UPDATED FEBRUARY 2018
We’ll take any excuse to feast at some of the capital’s finest Asian eateries, and with Friday 16th February heralding the Chinese New Year, now’s the time to do it. Here’s SL's pick of where to celebrate the year of the Dog...
A. Wong, Victoria
Throwing away outdated notions of British-Chinese restaurants – you won’t find a gilded dragon or prawn cracker in sight at this slick, modern eatery – Andrew Wong has put a creative new twist on Chinese cooking using only the finest ingredients. Dim sum and street food-inspired snacks can be ordered by the piece, or for the more discerning diner, a ten-course taster menu for £65, which includes everything from barbecued pork jerky to Yunnan seared beef with mint, chilli and lemongrass served with a pulled noodle cracker and truffle, whilst duck fans will delight in the ‘Peking Duck Menu’ – seven indulgent dishes (plus sides) made entirely from a whole-roasted duck.
70 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DE
Bun House, Soho
Inspired by 60s Hong Kong, Bun House recalls the era’s tea houses street stalls – you’ll even find a Tea Room speakeasy hidden downstairs beneath the main restaurant space, where you can drink authentic Chinese brews and alcoholic tipples until the early hours. Bao buns are, of course, the stars of the menu, with pig, lamb, chicken, fish and veggie options, as well as an interesting collection of pickles – think daikon, jicama, blue garlic and seasonal choys – and small dishes including chilli tripe, lotus root crisp and wood ear salad.
Bun House, 24 Greek Street, W1D 4DZ
My Neighbours The Dumplings, Clapton
The bonafide Brooklyn of East London; Clapton’s east-side hipster hangout certainly isn’t lacking in food joints, but one of its stalwart spots – and one of our favourites – My Neighbours is one to put on the dining out wish list. Hand-crafted dumplings, wontons and rich broths are served up street food style, and made extra special by the restaurant’s darkly glamorous décor – think lightboxes, lanterns and a big hit of hipster cool.
165 Lower Clapton Rd, E5 8EQ
Duck Duck Goose, Brixton
A super cool, canteen-style setting with retro wooden chairs, industrial lighting and pastel pink walls – this is the coolest Cantonese joint we’ve ever come across. The food is traditional, barbecued and brimming with flavour – the same fare you’d find on the busy streets of Hong Kong. Think classic dishes, comprising of duck, pork and goose, which come fried, steamed or cooked in a wok. Be sure to try their Prawn Toast Revisited – deep-fried white bread topped with a layer of prawn mousse; the whole red snapper steamed with soy, ginger and spring onion; or the mighty meat platter that comes with char siu, duck and goose.
Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ
Mamalan’s Beijing Kitchen
For Chinese dim sum that won’t blow the budget, head to Mamalan, where generous portions of decent dumplings are served from around £5, each lovingly-crafted by a family that hails from Beijing.
Locations in Clapham and Brixton
All the food at Xu – a smart Taiwanese joint from the peeps behind cult hit Bao – is incredible, but if you want to celebrate New Year in traditional Chinese style, opt for the tomato and smoked eel – it was voted Time Out’s number 1 dish for 2018 and will take your taste buds on a journey through salt and sweet, soot and tang, with a faint hint of peppery coriander.
30 Rupert Street, W1D 6DL
Dragon Inn Club, Pimlico
This trendy new Sichuan hotspot serves up gorgeous Asian infusions, with a heavy hit of spice. Tuck into the likes of lobster with Sichuan chilli & herbs; double-cooked pork belly with leeks & spices; and wild mushrooms served in a stone bowl with silky egg tofu. But the real showstopper is a hot pot you cook yourselves; huge cooking pots are built into the tables which the restaurant fills with hot broths – think light chicken and spring onion, or the fiery Sichuan chilli – for your dip-cooking delectation. Stir in everything from scallops, tiger prawns and lobster to wagyu beef, corn fed chicken and Iberico pork belly, for a DIY dining experience with a side of theatrics.
16-18 Upper Tachbrook Street, SW1V 1SH
Yauatcha, Soho and The City
To get into the Chinese New Year spirit, Soho dim sum spot Yauatcha will be transforming their Soho and Broadgate branches into a hub of vibrant activity, with installations from artists Lydia Kasumi Shireff and Jamie Julien Brown. Each artist will reinterpret the traditional Chinese paper lantern in a cool, contemporary way, so you can dine in a sea of bright golds, reds and greens, whilst devouring decadent dishes, each New Year themed and with the aim that once you eat them, they’ll bring you good fortune.
Locations in Soho and Broadgate
Bo Lang, Chelsea
If you fancy splashing the cash, Bo Lang’s £100 a head set menu features an array of spectacular dishes, from lobster with lumpfish caviar to prawn tempura with ginger soy sauce, and a sleek interior that matches the luxuriousness of the food.
100 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea
The Duck & Rice, Soho
Dubbed a 'Chinese gastropub', The Duck & Rice, another venture from Alan Yau of Wagamama, Yauatcha and Hakkasan fame, is a must-visit for any fan of pan-Asian cuisine. The Michelin-starred trendsetter sets the benchmark high for high-end Chinese cuisine, but if you can't fork out for a feast this is an equally delicious and easier-on-the-purse-strings option for those wanting a taste of the Alan Yau action.
90 Berwick Street, Soho
Fu Manchu, Clapham
With exposed brick railway arch interiors and a buzzing live music scene, Fu Manchu has a cool, rock ’n’ roll vibe. So, if you want your dim sum with a side of partying, this is where to head. Mouth-watering dishes include scallop, rocket and Szechuan pepper steamed dumplings; fried spicy beef and radish dumplings; and sweet potato and caramelised onion bao buns (there’s even an all-you-can-eat option on Sundays) and there are some wickedly moreish tipples, to toast the New Year in style.
15-16 Lendal Terrace, Clapham
Michelin-starred Hakkasan will be honouring the wishing tree tradition by collecting wishes from guests who visit any of the London restaurants over the New Year. The wishes will be hung whimsically around the dining areas, and as part of the celebrations, to honour the Year of the Dog, Authentic Chinese lion dancers will perform at Hakkasan Hanway Place on 18th February and Hakkasan Mayfair on 25th February. Choose from a selection of sumptuous plates from the limited edition signature menu created by Hakkasan chefs from London, USA, the Middle East and Asia and raise a glass with their specially cocktail; the Happy Daisy, that comes with an adorable fortune cookie garnish, to guarantee you good luck.
Locations in Mayfair and Hanway Place; Chinese New Year menu available until 4th March 2018, £88pp
Hutong, The Shard
In the impressive setting of The Shard, Hutong is offering a Double Happiness set four-course menu for £88 per person (eight is considered a lucky number in China). Diners will feast on the customary Lo Hei salad, where guests are encouraged to mix the ingredients and toss them high in the air, chanting ‘Lo Hei’ to bring good luck; Shanghai wonton in chicken broth; and spicy minced pork with string beans. Festive entertainment will feature too, with a traditional lion dance held to ward off evil spirits on the night and a Chinese calligrapher available to provide guests with personalised mementos of their visit.
Double Happiness menu, £88, available 28th January, The Shard, London Bridge
Min Jiang, Kensington
With its picture-perfect vistas of Kensington and serene interiors, Min Jiang is an ideal place to enjoy a decadent Chinese dinner for two. The dim sum-centric restaurant will be serving a set menu for £98 per person, which will include Min Jiang’s legendary Beijing duck cooked in a wood-fired oven and carved at the table, as well as a selection of Chinese dumplings and succulent meat dishes – think braised pork belly and abalone in claypot; roasted chicken with crispy spring onions; and stir-fried razor clams with asparagus in XO sauce.
Lunar New Year menu, £98, available 27th January – 10th February, Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington
Park Chinois, Mayfair
For true opulence, Alan Yau’s lavish dining spot will be hosting a five-night Chinese New Year extravaganza, with live entertainment and a hearty feast of delectable Chinese classics. Feast on the likes of Peking duck, Ibérico jasmine tea smoked rack of ribs, scallop XO dumpling and stir-fry Wagyu bavette beef with ginger and spring onion, then head to the dance floor to practice your best moves.
25th – 29th January, 17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair
Opium will be opening their gilded jade doors with an array of Oriental goodies, elegant eats and majestic cocktail concoctions. Enter the mysterious labyrinth for an inspired celebration with buzzing tunes, addictive drinks and platters of devilishly good dim sum.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown
Shuang Shuang, Shaftesbury Avenue
Already a favourite in Hong Kong, the hot-pot way of dining has finally hit British shores, thanks to Shuang Shaung. Diners pick meat and veg from a conveyor belt and dunk them in their choice of five hot, simmering stock bases. The modern way to celebrate Chinese cuisine.
64 Shaftesbury Avenue, West End
Le Chinois, Knightsbridge
Set in the heart of Knightsbridge, this swanky Sloane Street hangout will be serving a special menu to celebrate the turn of the New Year. Running from 23rd – 29th January, guests will be treated to a complimentary glass of prosecco, followed by an authentic Chinese feast full of mouth-watering creations from Head Chef, Anthony Kong. Look forward to delights including Green Prosperity – whole fresh lobster steamed with Chinese rice wine and egg white; and House of Fortune – sautéed beef fillet with black pepper sauce. Anyone dining on the 27th January will get to join in with the traditional Chinese Lion Dance – which apparently chases away evil spirits, and brings a year of happiness and good luck.
Chinese New Year menu, £58 (minimum of two people), available 23rd – 29th January, 17 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge
TING At The Shard
Derived from the Chinese word for ‘living room’, TING is based on level 35 of The Shard. A cool 128 metres above ground level, you’ll be treated to unsurpassed views of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and other famous landmarks as you dine on a modern European menu with an Asian twist.