As far as my experience in Chinatown goes, restaurants with the term “legends” never manage to cook up a legendary meal. Manchurian Legends, the latest of those “Legends”, join this trend.
There I walked past a modern looking Chinese restaurant. The menu contained a couple of pages of Chinese history, near the fall of the Empire, when Emperor Puyi was ostracised from Beijing and set up his new imperial court in Manchuria, north of China and close to the Mongolian border. The rest.. was history. According to the menu, along with Puyi’s court, there was a migration of Beijingian cuisine and an emergence of Manchurian dishes, which you could say it was a sort of regional fusion (in a nice way). These historical anecdotes sounded utterly exciting. (I am a history geek).
The meal, however, was not. First and foremost, the menu, setting aside the history briefing, did not set out which dishes were Manchurian. Rather, I was looking at an eclectic collection of dishes I could also find at other Chinese restaurants nearby. (Please educate me!!) On a positive note, there were a lot of spicy offal dishes that made me drool while reading. The waiter, also, would have proved more helpful if he could speak a little more English. Never mind..
My Pan-Fried Chive and Egg Pastry – there were two decent-sized pieces – was good value for money (£3) but did not wow my palate. Burningly hot, the pastry was soft and good, but the filling did taste predominantly chive-y, salty and MSG-y. Despite the visual abundance of egg, there wasn’t much of its flavour coming through. Golden Baked Frog Legs with Egg Yolk (£10.50) fared much better. The batter was light and nearly greaseless; the legs were full of wondrously juicy muscles; the salted egg yolk crust perfumed the table. I liked it very much. In fact, if I had only ordered this dish and a bowl of rice, I would have liked ML more. Pan-Fried Pig Intestines with Hot Chilli and Pepper (£8.80) was the biggest disappointment. First of all, the term “hot” did not suggest any chilli heat. The green chilli boast no more heat than padron peppers. More? The bad proportion between oyster sauce and oil resulted in a pool of greasy salty-ness. There was two minuscule slices of ginger in the dish, which looked almost accidental rather than intentional. (More ginger would actually enhance taste dimensions of this dish). This was a shame as the intestines were nicely cooked. Spongy, chewy and odourous, as I wanted my intestine dish to be.
I paid and left.
That’s about it…
My head rating says, “6.5 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “5 out of 10″.
12 Macclesfield Street
Tel. 020 7437 8785