I’ve found the Chinese restaurant with the best design to quality to price ratio and it’s called Mian.
They’ve found a non-distinct cavernous space, large and square as opposed to narrow and deep as they can often be here. Off the side of the Tetuan metro station. Plain wide tables with red-painted metal legs. Large photographs on the wall. A menagerie of light fittings exuding too feeble a light. The lighting is the one thin that’s off. It’s dim, further absorbed by the dark tiled floor, which makes me feel like I need to give my glasses a wipe, except I’m wearing contacts.
The menu is a nicely put together a collection soups, stir frys, dim sum, rice and desserts. There are 9 different types of dim sum, all made at Mian. We order Xiajiao (€5.25), Xiaolongbao (€3.25), Guotie (€3.75). The Guotie are flavourful and the daintiest I’ve ever encountered. The dim sum come out steaming hot, in a metal steamer sitting prettily on a cabbage leaf.
One of us goes for a soup with hand cut noodles with beef, redolent of star anise. There is more star anise flavour than beef (€5.75). A chicken stir fry (€5.75). There are small bowls of Jasmine rice (€1.80). A mild dish of Sichuanese eggplant, cut in thick lengths and covered in glistening sauce with spots of mince (€5.25).
We are there on a Sunday for lunch, it’s a large restaurant and it’s full. A lot of that has to do with the good value, I’m sure. But beyond that it’s the whole package they’ve managed to put together. On their website, Mian refer to themselves as a “Contemporary Asian Restaurant with a Chic Touch.” I don’t know about “chic” but I agree with the rest. I would probably add that it is a family restaurant with an emphasis on freshness and quality that’s done away with the Chinese themed kitsch but not to the point that it looks sparse or sloppy.
Add to that the friendly service (they care enough to swing back round after they’ve dispatched the plates and ask how we like the food) and you’ve got a restaurant you will want to come back to. Last tip, get there early, it may be new but it’s already popular and as the kitchen and service is undertaken by family members, you will have to wait for your food if the restaurant is crowded.
Carrer de Girona, 49