Missed the firecrackers and the lion dancing? Fear not because it’s never too late to ring in the Chinese New Year with a table full of barn animals in a city beaming with vibrancy for the orient. I’ve lost myself one too many times in the sea of Chinese restaurants in London, so here’s a short guide to some of my favourites off the dome.
For a touch of frenzy x value x classics cooked from your nana’s kitchen, my favourite weekly hangout goes to ‘Four Seasons’ in the heart of Chinatown. Confusingly two of the same branches are located within 100ft of each other but regardless of which one’s doors you end up falling through, there’s never short of a queue of hungry diners blocking your way in. Whether it’s waiting for a table or getting a takeout, nothing beats juiced up Peking duck, cheap food and the service swift (adj. used to describe waiters who can’t wait to kick you out with the orange rind still hanging from your mouth).
Char Siu (Four Seasons)
If you fancy more of an experience of relaxed ambiance, neat presentations and an extensive menu of both a la carte and dim sum plates, I recommend Royal China or the floating Lotus restaurant in Canary Wharf to put your feet up and sample all of the above.
And what meal would be complete without dessert? AN UNFORTUNATE ONE. Save room for one of Chinatown’s most heart stopping desserts to grace the table – the cream on cream on cream crepe at Candy Cafe – a thin crepe stuffed with white chocolate cheesecake, topped with more cheesecake, ice-cream, whipping cream and finished with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Golden Gate has the same confusing 2-3 branches in the same area as Four Seasons but they sure have the goodies to match the name such as miniature cakes, shaved ice and traditional Taiwanese steamed tofu.
Cakes and Taiwanese steamed tofu dessert (Golden Gate)
Shaved Ice (Golden Gate)
I’m not finished quite yet…below are a few pictures I’ve compiled for no reason other than to reminisce in the love of a big feast (especially the roast pork joint pic). They’re mostly taken at Sofitel Shanghai with the others taken from an incredibly homely restaurant close to my hometown which I love. When it comes to food, the less messing around the better, and sometimes that means having the whole animal plopped right in front of you. For the intrepid travellers, this one’s for you. DIG IN.
Peanut rice cakes
Fish stomach with sweet potatoes and Bak Choi
The money shot – Roast Pork Joint
Seafood fried rice