Red Panda

Chinese food that hits just right!

Red Panda has established themselves as a crowd favourite for some time with their amazing delivery and take away. When we got to know that they recently opened for dine-in, you know we had to give it a try. 

Hot Butter Cuttlefish (LKR 850)

At first glance, I noted the sizable portion (we ordered a small) and the rather substantial pieces. The dish danced with intense flavours that one expects from Chinese cuisine; the perfect balance of sweet, savoury and spice. Although the flavour of the sauce was intense it didn’t interfere with the crispy cuttlefish, which was undoubtedly the star of the dish. 

Hot Butter Wings (LKR 700)

The intensity of the sauce was reduced to accommodate the more delicate flavour of the chicken giving it an interesting contrast. The meat was cooked to perfection with the flavours permeating well within. Here again, was another substantial portion!

Chili Chicken with Cashew Nuts (LKR 900)

This tender bite-size pieces of chicken was a perfect accompaniment to the many rice and noodle options Red Panda has to offer. The sauce was complex enough to add a kick of flavour but not too overwhelming as to overtake the taste of the main dish. The addition of cashew nuts added a dimension of richness which was quite pleasant.

Whole Garupa in Ginger Sauce (LKR 1200) 

At first glance I quite enjoyed the simplicity of the dish’s appearance, giving the rightful focus to the majestic fish that I was about to dine on. The preparation was simple, giving way to the fresh flavour of the fish and the flaky yet firm texture made for an enjoyable mouthfeel. The ginger sauce was a perfect base for this!

Mutton in Black Pepper Sauce (LKR 1100)

I would call this dish my personal favourite. The meat was lusciously tender thanks to what I assume was a long slow braise, which also would’ve helped to impart the deep flavour of the mutton. Its creamy sauce brought the dish together, and the heat of the pepper permeated right into my very being. This is a side dish I recommend you order with a light main to really appreciate the flavour.

Chicken Nasigoreng (LKR 1000) 

Although this famously Indonesian dish seemed a little out of place on a Chinese menu, it’s a crowd-favourite and we had to give it a try. The balance of sweet and savoury of the rice was perfect and its complex flavour can surely satisfy any fan of this dish. Another massive portion, it paired quite well with the Hot Butter Chicken.

Seafood Fried Rice (LKR 1100)

This dish delivered well in terms of familiar flavours. The rice was wonderfully fluffy and they did not skimp on the seafood. It’s a handsome portion that can feed two people well. Its subtle flavours are perfect for some of the more intense side dishes on their menu.

Sweet and Sour Prawns (LKR 1100)

The first thing I noticed was the hefty prawns on the plate. Upon biting into one I was delighted to find that it had a good protein to batter ratio. The sweet and sour sauce was wonderfully complex with the fruity sweetness that comes from pineapple. The flavours are quite strong in this dish but it met all my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Jumbo Prawn in Orange Sauce (LKR 1500)

By far one of the most impressive looking dishes, this dish was an interesting experience. With my first bite, I was instantly greeted with a strong orange flavour that was both light and somehow quite deep. The sweetness of the sauce is the main carrier of the dish so it might not be for everyone, however, the prawns managed to elevate this dish to a new level.  

Singapore Style Chili Crab (LKR 1500)

To start off it was beautiful to look at. Since crab is a daunting dish to eat at a restaurant I first tried the sauce it came with and I was smitten. The flavour of ginger was strong and it lends to adding an air of comfort to the dish. The flavour balance was perfect and by the time I got to breaking the shells open, I was already a convert. The flesh was tender and I was able to get to it without much hassle.

The portions are well worth the price and their understanding of flavour makes the whole experience amazing. Their dine-in space is charming and is perfect if you’re looking for a chill atmosphere to enjoy some good food. Although not the most impressive in terms of looks, they do their food well and their service is friendly.

Tip – Keep an eye out for their specials and try out their seafood range.

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Author: Harith Wirasinha
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