Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Waking the Sleeping Tiger

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Waking the Sleeping Tiger

Article excerpt

NOT SO long ago, eating in a Chinese restaurant meant choosing from ashort menu of familiar dishessweet and sour pork balls, egg fried rice and crispy duck with pancakes. But inresponse to demands from a dining public that knows its Sichuan from itsHunanese, Londons restaurants now style them-selves according to the regionaland cul-tural origins of their cuisine.

Gone too is the idea that Chinese din-ing means cheap and fillingLon-dons Chinese restaurants rank among some of the smartest and priciest intown.

At the Taste of London festival (Regents Park, 19-22 June) the China Nowexhibition justifiably has its own section where four famous Chineserestaurants will be showcasing their dishesSnazz Sichuan, China Tang, Kai Mayfair and South Beauty.

The latter is based in Beijing and the chefs have been flown into Londonspe-cially for the event. All will be serving up food that is sophisticated,delicious and a million miles from the tired spring rolls of yesteryear.

And if you prefer unpretentious Chi-nese street food, there is a wide varietyof good-value restaurants making their mark in London.

HOT FOOD FROM SICHUAN

Snazz Sichuan 37 Chalton Street, NW1 (020 7388 0808) With a menu littered withdeadly-hot dishes from Sichuan and Chong Quin. Try the strange flavour rabbitstrange but delicious.

Bar Shu 28 Frith Street, W1 (020 7287 8822) Ornate yet comfortable restaurant.Try the fire-exploded kidney flowers, the bean curd and the dry-fried greenbeans.

Elwes Danny Pictures: Red N Hot 59 Charing Cross Road, WC2 (020 7734 8796) Thehouse speciality is the Red N Hot special fish served in a bowl of boiling oil.Part the 2cm floating carpet of red chillies and youll find dollops ofperfectly cooked white fish.

CHIC AND SLICK Hakkasan 8 Hanway Place, W1 (020 7927 7000) The cooking is topnotch, the cocktail bar always heaving and the prices indicate they are notafraid of luxury ingredients.

China Tang The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, W1 (020 7629 9988) David Tangsinterpretation of classy Cantonese dishes the seafood is particularly good.

Kai 65 South Audley Street, W1 (020 7493 8988) Try chef Alex Chows excellenttempura prawns with wasabi mayonnaise or the deep-fried, soft-shell crabs withfried garlic and chilli. …

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