An overdue post for an overdue dinner. It’s been how long since we’ve worked together? I think… at least 5 years. Still remember the time I had to commute downtown. I actually liked taking the subway, coz I could get more reading done on the road. It was the “waiting up early in the morning” part that I didn’t quite like, especially during the winter. It just sucked!

So we’ve decided to try out this place. Mandalay, a pretty nice restaurant in Scarborough. We’ve done our research online and it seemed to have received pretty good reviews so far. At around 7:30pm on a Saturday night we arrived this place. Of course, SJ was on time (as always – actually SJ was a bit early that night.)

We parked near where the Staple is, then walked to the restaurant. From outside – if you are driving on Lawrence, you can’t really see the restaurant. So, I think those people who were there should have either been there or heard about it before. Chatted a bit about work and school while waiting for our table. The place was full. So full to a point that we had to wait a while for the table. Looking at other people dishes – very appetizing.

Finally we were seated at one of the table on the left. On the right side, there were two long tables lined up – later we found out that was actually a huge party for someone’s birthday. The atmosphere was pretty good in there. Quite cozy I’d say. Looking at the menu, I think one could imagine… a restaurant called Mandalay – there must be some kind of fusion/combination of the east and the west. There you go. The menu was quite interesting, from pad thai to pasta, you want it, you get it. Price was pretty good as well.
Mandalay 1

Mandalay 2

For appetizers, SJ ordered the Smoked Salmon & Goat Cheese Wonton w. mango salsa. I liked this dish. I would have ordered this dish as well… but I felt like something lighter that night. This dish reminds me of the cheese wontons that I used to have at a Japanese restaurant. It was pretty good. Putting both cheese wonton and smoked salmon in my mouth… yum.
Mandalay 3

For myself, I ordered the House Salad – mixed greens, soya beans, roasted red pepper, herb goat cheese w. balsamic vinegarette. I mixed the herb goat cheese with the veggie. Found the vinegarette a bit too strong. Overall it was ok.
Mandalay 4

In order to create a sense of privacy, we had this decorative light separating us from the table beside. It was quite a busy night for them I could tell. The service was ok, nothing to complain about.
Mandalay 5

So, SJ ordered Salmon Filo – baked in filo pastry, served w. a saffron cream sauce – I tried a bit and the fish was just right. Not over cooked. But I know I probably can’t judge the dish by one bite. SJ, you’re welcome to comment on your dishes.
Mandalay 6

My Seafood Platter – mussels, shrimp, scallop, squid and fish broiled with garlic and fresh herbs – was HUGE! I didn’t expect that much. There were quite a lot of fish in there… plus a bit of pasta underneath everything. Oh my god. I tried but I just couldn’t finish it all. Taste-wise, I found it so-so. Couldn’t pin-point what could be better… it seems to have missed something. Kinda bland.
Mandalay 7

We were the last table of the night. Again. Just like most of my dining experience with friends. Well, another thing is this place closed at 10pm which is a bit early. But we had a good chat! It’s good to catch up with friend after all these years.
Mandalay 8

Other comments… I think overall the dishes were alright, but there was no spark. I think the food could be better. We didn’t order any dessert since we were quite full by the time we finished. I saw a lot of good comments online – not sure if it’s because they ordered different dishes. But yah, if you’ve tried it, let me know what you think.

FYI: Mandalay Restaurant
3478 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, ON.
Tel: 416-438-8688
Free delivery on dinner order over $15 ($2 delivery charge if under)

One thought on “Mandalay…

  1. Yes definitely! 5 years went by so quickly…life is short. Several impressions both good and bad were as follows:

    First of all, I noticed that the entrance is quite cramped while waiting for a table as there is not much space for people entering nor exiting. This could be solved by reducing a table from the front while also removing the iron wine rack and glass shelving that acts as dividing the entrance from the remaining of the restaurant. A long planter in a Asian inspired rectangular container filled with green bamboo plants would be one option that is available…
    We were seated and given a menu in which I also felt that there was a type of South-East-Asian fusion going on with the dishes, which seemed very promising. The goat cheese wonton was very good as the sharp soft goat cheese went well with the fried crispy pastry, complimented with several slices of smoked salmon. I presume it also has a mango salsa/sauce as Marz mentioned this above, but the sauce was lacking any abundant mango flavour. A sweet mango sauce to compliment the salty smoked salmon and sharp goat cheese wonton would have made this dish perfect.
    I then noticed Marz’s salad and found the salad greens quite ordinary…why not a raspberry vinaigrette with slivers of avocado, etc……inspire us.
    Eventually we came to our main course and as described above, I decided on the fillo salmon which came with some roasted vegetables, and again an uninspiring saffron cream sauce. The fillo and salmon were cooked perfectly, but again uninspiring, no passion. Why not a touch of lemon peel shavings within the layers of fillo, and a pinch of dill sprinkled on the salmon? The roasted vegetables were too soft and I feel a quick stir-fry of mushrooms, snow peas, and red pepper, etc..would be an excellent alternative.
    With Marz’s seafood dish, again the uninspired, watered-down sauce was disappointing as any dominate flavours did not come out to compliment the dish.
    Finally we decided to finish the meal with a nice hot cup of tea, as we were quite full from the dishes. With roughly a half hour till closing time, I thought a quiet time of continued conversation would take place, I was wrong. It was clean-up time and chairs were being moved around us which was quite annoying and insulting. Leaving a final table to enjoy the remaining of the night undisturbed is not too much to ask as I felt that we were being rushed. Its the little details that make a difference…
    I can say that Mandalay is almost there, the only thing it needs to do is give us what its name implies…Mandalay! Why not bamboo plank flooring, Burmese textiles used in the decor, black and white pictures of Burma on the walls….give us images of saffron clad monks, gold pagodas, with inspiring, flavourful sauces to pull the dishes together with passion.

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