Article by Stephen Robinson
2F, the North Sheraton Hotel, Wei Yang Road.
11:00am – 9:00pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 185RMB
While there are many restaurants in Xi’an, most of them are faceless institutions, without a personal look or touch that separate them from any other. Often it seems like they are mere money spinners, designed to separate you from your hard-earned currency while delivering a mediocre product. So when you find a place that has a bit of a story behind it, there is immediately more interest.
The mum of Mum’s Steakhouse is an actual person, a woman who has spent more than 30 years in professional kitchens in the typically male-dominated realm of five-star hotel dining. Starting off her career in the Shangri-la Golden Flower Hotel in 1984, she was unusual in that she worked in the ‘hot kitchen’ (typically in China, women in the culinary arts are usually relegated to making pastries.). Working her way up to Sous Chef in the hotel, she eventually moved to another five-star hotel in Wuhan, where she worked for 20 years. In 2012, she opened the first Mum’s Steakhouse in a residential building in Xi’an, which had only six tables.
Joining her are her mother and daughter. Her mother was a cook in a government-run canteen during the late 50s and 60s, retiring in 1979 to take care of her granddaughter. Her daughter has been cooking since the age of 15, when she learned how to prepare various dishes. After graduating from university, she started teaching, helping her mother with her new restaurant in her free time. In 2014, she left teaching to work for the restaurant full time. In 2015, she participated in the CCTV 1 program 中国味道, and was awarded an internship with a three-star Michelin chef. She and her husband, who is a pastry chef, rejoined the restaurant in 2016. The restaurant has expanded from its original location to 4 locations around the city.
The location from this review is located in the Sheraton Hotel North, next to Exit B of the Longshou Yuan subway station. After being seated, they will bring you a bowl of soup, free of charge. They said this tradition stems from when they were in their original location. With just a tiny kitchen, service would sometimes be slow, so they would serve guests soup as a way to fight off the hunger while they waited for their meals. Being a free soup, you might think that this would be some cheap tasting filler, but you would be wrong. The cream of mushroom soup was intensely rich and deep, with excellent earthy mushroom flavor concentrated in the bowl.
The first course that arrived following the soup was a salad that was nice, light, and refreshing, with a soft-boiled egg tucked in the center of the greens, like a freshly-laid egg in a leafy nest. After the richness of the soup, it served as an excellent palate cleanser. Next arrived a dish of truffle risotto with grilled foie gras. At first the piece of foie gras seemed quite small, but it soon became apparent that that would be enough, as the fatty richness of the risotto more than compensated. The flavor of black truffle was present throughout the dish, with small dabs of truffle paste running across the surface.
The main course came up next, a 250 gram ribeye steak, generously seasoned with salt and black pepper. The steak also came with a side salad and a deep brown sauce. The steak was cooked just as requested, medium-rare, and had a rich beefy flavor to it. The brown sauce was ok, but it’s recommended to dip rather than pour it over the top, as it is quite strong. There is wine by the glass on the menu, and while it is quite sweet, it still played nicely with the other flavors on the plate. If you are more into drier wines, it might be advisable to bring a vintage of your choosing. Dessert was a classic tiramisu, one of several varieties of desserts available. The tiramisu was soft and creamy, with layers of coffee-infused cake instead of the more traditional lady fingers. Paired with an espresso, it was a lovely end to a nice meal.
There are many other things on offer at the restaurant that didn’t make it into this review, including pastas, pizzas, and other types of Western cuisine, though there are not so many things that the menu becomes cumbersome. Food here is reasonably priced, with the foie gras risotto coming in at 138RMB per plate and the steaks averaging just slightly higher than that. Not the cheapest restaurant, but still quite decent, Everything that we had there that night was quite good, and it will definitely be a place that we will return to in the future. There are two shops under the brand of Mum’s Steakhouse, one at the Sheraton North and one at Glorious Plaza. The other two shops are under a different brand, Restaurant D, and serve slightly different menus. These are located on Fen Xiang and on Gaoxin 1st Road close to Coffee Street. So, if you have a desire to try out something different, stop into one of their locations and give it a try.
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