Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Khublai Khans - Glasgow - Review

Style – Mongolian

Location:  Merchant City, Glasgow

Dishes – Mongolian Feast – Christmas Special

Price: £20.90 (weekdays) & £22.95 (weekend) – for the Mongolian Feast.

Established in assembly street, Leith, Edinburgh in 1995 and opened in Candleriggs in the merchant city in Glasgow in 1998 by brothers, Andrew and Alasdair McRobbie, Kublai Khans is a Mongolian Restaurant, which delivers a truly unique dining experience, with many exotic types of meat on offer including ostrich and zebra.

It’s in close proximity from High Street and Argyle Street Rail stations and it is also in walking distance from Glasgow central and Queen Street Station.

I’m not one for being adventurous with food but on recommendation I decided I would visit Kublai Khans and see what all the fuss was about. Since we visited during the Christmas season we were offered the Christmas version of the Mongolian Feast which included the added - Mongolian Vodka, Mongolian Flatbread, Homemade Amaretto Truffles and tea or coffee.

The Mongolian Vodka was surprisingly nice – it was served in a shot glass and on first thought I was not keen at all.  I was pleasantly surprised though to find it is not as disgusting as typical vodka.  It has a very smooth taste to it but you get an almost spicy kick at the back of your throat. 

The Mongolian Flatbread was also nice but it did not seem much different from your typical flatbread with tomato and herbs.  The Amaretto Truffles on the other hand were divine.  I am actually tempted to find a recipe to make them myself.

For my starter I had wild boar – I cannot remember what the dish was called but it was similar to a sausage roll.  I had never tried wild boar before and for me it was satisfactory – it is not much different from pork.  The dish, putting the meat aside, was tasty though and I feel I am playing it down quite a bit by referring to it as being like a sausage roll.  The meat was seasoned very nicely.

The main course is the exciting part of Kublai Khans though and the reason why everyone loves it and after experiencing it myself I agree. You do have the option of choosing a meal off the menu but I think most people go for the feast option which allows you in a sense to create your own meal and you are allowed to revisit the BBQ as many times as you like.

You create your own dish by -

Firstly - choosing between noodles or rice

Secondly - filling your bowls from a selection of beautifully fresh vegetables on a base of rice, bean sprouts, noodles or tofu. I pigged out on the water chestnut and bamboo shoots.

Thirdly – you chose which meat you would like – from a selection which includes such novelties as venison, wild boar, ostrich, springbok, zebra, kangaroo, octopus, llama and camel as well as more mundane meats such as beef and chicken.

Finally – you complement your selection with a combination of sauces, oils, herbs and spices before taking your bowl over to the huge open barbeque. You are then free to either return to your seat, have your creation served to your table, or to stay and watch the Grill Chefs do their thing. If you need some ideas, there are recipes on the wall.

On my first visit to the BBQ I decided to try Llama – considering I do not even eat lamb this is rather shocking but the uncooked meat looked nice, so I thought why not. I mixed up a sauce of my own with coconut milk, paprika, curry powder, BBQ sauce, chilli flakes amongst other spices and sauces. 

I was a bit anxious waiting on the cooked meal coming to my table but again I was pleasantly surprised.  Llama is similar in texture to beef and I thought it was quite similar in taste but a lot of people say that it is more similar to lamb but less oily.  I found the meat quite tough and chewy so I’m unsure if I would have it again since I like my meat more tender.

For the second dish I had Water Buffalo which is preferred to the llama.  It said on the wall chart that it was like beef but with less fat.  It was similar to beef but I actually found it tastier than beef.  I had the Buffalo with a very coconut based sauce – I don’t think I would do that again.  It would have been based with something more chilli based. This was my favourite meat of the night.  I also tried the chicken and it was lovely, so if you are not into being adventurous there is always some lovely chicken for you to enjoy with a sauce that you created.

It was a struggle to fit dessert in after all that food but it was worth it.  I ordered the Mars bar cheesecake and it is one of the best desserts I have ever had.  When I saw it on the menu I thought it would be like cheesecake with bits of Mars Bar on it but the cheesecake has a mousse texture to it and it was actually mars bar flavoured.  I do not know how they did it but it was simply wonderful and they should definitely put it on their regular menu.

There is a service charge added on to the bill which I am not a fan of I would rather leave my own tip but the staff are very helpful and you do get your cooked dish brought to you straight from the BBQ.

I would highly recommend visiting Kublai Khans in the New Year. I had a very pleasant experience and I think you would too but if not then you can always say that you ate Zebra in 2012.

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