What you need to know:
- The space is elegant and is divided into different sections, and whether it’s dimmer ambient light or natural sunlight washing into the room, you can choose where you want to sit.
Being the only people in this part of the restaurant, we could walk around taking photos - all without disrupting any patrons.
For the mains, we had honey chilli lamb (Sh1400), stir fried soy vegetable (Sh900) accompanied by vegetable fried rice and noodles.
I needed to catch up with a childhood friend the other day and we settled on Mr Yao. Having only ever ordered from them online, the ambiance at the restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The space is elegant and is divided into different sections, and whether it’s dimmer ambient light or natural sunlight washing into the room, you can choose where you want to sit. If you’re keen on Chinese food and need a restaurant that can accommodate a group, this would be the place to go. But it also lends itself to romantic outings or a business meeting.
We got a table in the room with large windows overlooking the Westlands skyline. Being the only people in this part of the restaurant, we could walk around taking photos - all without disrupting any patrons.
We had our entire afternoon cleared for this outing and the plan was to therefore order different items off the menu and taste something from each section, no holds barred. Some may call this gluttony, but I prefer the phrase culinary adventure. This meant that we could just order one dish and split it between two.
Our starter was the chilli beef wonton (Sh1,100) which was spicy beef stuffed inside a wonton sheet then deep fried...think of it like a samosa shaped like a bag. An excellent introduction to the feast that awaited. Although vegetarian, the signature crystal dumpling (Sh950) seemed interesting because the dough was transparent and so we ordered that as well. It had been a while since I last had dim sum.
For the mains, we had honey chilli lamb (Sh1400), stir fried soy vegetable (Sh900) accompanied by vegetable fried rice and noodles. Even if you’re new to Chinese food, this is a combination you’re guaranteed to love as the flavours are very close to dishes we grew up eating in Kenyan households, but with a honey chilli twist here, or a handful of cashew nuts there. It was glorious!
Then there was the tea, which is embedded in Chinese culture, and tea houses complete with an array of sweet and savoury pastries to choose from. But it wasn’t the Kenyanized English’ style of tea that’s popular here. With each of our dishes, for instance, we had had iced tea which looked every bit like a cocktail.
The juniper berry blast (Sh400) was indulgent and sweet, a blend of purple tea with juniper berries and strawberries, and the blue pina colada was a blend of silver needle white tea with sweet butterfly pea flowers, and tasted like pineapple and coconut. I had also never heard of a Chinese high tea before visiting Mr Yao, and this is a whole other lavish experience in itself.