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China Restaurant Pavillon

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China Restaurant Pavillon

Augustaanlage 59 68165 Mannheim                              CLOSED

Small matching plates and steamer baskets of hot, delectable delights arrive one after another – radish cakes, rice noodles rolls, delicate dumplings, and fluffy steamed buns.  Fiery chili sauce comes on a saucer.  Hot Chinese tea is delivered in a tiny pot and accompanied by a cute teacup and sugar bowl.  Soon, the once bare table is brimming with mouth-watering excitement.  It’s the experience at China Restaurant Pavillon – one of the few Chinese restaurants in the area offering dim sum on the menu.

China Restaurant Jasmin Tee_SM

Dim sum is a specialty of Chinese cuisine (a Cantonese invention).  Usually eaten during the midday hours as a light snack, it consists of a collection of small dishes intended to be shared amongst family and friends.  Each plate typically includes about three or four small servings; thus, a variety of dishes is generally ordered.  Tea is an integral part of this meal and aids in digestion.  Dim sum is about eating, sharing, and enjoying the company of others.  It’s more than just a meal, it’s an experience.  In frequently visited Chinese restaurants, attendees roll carts carrying hot plates of dim sum and diners pick and choose dishes from the wagons as they pass along.  At other places, dim sum is ordered off a menu and cooked to order.

At China Restaurant Pavillon (German for pavilion) in Mannheim, and basically in all of Germany, the latter approach is taken.  Unfortunately, as there isn’t a large Chinese presence here, dim sum isn’t as popular as it is in the United States or in Asian countries.  Chinatowns are also nonexistent.

 

 

However, China Restaurant Pavillon does an excellent job in capturing the essence of Chinese architecture and décor.  The restaurant’s exterior is something one would typically find in a Chinatown – the arches and lanterns are classic examples.  Inside, the bar area is again decorated with the fine-looking pavilion arches.  Greeting guests upon entrance is a colorful panel impressively depicting beautiful scenery.  Blue is prominently used throughout the dining room, from the light blue colored carpets, to the cushioned armless chairs, the elegant candles, the tiled ceiling panels, and the fine tablecloth covers.  Reaffirming the idea of a relaxing pavilion, the blue color scheme exudes a feeling of calmness, relaxation, and revitalization.

Written in Romanized Chinese, Chinese, and with German descriptions, the dim sum menu here is on a separate laminated folio inside the core menu booklet.  There is an impressive array of dim sum dishes to be had, including dumplings filled with shrimp or pork, both savory and sweet steamed buns, rice noodle rolls containing various fillings, and baked sesame balls for dessert.  Chicken feet – a culinary delicacy in many parts of the world – can also be ordered.  Each dim sum plate averages around 3 to 4 euros, which is grossly overpriced.

The luó bo gāo (radish cakes) are unexpectedly pan-fried crisp.  Although the resulting crunchy outer layer provides a nice texture, the interior is overly gummy and soft, like a paste.  Missing from the radish mixture are the additional ingredients normally found elsewhere, chopped up pieces of dried shrimp in particular.  These radish cakes taste more like hash browns than good Chinese radish cakes.

 

The Cha Shao Hua Cheong Fun (rice noodle rolls with BBQ pork) are too greasy and poorly constructed.  Typically, the rolls would be swimming in sweetened soy sauce; here, they are soaking in oil.  The BBQ pork is also disappointing.  The complex, intense flavor of Chinese barbequed pork is absent in the pieces of meat.  Only hints of it are present.  Adding to the mess are the overcooked rice noodles themselves.  The result is a gooey clutter of rice sheets and bite sized pork pieces in a scant amount of soy sauce that will have you yearning for better days.

 

Fortunately, the items served in bamboo steamer baskets are vast improvements and are well executed.  Shao Mai – a Chinese dumpling with ground pork, shrimp, and mushrooms – is moist and flavorful.

 

The 2 buns – Cha Shao Bau and Nai Huang Bao – are fluffy and irresistible.  The buns themselves are delicately soft and a pleasure to eat alone.  Cha Shao Bau has the BBQ pork filling, which is a lot better than the pork inside the noodle rolls.  It makes you wonder if the same pork is used is both dishes.  This filling is very tasty.  The Nai Huang Bao is filled with sweet yellow custard (made from egg and dried milk) and is a fantastic finish to a dim sum meal.

The standard menu here is well-conceived.  Boasting over a hundred different items, China Restaurant Pavillon has a menu that offers many house specialties, from roasted duck to hot pots.  Multi-course items can be ordered for entire families or groups of two.  The weekday lunch menu is a good value, as is the daily lunch buffet.  The list of drinks is fairly impressive, with many teas, wines, and alcoholic beverages.  Unexpected is the large number of wines from around Europe, from Spain, France, and Germany.

 

Waitresses are soft-spoken, but very accommodating.  The service is smooth and prompt.

Despite the mixed bag of flavors and the dim sum’s steep prices, China Restaurant Pavillon deserves credit for even putting dim sum on the menu.  In this Rhein-Neckar region, you will be hard pressed merely finding a Chinese restaurant serving up these unique dishes.  With its exquisite and elegant dining room, hospitable service, and large selection of menu items, China Restaurant Pavillon merits a visit from anyone yearning for a venture into traditional Chinese cuisine.

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Summary:

Located in Mannheim’s business district, not far from the Planetarium, China Restaurant Pavillon is a classic Chinese restaurant featuring a plethora of traditional Chinese dishes, including dim sum.  The weekday lunch buffet, as well as the special lunch menu, is good value.  Overall prices (aside from the dim sum) are reasonable.  Outdoor seating available during those beautiful, sunny days.

Hours: Weekdays: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM and 5:30 – 11:30 PM
            Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: 11:30 AM – 11:30 PM

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Luó Bo Gāo – 2.5/5
  • Cha Shao Hua Cheong Fun – 3/5
  • Shao Mai – 4/5
  • Cha Shao Bao – 4.5/5
  • Nai Huang Bao – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.chinapavillon.net/

Written by geschmack

June 5th, 2010 at 11:55 pm