Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Welcome Feast from the East; Restaurant of the Week

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Welcome Feast from the East; Restaurant of the Week

Article excerpt

Byline: Fay Maschler


37 Monck Street SW1(020 7222 2281). Open daily noon-3pm & 5.30-11pm. A meal for two with wine, about [pounds sterling]74 including 12.5 per cent service.

HAVE you noticed how seldom a new Chinese restaurant opens these days? It is doubtless the case that second or third generation young Chinese have more sense than to go into the business and instead become hedge-fund managers or dentists. The hours are better.

On top of that, if budding Chinese catering entrepreneurs do exist, they are held back from bringing in skilled chefs from their homeland by everstricter immigration laws. Now it is demanded of incoming chefs that they have an existing command of English language up to GCSE grade C. It is more than we ask of our own.

Chinese restaurants are popular -- the desire to have a Chinese meal grips me at least once a week -- and perhaps that explains why the owners of the Japanese restaurant Atami in Westminster have recently relaunched it as Made in China. A restaurant of that name used to exist in Fulham Road but closed a few years ago.

Maybe the chefs hadn't been able successfully to parse an extract from Pride and Prejudice.

My husband Reg Gadney, keener even than I am on Chinese food, says that he loves parts of London that are bustling during the day but deserted at night. If you read his novels you will understand why. The corner of Great Peter Street and Monck Street adjacent to the hideous Home Office and opposite what looks like a church mission fulfils the brief admirably. Light shining from the glazed walls of Made in China makes the restaurant glow in the darkened, silent streets like an Edward Hopper painting.

Inside you might say economies have been made with the revamp or you could observe that almost nothing at all has been done to alter the only mildly attractive minimalist decor. Perched on what was the sushi bar there is now a glass box that looks like an aquarium for vegetables. Closer inspection reveals fresh fish reclining at the base.

Following a trend led most notably by Yauatcha in Soho, dim-sum are served in the evenings as well as daytime. I'm guessing, but based on the assorted steamed dumplings ([pounds sterling]9 for eight pieces) I'd say they employ an in-house dim-sum chef. Or maybe they just know the right place to buy. The wrappings of har gau, chicken sui mai, scallop and prawn, and pork and chive dumplings were finely drawn and delicate, and the fillings bouncy. …

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