Chinese New Year Menu: £88 pp (available now)
“Fast paced, seductive, club-like” – these “wonderfully vibey” operations may be “so busy and very noisy” but have founded a global brand on the strength of their “feel-good” ambience and “brilliantly executed Chinese/pan-Asian cuisine”. However, even some fans concede that they can also seem “hideously expensive” and “brusque”service (“we were kept waiting, only then to be hassled to order or risk being kicked off the table at the end or our 2-hour slot”) is a perennial gripe. Top Tip – “Their Dim Sum Sunday is exquisite”.
On Hakkasan’s signature eight course Chinese New Year menu: Crispy scallop in sweet plum sauce with mango in golden cup; baked Chilean sea bass with a kumquat glaze; and Rhug Estate organic lamb in seaweed soy with celery and enoki mushroom.
Lunch from £45.80 pp
Dinner from £67.80 pp
“The food keeps on coming until you stay ‘stop’!” – “a seemingly never-ending stream of perfectly judged dishes” – at this Pimlico veteran, where “Mr Peng decides what you’ll eat, and my goodness he is right!” It’s “Russian roulette but fantastic if you’re not a fussy eater” and regularly scores as “the best Chinese in London (if not the planet)”. The room itself is “slightly odd” and “minor language problems” can impede the service, but overall it’s “a genius way to have a social meal”. “The wine list is pretty amazing too!” – “thoughtfully matched, with lots of Germanic and other aromatic whites, including a number of excellent mature Rieslings”.
Lunar New Year Menu 1 £98 pp (available 15 February-4 March)
Lunar New Year Menu 2 £110 pp (available 15 February-4 March)
“Never failing to impress my Chinese wife or anyone we invite here” – this “very professional and impressive” 8th-floor operation is not only one of London’s very best Chinese dining rooms, but – “despite being in a hotel” – it also manages not to be blighted by its “stunning views” (“go in daylight to get the best of the panorama over Kensington Gardens”). “If you want excellent dim sum or Peking duck look no further”: the food is “fresh and totally engrossing” – particularly the wood-fired duck which is “incredible” – and “given the quality and freshness of the ingredients it is money well spent”.
Both New Year menus are very similar with the second containing an additional course of Bi Feng Tang lobster with a mango roll. Their legendary duck is available as an additional course if it’s ordered in advance. In order to secure your booking a deposit of £30 per person must be taken.
There’s no New Year set menu but diners will find a selection of special dishes celebrating the Year of the Dog (available now).
“Fabulously tasty dim sum with a modern twist”and “slick” styling fuel the fun at this incredibly popular and vibey, Chinese-fusion duo, with the more moody Soho original still outscoring its big and “bright” Broadgate Circle spin-off. Service is the weakest link – it can be “somewhat haphazard”.
New Year dim sum dishes: Chilean sea bass roll; Salted egg yolk custard sesame ball
New Year main dishes: Stir-fried duck breast with hazelnut in mala sauce; Steam scallop in black bean sauce with glass noodle
New Year desserts: The Haoyun Lantern (soy caramel mousse, mandarin confit, sesame sable); macarons (vanilla orchid, kumquat cashew, raspberry Szechuan pepper)
There’s no New Year set menu but there are special NY dishes and on Monday 19 February the restaurant will host a Chinese Dragon Dance Performance.
“Delectable dim sum” that’s “comparable to the best in HK” ensures the accomplished Marylebone flagship of the China Club group is “always packed”. Especially given “an interior that could be improved” however, even fans can find it “overpriced”.
New Year dishes include: salad tossed with salmon, pork belly and scallop with oyster and sea moss; steamed buns with ‘running’ custard and gold powder, and fresh pear in rice wine syrup with gold paper.
Taste of China Menu £75 pp (available evening only)
“Andrew Wong is a magician!” – and his “new-school Chinese” in Pimlico provides not only some of “the most exhilarating food in London”, but also, contrary to cultural stereotypes, the service here is “exceptionally graceful and helpful”. The setting is “lively” (if “crowded”) too, and in the evening, there’s also the option of a small Chef’s Table, or eating in the “decadent” ‘Forbidden City’ basement bar. There’s a wide range of eating options too, from “incredibly inventive dim sum”, to a “fabulous 10-course tasting menu”.
Dishes include: Zhou dynasty cured scallop, stuffed crab claw, wasabi; Barbecued pork jerky; Shanghai steamed dumplings, ginger infused vinegar; Yunnan seared beef with mint, chilli and lemongrass served with a pulled noodle cracker.
No special Chinese New Year menus
“Awesome food from the northwest frontier province of Xinjiang” at this “noisy and ridiculously good-value” canteen in Camberwell presents a “whole new take on Chinese cuisine”. It’s “spicy and fiery”, “closer to the sub-continent than typical Chinese”, and “the homemade noodles are silky and chewy and incredible”. Top Tips: “amazing offal”, “melt-in-the-mouth lamb”, and “the chicken plate is one of the best dishes in London!”.
Special New Year menu (available 15-25 February)
In the unusual setting of an upmarket new hotel by grungy Shepherd’s Bush Green, this contemporary dining room has won something of a name as “one of London’s better Chinese restaurants”. More downbeat reports say it’s “vibeless, not bad but not that good, and not cheap”, but more commonly it’s praised for “unexpectedly authentic cooking” – in particular “dim sum that comprehensively beats much more expensive places”.
Dishes include: Legendary Shikumen Peking Duck (£29.90); Brainsed Abalone, Goose Web and Broccoli in Superior Stock (£35); and Truffle Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with Shimeji Mushroom (£32.80).
No special Chinese New Year menus
This “reliable stalwart of the Soho Chinese food scene” provides “an oasis of calm” just a 1-minute walk from Chinatown. “Managed by the awesome William and Christine”, its “serene” and “welcoming” style suits its older fanbase, as do the “interesting if un-challenging” dishes. Potentially under threat (like the nearby Soho Curzon) from demolition for Crossrail 2 – we hope they don’t retire: “it would be the end of an institution… and some very good food!”
No special Chinese New Year menus
The very definition of “a solid performer” – this “reliable” and “reasonably priced” Asian in a tucked-away Swiss Cottage parade of shops has long been a big north London favourite (including with Giles Coren). It offers a mix of Chinese, Malaysian and Singaporean dishes – “be adventurous in ordering to get the most benefit”.