knock it back

The oyster came with ginger and spring onion and the pork with seasonal vegetables. Aside from the gruesome oysters, there was hardly any flavour to these, just occasional random bits of heat, chewy meat, and radioactive levels of MSG.

Looking back the best parts of the meal were the lettuce that the lamb came with, the prawn crackers and the noodles. Problem is that a meal of lettuce, prawn crackers and noodles, may have appealed to early Methodists by virtue of its simplicity, but doesn’t make for a great lush 21st century dining experience.

Laminate fish stuck to a column

We also had two bottles of wine, which in truth accounted for almost half the bill. There was a terribly plain Chateauneuf du Pape at £25 (worth £5) and something called Cape Promise Pinotage for about £16.50 which was worth £1.99. The latter was unusual in that it tasted of smoked haddock, a real first.

As for the service it was functional, amusing when the young waitress asked me if I’d like to try the wine and poured out a full glass.

Honestly folks, there’s nothing particularly nice in having to write all this.

But then there was nothing particularly nice about the experience in the Mandarin. Parts of the meal were offensive, at best it reached the level of poor take-away standard.

There are few moments when you play the theme to Hawaii Five-O in your head. Leaving the Mandarin was one, as we strode off with a spring in our step, happy to have escaped.

Cape Promise - haddocky

Breakdown:2/10 food
2.5/5 service
2/5 ambience
Address:New Mandarin
73-79 Victoria St
L1 6DE
0151 227 9011

CONFIDENTIAL ALWAYS PAYS FOR EVERY RATED MEAL ITSELF. Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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AnonymousNovember 8th 2010.

Great review - great in the sense that it's a great read I mean. Is this a new place or one of those Chinese restaurants that have been there since 1979?

NortherngeezerNovember 10th 2010.

Behave Ed - This is wot passes for fine dining in 'der pewl'

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