XU Teahouse & Restaurant
Kick off with a spot of pre-dinner entertainment. XU Teahouse & Restaurant is reminiscent of the original social clubs and luxury dining rooms of 1930s Taipei. Home to a permanent mahjong (a Chinese tile-based game) club, each of the two games rooms are available to hire for two-hour slots. A short guide and cheat sheet are provided for those unfamiliar with the rules. Make sure to pair the experience with a cocktail or two – we like the ‘Aki Royale’: champagne, gin, blackberry and night-scented jasmine tea.
30 Rupert Street, Chinatown, W1D 6DL
Inspired by 1960s Hong Kong, Soho's Bun House recalls the era’s teahouse street stalls. Opening in in April 2019, Bun House’s second site – this time in Chinatown – will also pay homage to dai pai dong food stalls, with a small hatch inside the restaurant serving up traditional street food style snacks such as curried fish balls and cheung fun (traditional rice noodle rolls topped wok-fried vegetables). Steamed bao buns will be 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 choy. Drinks will celebrate Hong Kong’s burgeoning craft beer scene, working closely with breweries such as Moonzen and Young Master, plus there will be a range of tea-based cocktails and cold brewed tea.
26-27 Lisle Street, Chinatown, WC2H 7BA; opens April 2019
P.F. Chang’s Asian Table
P.F. Chang’s Asian Table is the younger, more artistic side of the world-famous global restaurant P.F. Chang’s. A modern space with a fun bar (which is often taken over for various pop-ups celebrating everything from Japan’s cherry blossom season to Wimbledon), the West End pan-Asian restaurant is an ideal spot for dinner with the girls. From the menu, we’d opt for the Asian caesar salad; the must-try ‘dynamite shrimp’, the lobster chowder, the chicken lettuce cups and the Mongolian beef, followed by something sweet from the restaurant’s in-house ‘Pastry Lab’.
10 Great Newport Street, Chinatown, WC2H 7JA
Yamagoya is the latest opening from ramen master Masatoshi Ogatahas, located in the space formerly occupied by Shuang Shaung (which has moved to the newly refurbished first floor, and is also well worth a visit). Situated just off Wardour Street, the pared-back space, takes inspiration from Tokyo’s ramen-yashops: visitors can perch on stools up at the window or at the kitchen counter to watch the chefs at work. Smaller bites include fried pork gyoza and chicken kara-age with a yuzu mayo, and main dishes feature its celebrated ‘yamagoya’ – handmade noodles in a rich tonkotzu broth, garnished with Japanese chashu pork belly, marinated bamboo shoo, kikurage mushroom and nori. Yamagoya’s famous raindrop cake, which made waves on the London food scene last year, rounds off the menu.
64 Shaftesbury Avenue, Chinatown, W1D 6LU
Baozilnn is an 80-cover restaurant serving authentic, well-priced northern Chinese street food. Baozilnn, which means ‘people’s canteen’, is arranged over three floors and divided into five distinct dining spaces. Each room combines traditional elements, such as Asian lanterns and decorative shutters, with contemporary touches: think sleek slate floors and exposed brickwork. Star dishes include prawn and pork wontons; chengdu jiaozi dumplings drenched in XO sauce; handmade dan dan noodles in homemade soy sauce, sesame sauce, peanut sauce and minced pork; and fried prawn brioche.
25 Newport Court, Chinatown, WC2H 7JS
Mamason’s Dirty Ice Cream
Be sure to save room for pudding and take a walk along Newport Court, known by some as ‘Dessert Alley’. First up is Filipino ice-cream parlour Mamason’s, who introduced its street-style “dirty” ice-cream to the streets of Chinatown last summer. The site sells a range of Instagrammable pan-Asian puds, including its signature sell-out dessert, the ‘Bilog’: a traditional Filipino milk bun (pandesal) filled with ice-cream, toasted in a hot press and dusted with icing sugar. Mmm.
32 Newport Court, Chinatown, WC2H 7PQ
Tsujiri is home of some of the best green tea desserts we’ve tried. The menu has hot matcha drinks to warm you up when it’s chilly, and cold drinks and pastel green soft-serve ice-cream to refresh you when it’s hot. Whatever the weather, make sure to sample one of the chewy shiratamas (sweet rice-based dumplings) which are handmade in store every day.
47 Rupert Street, Chinatown, W1D 7PD
With its glossy, pastel-hued walls and pink neon lights Roro is a one-of-a-kind dessert shop. Inside, the team specialises in Asian-inspired confections along with colour-changing drinks. For a sweet street-food inspired snack, opt for one of Roro’s made-to-order jianbing. These slender crepe rolls come in original, chocolate or matcha variety and are topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries and mango. Don’t miss the imagawayaki – a Japanese wheel cake with molten matcha custard.
10 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6BZ
The team behind Bubblewraps put a delicious twist on waffles. Having originated in Hong Kong, these unique egg waffles caused Londoners to queue for over two hours for a taste of the sweet and savoury creations when the site first launched. Resembling bubble wrap, the waffle is shaped into a cone and filled with everything from matcha gelato and KitKat to berries and cream, with a helping of Oreos, fudge or pistachios for good measure. Proper Instagram fodder.
24 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6QJ
No trip to Chinatown is complete without a spot of karaoke. We recommend booking one of the four private karaoke rooms at Gerrard Street’s Plum Valley, where you can sing the night away with a ‘Lychee Martini’ in hand.
20 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JQ
We’re a big fan of Viet Food, especially now the team has launched art-deco bar Viet Lounge on the third floor. A central bar takes pride of place: we recommend pulling up a stool to watch head bartender Alex Looi shake up cocktails made with homemade Asian syrups. Sample the likes of a ‘Ho Chi Minh’, made with vodka, lychee liqueur, homemade yuzu syrup, fresh pineapple, fresh lime juice and basil leaves or ‘Gangnam Style’ with Korean rice wine, kirsch, Angostura bitters, plum bitters, nutmeg, egg white, lemon and homemade rosemary syrup. And don’t forget to order some of the delicious bar snacks.
34-36 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6QT
Opium Cocktail Bar
Continue your cocktail crawl by venturing to decadent multi-story drinking den Opium, which transports guests to a bygone Chinese era via expertly mixed tipples and elegant surroundings. Opium’s intimate hidden bar, Peony, features a menu of ten cocktails – each one named after and taking inspiration from a Chinese city. Titled ‘A Journey Through China’, Peony’s territory-spanning menu is less about a drink in a glass, more a theatrical experience with many ingredients indigenous to the city the drink is named after. Good news: Opium is open until 3am from Thursday-Saturday.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JE
Chinatown favourite Ichibuns opened Ichibar – a late-night drinking and dining destination – at the end of 2018. Open until 2am and serving up an extensive list of Japanese whisky, gin, craft ale and sake alongside an innovative cocktail menu, it brings a slice of old Tokyo flavours to the centre of London. From Manga-covered ceilings to walls decorated with Japanese beer cans and re-purposed Pachinko machines, the team promises an experience unlike any other outside of Japan. Every weekend, guests are able to enjoy a programme of house DJs, playing music live and (most importantly) late into the night.
22 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6QH
Every good night ends with a trip to the local takeaway. But in Chinatown, forget kebabs: it’s all about midnight dumplings. True to its name, Dumplings’ Legend is the only place for a late-night dumpling fix. Open till 2:30am on a weekend, the team offers an extensive menu of steamed delights, including ‘Xiao Long Bao’, its signature dumpling dish. They’re delicious.
15-16 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, W1D 6JE
Monga Fried Chicken
One of the area’s newest arrivals is popular Taiwanese chain Monga Fried Chicken. Following recent openings in America and Canada, London is the group’s first European destination. Expect five flavour options (including seaweed) spanning everything from wings to nuggets, alongside a selection of Taiwanese beer. We also hear there’s a bao butty on the menu – perfect for late-night snacking.
12 Macclesfield Street, Chinatown, W1D 58P
The final pit stop for hungry night owls in Chinatown has to be late-night favourite Hung’s. Open until 4am every day, revellers can get stuck into anything from a bowl of beef brisket noodles to a selection of Cantonese BBQ meat – the mixed platter comes highly recommended for indecisive diners or if you’re feeling peckish after all that karaoke.
27 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6PR