The Lingnan is an interesting restaurant in that the outside is rather unassuming, but don’t let that fool you. When you walk through the doors you are met by a giant statue, and then immediately to your left, a large aquarium with a few token koi fish swimming mindlessly. Beyond that is where the beauty of the restaurant lies. The dining areas are spacious and grand, decorated in red and gold. Taking in all of the grandeur and detail has the effect of leaving one in awe. While the outside of the restaurant may seem a bit intimidating, inside is a large and lovely space that is well prepared to provide you with a feast of any size — although you’re likely to order way more food than you need!
We ordered the De-Luxe Dinner for two, which has wonton soup, butterfly jumbo shrimp, crispy lemon chicken, manchurian beef with lobster sauce, Lingnan special fried rice, as well as fortune cookies. Now, this alone would have been more than enough food for the two of us, but we also decided to order the mushroom vegetarian chow mein, the vegetarian Vietnamese spring rolls, and the green onion cakes.
The vegetarian spring rolls and green onion cakes came first, and they were crispy and delicious. The spring rolls come with plum sauce and the onion cakes with a spicy chile sauce (I believe it was sambal), and although the sauces are paired nicely with each item, the green onion cake also went really well with the wonton soup — the soup arrived shortly after the appetizers, and was flavourful in its simplicity.
All the other items arrived soon after, and there was almost wasn’t enough room on our table for everything to sit. The jumbo shrimp wasn’t my favourite portion of the meal as there was a piece of bacon wrapped around the shrimp and a lot of breading. The rice was a basic fried rice with peas, chicken, and shrimp, and although it had more protein than I usually expect/enjoy in my fried rice, it was tasty and paired well with the other dishes. The chow mein was simple but palatable, and a great option for anyone who doesn’t eat meat — don’t worry, although the menu says “vegetarian” in quotations, it really is meat-free.
The lemon chicken was something I was very excited to try as whenever the Lingnan is mentioned to people who have eaten there before, “get the lemon chicken!” is often exclaimed. The chicken didn’t disappoint, the sauce had a bright lemon flavour without tasting synthetic or too sweet, and the chicken was still nice and crispy. I didn’t know what the manchurian beef would taste like and had no expectations for the lobster sauce, but what arrived was absolutely delicious. The beef was tender, the vegetables crisp, and the sauce was flavourful and not fishy at all. This dish is a nice way to change it up a bit but still get your fix of sauteed beef and vegetables.
Overall, I had no complaints when it came to the food, and everything was fresh and well put together. The wonton soup and lemon chicken were definitely some favourites, but I’d like to go back and try even more of the extensive menu. The staff were also very friendly and competent. They were there whenever you needed them, but not so much so that you felt like they were hovering. For those wanting some delicious Chinese food, the Lingnan is definitely a place to try. We would rate the Lingnan as a 9/10, and would recommend it for fun dinner parties with friends or family.