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The Mandarin Park (Motherwell)

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Address: 70 Hamilton Road, Motherwell, ML1 3BY

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      01.11.2011 12:25
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      6.99 for 3courses..fab price!

      **originally wrote for ciao 26th October 2011*

      Mandarin Park
      70 Hamilton Road
      Motherwell
      ML1 3BY
      01698268844
      Mandarin Park is a Cantonese Restaurant and Takeaway located in Motherwell, Lanarkshire.

      The restaurant is a 5minute walk from the town centre and is signposted. There is a private car park to the rear of the building and the nearest bus stop is serviced by various bus services from Hamilton, Glasgow and Wishaw.

      The restaurant is opened from 12pm-11.30pm daily including Christmas and New Year. They are currently taking bookings for Christmas.

      ~Inside The Restaurant~

      The front door access to the building leads you into a waiting area. There is an area where a keyboard and vocalist performs Friday and Saturday nights and also a seating area with a television. There is a bar and some informal seating in this area. Through some doors, there is a more formal area with booth and regular tables for up to 4 people. To the back of the restaurant, there is additional seating ideal for families and groups, another bar and a large conservatory area. There is disabled access and toilets within the building.

      ~Food~

      There are various dining options and offers available at the Mandarin Park.

      *Lunch*

      Lunch is served daily from 12pm-2pm (business Monday - Thursday) or 12pm-4pm (regular lunch Monday-Friday and Sunday).

      Lunch is offered as a set menu with starters, main courses and desserts and diners can opt for a 2 or 3 course meal for £5.50 or £6.99. The menu includes 5 starters (4 soup options, 1 fruit juice). There are 10 main courses to choose from which nearly all include rice or chips. The selection includes various curries (beef, char sui, prawn or chicken), sweet and sour curry, special rice dishes, chow mein and vegetarians can request something different (though nothing is listed).

      Sides include chips, rice, noodles and prawn crackers from around £1.20. There are 4 dessert options include banana fritter, pineapple fritter, apple pie or ice cream.

      *Dinner*

      The restaurant offers a dinner menu from 4pm. They do not offer a set menu at night time but give diners the choice of an extensive and varied menu. The dinner menu includes a wide selection of starters including soups, spare ribs and spring rolls to name a few. Starters are from £2.00. Main courses include traditional curries, steaks, omelettes, chow mein and various seafood dishes. Vegetarian dishes can be arranged on request but choices on the menu include vegetables in various sauces and stir fries.

      The dinner options aren't cheap and a regular curry (without rice or chips) will set you back around £9.00. The more expensive options include steaks which go over the £15.00 mark. Desserts are available including ice cream dishes, apple pie, fritters and cheesecake for around £2.00. Side dishes can also be purchased separate. There is a special offer Monday - Thursday which entitles diners to receive a 50% discount on their main meal dish only when ordering a minimum of 2 courses. Children eat free at night time during this time.

      *Takeaway*

      For a delivery fee of around £1.80, the Mandarin Park will deliver food to your home. This service is available from 5pm-11pm daily and food can be ordered over the phone or by visiting www.mandarinpark.co.uk . Debit card is accepted online. The menu has over 200 dishes. This includes starters, chop suey dishes, seafood, curries, European dishes, vegetarian dishes, desserts, sides and newly released dishes. There is too much to mention here but choice for everyone include set menu options. The most expensive dish is the steak at £8.50.

      *Drinks and Children's Menu*

      Like any good restaurant, Mandarin Park has a well stocked bar with various soft drinks, beers, spirits and children's squash drinks. Prices are from around £1.00 upwards. Tea and coffee is also available.

      Children are catered for with high chairs available and space created to push them near to a table. Whilst they have never presented us with an actual children's menu, I am aware they do a few options and one of these is chicken with chips and an ice cream for £3.99.

      ~Our Thoughts~

      We have been dining at the Mandarin Park since I was a teenager. It hasn't changed much over the years. Motherwell isn't short of places to eat though this is one of two Cantonese restaurants (the other is a buffet style restaurant). It is easy to get to and from the front, looks like an old fashioned house. Inside is very clean and spacious and is rarely busy whenever we have dined here. To be honest, I'm surprised they are still getting trade due to the buffet restaurant being nearby. It does prove they receive regular diners due to the quality of the food.

      The restaurant is tastefully decorated throughout and usually has some classical, oriental music playing in the background. If dining as a couple, we are usually placed in the middle section of the restaurant and they seem to remember where we always sit! At night there are candles setting the mood and the restaurant has a calming ambience. If dining with the children (my sister and her children), we usually sit through the back as it is more spacious.

      I have to comment on the conservatory area. It is beautiful and modern letting in the light perfectly. I find this would be the ideal restaurant for a small wedding reception. Unfortunately we have never dined when the vocalist has been there but I've heard he is quite good. The booths provide a level of privacy and this is ideal if others are dining at the same time. The restaurant is popular with business men and women and for business lunches. The tables always have clean table clothes draped over them and look very smart.

      ~Service~

      The staff are well presented and we are used to seeing their familiar faces each time we diner here. They speak good English and are always willing to provide recommendations or assistance where possible. As the restaurant is rarely busy, we are welcomed and sat quickly and given menus to look over. I would say the only thing I do not like is that the staff linger. Not right next to us like in some restaurants but I sometimes don't feel comfortable having a private conversation as I feel someone listening! The staff are friendly towards all diners and never think of children as an inconvenience which I appreciate. The toilets are clean and well stocked. I haven't used the disabled toilet so cannot comment but the restaurant is easy to navigate a pushchair or wheelchair through.

      ~Time To Dine~

      We mainly dine here for lunch and take advantage of the £6.99 for 3 courses offer. I find this offers excellent value for money. Our latest dining experience was today for a belated anniversary lunch but I will touch on previous dining experiences. We have dined here at night time but I was astounded by the prices on the menu. Even with the half price offer, we were nearly £30 for a soup, 2 curries, chips, fried rice and 2 soft drinks! The portions weren't even as big as the ones offered at lunch time and I think it is a bit cheeky not to include rice or chips when paying £9.00 for a curry! The food was tasty though and brought out on hot plates. We also received some prawn crackers.

      The lunch time menu provides ample food options though I do feel there should be a few different starters as not everyone wants soup. I tend to stick to what I know best as I'm not very adventurous with food. There is the option to change to a fancier menu including steaks (at a surcharge) and sea food dishes but this comes in at £9.90 for 2courses and isn't to my taste. I always go for the Cream of Chicken Soup as my starter. Presented in a small bowl, this is to die for! The bowl is full of thick, creamy chicken soup with large pieces of chicken breast. It is filling, hot and tasty and is served with a small roll. My fiancé opts for the Cream of Mushroom Soup which is equally as thick with lots of fresh, flavoursome mushrooms mixed through it. Our starters were served within 10minutes and this is the case any time we diner here.

      The main courses are basic but plentiful on the lunch menu and are brought out 5minutes after we finish our starters. I opt for a chicken or beef curry which comes served in a silver dish. Rice and chips are included in the lunch menu deal which gives even better value for money. Rice is presented in a round bowl and placed in the middle of your plate allowing you to scoop the curry on top. The curries come with plenty of meat and a decent amount of crunch onions. The sauce is fairly spicy but not enough to burn my mouth and is quite thick. The meat (be in beef or chicken) is of a high quality with no fatty bits. The serving is huge and after a starter, I often struggle! The rice is tasty and plentiful with no dry bits. Today I had beef and found it to be tasty but the portion was so huge I couldn't finish it.

      My fiancé usually opts for the Prawn Curry which is served with large, juicy prawns in a flavoursome sauce. I'm not keen on prawns so don't even ask for a bit but he always finishes it with no issues. Today he fancied something different and went for a Prawn Fried Rice dish. This was a decent sized portion and had rice, peas and plenty of prawns. He did take some of the curry sauce from my dish though as he felt the combination was a bit dry on its own but he enjoyed it. I can never decide between chips or rice with my curry. We usually order a side portion of chips and this is a large portion. The chips are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. They are always tasty and accompany the curries perfectly. I have on other occasions opted for a different meal and always been impressed. The Sweet and Sour Chicken is an aromatic dish with an equal balance of sweet and sour flavourings. I usually opt for boiled rice with this type of curry.

      I always have room for a dessert as I like something sweet after a curry. The choice may be limited but there is always something to tempt me. The ice cream is of a high quality and presented in a small dish though my favourite dessert is the banana fritter. One banana fritter is served with a pouring of syrup and is always piping hot and fresh. I find this one fritter ideal to finish my meal off and it always tastes delicious and sweet. The drinks are provided in draught or can form and are average priced for a restaurant of this sort.

      Whenever we have dined with our son or younger nephew, we usually opt for one chicken and chips between them. The portion is huge and too much for your average toddler. There are lots of small, battered chicken pieces which are always succulent and well cooked. They taste better than chicken nuggets! Served with chips, this is a filling meal for a toddler (or 2 in this case) and the ice cream albeit small, is the ideal dessert for the kids. They are always offered a lolly when leaving.

      ~When We Can't Be Bothered Going Out..~

      We have only ordered a home delivery from the Mandarin Park on a few occasions and to be honest, I do prefer my regular Chinese takeaway. Delivery has always been quick (30-45mins) and despite enjoying the food in the actual restaurant, I have never been fully pleased with the takeaway. My soup arrived in polystyrene pot and was rather watered down in comparison to the thick and creamy restaurant offering. This irritated me as it is the only local takeaway that does this soup! The rice was a little dry but the curry was tasty and hot. I do find the takeaway prices to be a bit steep considering sides aren't included so for that reason, I will stick to my local takeaway!

      ~Conclusion~

      I would dine at the Mandarin over the local buffet restaurant without a doubt. The food is tasty, the surroundings are upmarket yet informal and relaxed and the staff are friendly. I would only dine here for lunch as the price and menu suits our personal tastes. Other than the overpriced dinner menu and the less than enthusiastic takeaway deliveries we have received,

      I can fully recommend the Mandarin Park if you are dining in the Motherwell area. Today our bill came to £17.80 (I rounded it up to £19.00) which included 2 starters, 2 main courses, 1 side, 1 dessert and 2 large colas. I consider that to be superb value for money.

      Thanks for reading x

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