FACT Review: Mr Chow Riyadh's duck and hand-pulled noodle extravaganza

FACT Review: Mr Chow Riyadh's duck and hand-pulled noodle extravaganza



Upscale Chinese dining arrives in the capital.

Riyadh's King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is fast becoming the place to see (and be seen at) when eating out in the Saudi capital. Boasting international brands from Il Baretto to the soon-to-open Amazónico, SUSHISAMBA and Zuma, the latest restaurant opening causing a stir is Mr Chow.

The upscale Chinese restaurant made its Middle East debut to raucous applause with an evening of dancers and drone shows filling social media feeds throughout the Kingdom and beyond. "Did you attend the Mr Chow opening?" I'm asked by nearly everyone I meet on my recent trip to Riyadh. "No", I reply. Their faces drop, "but I was one of the first people to dine there."

Mr Chow Riyadh

I manage to secure a reservation during the restaurant's second day of operations and enter into a packed dining room that feels sleek yet chic. Mr Chow's signature is illuminated in neon purple on a statement wall, flanked by hanging chains that funnel diners down to the bar area. From here, a spiral staircase and circular lift ascends to the upstairs dining room and al fresco terrace. Yet, it's the downstairs dining room with its views into the kitchen – where steamed baskets of dim sum dance across gleaming countertops – that would be my preference. 

The decor leans towards minimalism with a monochrome colour scheme displayed in wooden chairs, pressed table linens and glittering glassware. However, all eyes are averted skywards towards a ceiling that lights up with dazzling installations in purple and red. The Mr Chow logo zooms over our heads at frequent intervals, and as the night progresses, the music gets louder, elevating the vibe of an already busy restaurant.

Founded by Michael Chow, Mr Chow is a high-end concept renowned for its celebrity clientele and fusion of traditional and contemporary Chinese cuisine. The brand originated in London in 1968 before splaying out across the globe to Beverley Hills, New York, Miami and Riyadh.

Executive Chef Jia He has curated the Mr Chow menu in Riyadh, combining traditional Chinese dishes with innovative creations that cater to the sophisticated Saudi palate. Signature dishes like the Mr Chow Noodles (SAR 135) and Water Dumplings (SAR 120) have become legendary, while the stellar service, including tableside preparation, adds theatricality to the dining experience.

Mr Chow Riyadh
Chicken Satay

We begin with the house special of Chicken Satay (SAR 69), where the poultry has been tenderised and skewered on a stick before being slathered in a moreish peanut sauce. The dish has become a Saudi social media sensation and appears on almost every table on the night we dine. With a dim sum selection that ranges from Jade Har Gow (SAR 110) to the soup-filled Shanghai Little Dragon (SAR 115), we'd suggest the voluptuous Lobster Shumai (SAR 128), a generously stuffed decadent delight.

Mr Chow Riyadh
Beijing Duck

Main courses cover fish, meat and poultry and range from Crispy Beef (SAR 225) to Dressed Dungeness Crab (SAR 255), Green Prawns (SAR 240) and Velvet Chicken (SAR 205). The Beijing Duck (SAR 255) is Mr Chow’s calling card and pièce de résistance. The Saudi government issued a special permit to use the same poultry supplier as Mr Chow's other worldwide restaurants, ensuring quality and consistency across the portfolio. Carved tableside and presented with pancakes, hoisin sauce and onions, the duck is roasted to order, offering melt-in-the-mouth skin and a distinct and aromatic flavour. Undoubtedly, Mr Chow Riyadh offers the best Beijing Duck in the Kingdom. Elsewhere, the Ma Mignon (SAR 275) is another popular choice, presenting a chunky yet tender beef fillet that utilises the same recipe established in 1975.

Ma Mignon

Desserts forgo Chinese delicacies in favour of classic choices, including a delightful vanilla cheesecake and a luscious lemon tart topped with Italian meringue. 

Mr Chow's Riyadh opening solidifies the restaurant's status as an icon of luxury dining. Anchored around solid service, a lively ambience and marvellous mocktail mixology, we'd suggest you come for the duck and stay for the captivating hand-pulled noodle presentation – you can thank us later.

GO: Visit www.mrchow.com for reservations and more information.