Exquisite Taiwanese cuisine
|Char shui Iberico pork|
Xu is from the trio behind the successful casual dining joint Bao, Wai Ting Chung , Shing Tat Chung, and Erchen Chang. They started off as a street food vendor before setting up their first restaurant in Soho, and Xu is their latest offering, specialising Taiwanese cuisine with a slightly more upmarket approach. Xu is located right on the edge of ChinaTown, it has a retro feel with a mini cocktail bar and a tea bar. The menu is fairly long, with some Chinese and Taiwanese classic dishes, along with some innovative dishes, such as XO Carabinero prawn and shortrib & bone marrow pancakes. Xu also has an excellent set lunch menu which you can have 2 courses with rice for under £20.
I was in love with the girolle vermicelli with pickled black fungus as a starter, it had such a powerful earthy aroma and some unusual silky texture, almost like if you are eating a plate of truffles! Marinated chicken with ginger and spring onion, it was a classic dish done at its the highest order, it was blessed with some bold and rich tastes with a hint of spices, it was easily the best Chinese chicken dish I have ever encountered in the UK. Iberico pork collar marinated in char siu sauce was the kind of char siu pork I have been searching for, cooked medium and had a wonderful sweet and tender texture. However I wasn't sure about the braised cucumber as it didn't add much to the dish for me.
|Shou pa chicken|
Overall, Xu turned out to be something pretty special, I did fear it would be just your standard Taiwanese cooking and dressed up in a more western friendly format, but that is not the case at all. You can tell the restaurant has done a fine job in sourcing some top notch ingredients, and all the dished packed with some explosive and powerful taste, yet are perfectly balance at the same time. It is not a cheap restaurant however, and the size of the dishes are mostly tapas portion with only a few exception. Having said that, the quality of the cooking is fabulous, and the service is a total contrast compared to the ones you would experience in ChinaTown, but in a good way, of course.
What I paid:
£31 per head
Average cost without drinks and services:
£19.5 set lunch menu
£35 set dinner menu
30 Rupert St, Soho, London W1D 6DL