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May 27

Mongolian Village – the Gloucester Centre’s best kept secret

Mongolian Village - Gloucester Centre

You’ll eat your Fill from the Mongolian Grill

At Mongolian Village you’ll always eat your fill
Just pick what you like and it’s cooked on the grill.
Lots of sauces and spices to add to the taste;
You pay by the weight so none goes to waste!
And at the end, there’s no shock with the bill!!…

Where we went: Sometimes things go wrong and other times they go right. Mongolian Village at the Gloucester Centre in Ottawa’s East End is definitely high on the list of the Supper Seven. We don’t go there that often simply because too many others like it too, especially on a Friday evening. However, on a whim, we called ahead to see just how bad the wait might be and were told that, if we came soon, there would be little or no wait. We did not need to be told twice and got our rear ends into gear. The first (and still existing) location was at Moodie Drive in Bells Corners and although it used to be a 25Km drive, we used to make the effort once every couple of months. I must admit to a potential bias here, since I have known the owners, Brendan and his wife, for many years, even prior to the opening of the West End location. The last time I spoke with him, they were in negotiations for a third location.

What we ordered: You don’t exactly ‘order’ at this restaurant. There is always a choice of soup as a starter, included in the price of the meal. Today’s happened to be broccoli-curry and  hot-and-sour. Hot-and-sour is the regular alternate and is for those with a good tolerance for spicy!

After the soup is ordered, everyone heads off to the buffet where one fills a bowl with whatever takes one’s fancy. The selection is extensive and is always fresh-looking and attractively presented. Personally, over the years, I have developed a couple of standard mixes. Today, I took salmon, scallops, shrimp and lamb along with a plethora of vegetables. My regular additions included shredded coconut, sultanas, water chestnuts, minced garlic and ginger as well as coconut milk and jerk seasoning.

The Mongolian GrillOnce you have filled your bowl, you take it to the weigh station and they mark your chit with the price and your sequence number for the table. Once everyone from your table has chosen their food, and provided there is no line of tables awaiting their food also, all food is place in separate piles on the grill and cooked.

What we got: Unless they somehow mix things up when they cook the food on the grill, you generally get what you selected. It is worth noting that they cook the entire table’s food at the same time, so there is no advantage to being the first in line. Unlimited hot steamed rice is served along with wraps to accompany your meal again at no extra charge. Our habit is to coat a wrap with a thin smear of hoisin sauce before filling it. If you don’t enjoy your meal here, you only have yourself to blame!

Worthy of note: To be fair, it takes a couple of visits to get used to putting your own plate together. The real key is getting used to the spices and sauces. Even the most seasoned chef may not be used to the correct quantities for a single serving. The sauces are all marked to indicate their degree of hot or spiciness. I would caution you to go easy with the jerk seasoning for example. Although only Amber took dessert (molten lava cake), experience has taught us that desserts here are typically worthwhile especially the fruit crepes. Although the typical plate of food tends to run from $11 -$18 it must be noted that some foods which are cheap to produce are nonetheless heavy. A plate full of pasta, for example, would cost you more than one of shrimp or scallops. Since rice is served anyway, beware of making your plate laden with expensive fillers.

Summary

  • Positives: Everyone gets to eat exactly and only what they like especially kids. Eat as little or as much as you want.
  • Negatives: The first time out can be a little tricky getting the right balance of quantities and spices and sauces. Most people tend to err on the side of too much the first time out.
  • Recommendation: Our bet is that once you try it, like us, you will be hooked. After all these years, I’m still not sure exactly what qualifies this as Mongolian but that aside, every visit is a treat!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Very Good
Price $$$ Moderate
Decor **** Attractive
Service **** Friendly 
Overall Rating **** Above Average

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Related terms: Mongolian Village Gloucester, Mongolian Village Bells Corners, Mongolian Village Gloucester Centre, Mongolian Village Ottawa, Mongolian Village Sherwood Park

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