Mandarin Bay - Cramlington

Mandarin Bay in Cramlington is my new favourite Chinese restaurant. Situated in the Old Parish Hall building in the centre of Cramlington it manages to be both elegant and relaxed whilst serving faultless food time and time again. Kevin Liu's restaurant group (of Osaka and Rendezvous fame) took over the restaurant earlier this year when The Dragon Inn closed it's doors. They completely refurbished the restaurant and the change is remarkable. The restaurant is now contemporary and sleek and a lovely place to spend a few hours.

I have now bee lucky enough to visit Mandarin Bay three times in total - it is not often I will visit somewhere three times within such a short space of time. The service, atmosphere and food however are hard to beat and as it is on my doorstep, why go else where?

Last night, we dined with my brother and his partner. We browsed the menu and decided to opt for a banquet to share between us as this seemed like the best value for money. The a la carte prices are a little on the expensive side however as I always say, you get what you pay for and I believe the prices are justified.

We were shown to our seats and our soup course was brought to our table more or less straight away. Service at Mandarin Bay is second to none - expect your wine to be poured and your food to be served.

The portions are very generous - we were all able to have three bowls of soup and there was still some left.

Next, a platter of duck and pancakes was served and a huge plate of salt and pepper ribs. I would never normally order ribs, however these ones just fall of the bone and are absolutely full of flavour - I think they have converted me! Again, portions are generous and there was enough duck for three pancakes each plus leftovers.

We were all struggling a little at this point and wondered how we were ever going to squeeze four main courses in! I'm pleased the food was well spaced out and we were given some time to recover before starting on our mains.

All of our food was simply amazing and I can't believe we didn't manage to finish it all! The above two dishes were stand out for me - The Chicken barbecue chilli sauce was lovely - spicy and tangy and not overly sweet or bland as can sometimes be the case and king prawns with ginger and spring onions was also superb - the prawns were plump and not overcooked at all which is all too often the case. In fact, they were perfect.

We finished our meal with a refreshing platter of orange slices and some good quality coffee.

It only cost £22.50 per person for all of the above which is fantastic value. House wine was also reasonable at £13.95 per bottle. Banquets are definitely recommended. They are such good value for money, delicious and you get the chance to try something new. Management are also very accommodating and I have noticed people asking to change dishes if they are not seafood fans and it has never been a problem. If you are looking for a new Chinese restaurant to try, you will not be disappointed at The Mandarin Bay.

Reservations are recommended - 01670 738 333


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