The first time I visited Shan Oriental (I will refer to it as ‘Oriental’ because it isn´t just Chinese, Japanese or Thai but a mixture of all of these.) I didn´t take my camera believing it would be like dozens of Chinese eateries that are OK but nothing out of the ordinary. Also given its location, Las Chafiras, I assumed this was ‘The Final Frontier’ well, perhaps not quite, but I did feel as though we were boldly going where few have been before when looking for food that was a bit special. Needless to say, I was wrong and was more than happy to return so that I could give you an idea of what to expect.
Firstly, the location is surprisingly attractive given that it is dominated by a busy road and supermarket on one side and the motorway and car park on the opposite side. This area has attracted several nice looking restaurants including a Pizza place, McDonalds, and Arepas, all no doubt attracted by lavish incentives from landlords.
Like the Pizza place next door, there is a covered outside area for those who want to eat whilst watching TV but on each occasion we have visited we have eaten inside the main restaurant. The owners have gone for a sort of opium-den chic with black, red and white décor and purple lights, yet the overall effect is comfortable.
We found the food to be exceptionally good and fresh. Sushi is a speciality and up to the same standards as the best I’ve tasted in London’s Chinatown.
Highlights include larger dishes, such as the excellent Peking duck and steamed sea bass. These were to a superior standard and at under €14 extremely cheap when you consider the portion was more than enough for three people.
On our first visit, we chose mainly Thai food including noodles, curries and the ‘special’ (can’t remember what that was other than something surprisingly good). Our last visit we opted for Chinese. Sweet and sour chicken, sizzling beef with ginger, chicken satay, pork (I think sweet and sour but it could have been chilli) rice and seaweed. We enjoyed trying to identify some of the more unusual seasonings including cinnamon and sesame which made an often common recipe taste special.
On our second visit, we bypassed the puddings, they sounded unusual but we had previously found the hot ice cream and the fritters not quite up to par with the main dishes.
The staff are ultra-charming and service is slick. The refined, fresh and delicate cuisine, which includes some fabulously, sophisticated and authentic dishes, is making quite a name for this place and on both of our visits, the food has been delicious and not as expensive as it looks. Under €80 on our second visit (5 people) and €120 on our previous visit (6 people) including drinks and on this occasion puddings.
So, when you’re next passing give the place a try, it is probably the best oriental all-rounder in town, or, if you’re a real fan of oriental cooking, you might even find it positively worth seeking out.