Let The Festivities BeginCover Story Features
August 2, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
With an expansive dining space, customizable menu of traditional Chinese cuisine and host of event-friendly amenities, The Mandalay is proving to be the life of the party, serving as Honolulu’s most ideal restaurant to host special occasions.
1055 Alakea St., Honolulu 525-8585
Daily, open from 10:30 a.m., order until 8 p.m.
Dim sum served daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Express portion of the eatery (open Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.) allows diners to create their own plate lunch for as low as $6.95.
Since it opened in the heart of downtown in 2006, the Alakea Street eatery has daily dished out Hong Kong-style entrees and dim sum service in a clean, elegant and spacious environment. This has appealed to businesspeople, consulate members and politicians who work in the area, as well as kamaaina families looking for a great spot to bring the whole gang for lunch or dinner.
One thing these diverse patrons have in common is that, when the time comes to arrange a small or large-scale gathering, they all turn to The Mandalay.
“The whole restaurant can hold up to 340 people, and we do have private rooms,” says Linda Chan, who owns the eatery with her husband Larry. She notes that the more intimate dining spaces can accommodate groups ranging from 10 to 50 people.
Whether throwing a birthday party, planning a wedding reception or celebrating one’s graduation, coming up with the right menu is key. The Mandalay takes the stress out of the planning process by offering an array of multiple-course menus perfectly designed for various events. Chan also encourages patrons to work directly with her to come up with a customized menu for any get-together. “If the guest wants to have something new and different that’s not from the menu, we are able to accommodate,” she says.
Just in time for one’s next festive gathering, The Mandalay’s culinary team has come up with a slew of brand-new offerings that are not on the menu, but have been created especially for parties. Elegantly presented Deep Fried Stuffed Duck ($24 half duck, $48 whole) — featuring tender meat wrapped in shrimp paste and deep-fried with breadcrumbs to a golden crisp — sets the tone for formal events, while Steamed Oyster Roll ($19.95) adds variety to any dining spread.
The ever-impressive Steamed Whole Wintermelon with Seafood Soup ($80) is a showstopper the moment it arrives at the table. This delicacy tastes just as grandiose as it looks, thanks to the flavorful soup that resides inside the melon, brimming with shrimp, scallop, chicken, ham and black mushrooms.
And to round out the party menu, be sure to try Braised Oxtail with Black Bean Sauce ($24.95), which is not a new dish, but it is a crowd favorite.
Chan notes that all of these specialties must be ordered at least one day in advance.
Over the past nine years, The Mandalay has gained such a positive reputation for its parties that it now hosts special events nearly every weekend. “I have people booking for next year, so once you have the idea in your mind, it’s good to call in and check on the date as soon as possible,” advises Chan.
The restaurant also boasts lunch and dinner specials, which present preset menus for tables of 10 or more. These options are ideal for everything from business luncheons to large family dinners, and many of the set menus may be ordered the same day as the event. Highlighting nine different menu items, including dessert, the lunch specials range in price from $178 to $208 (per table of 10), while the dinner specials run from $248 to $438 (per table of 10).
Diners are asked to keep in mind that two of the dinner specials choices, Menus C ($338) and D ($438), do require one day’s advance notice. Menu C offers such noteworthy bites as Sauteed Lobsters with Ginger Scallion and Deep Fried Taro Duck, and Menu D delivers the goods in the form of Live Dungeness Crab in Black Bean Sauce, Steamed Chicken with Virginia Ham and much more.
Housing just the right equipment to make events truly unforgettable, The Mandalay has a cordless microphone for speeches, video and audio capabilities (rental fee applies), a screen and projector, and even a karaoke machine.
“Parking is available across the street from the restaurant at Bishop Square. It’s fully validated Monday to Friday after 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday all day, so it’s free to guests,” Chan adds. During business hours on weekdays, patrons may use the nearby public parking lot at Alii Place.
Additionally, The Mandalay provides the highest quality of customer service to ensure events go off without a hitch. Like social butterflies, the owner and her staff may be found fluttering about the restaurant, ensuring guests are always happily fed and having a merry time.