Tuesday, 10 July 2018


Upmarket Taiwanese cuisine in London 

Black Mountain Goose

Xu, a Taiwanese restaurant on Rupert Street in Soho is slowly gaining a reputation and some would consider it is the best Taiwanese restaurant in London. It has recently just picked up the Menu of the Year Award by Cateys 2018, a well-respected trade award by the leading trade media title, The Caterer. From the same people behind the highly popular Taiwanese restaurant Bao. Xu is more upmarket with a bigger menu, and plenty of dishes that would not find elsewhere, as well as classic Chinese and Taiwanese dishes. This is my second visit at Xu, and in typical Asian dining fashion, we order a few selections of a la carte dishes and shared with the whole table.

XO Bone Marrow Cornish King Scallop
Tomato & Smoked Eel
Ginger Dressed Dayboat Raw halibut
Slow poached goose leg in goose broth

First thing first, I went back for the Iberico Pork Collar marinated in Char Siu, Xu's signature dish and it was easily the best dish on the day. The sweet and savory balance was perfect, the meat was so moist and tender, it was sensational. The grilled seabass fillet marinated in fermented beancurd was visually appealing, with two typed of pickled Chilli on top of the fish, I really enjoyed the fish-bone sauce, which offered great richness and depth to the dish, so much so I didn't think the chill was needed at all. The major let down was the Black Mountain goose dish, which also happened to be the most expensive dish on the entire menu. It was served in two ways, the first was a puzzling broth, the goose leg inside was so dry and tasteless. The second serving was a lot better, sliced goose breast served with ginger and soy. It reminded me of the classic Cantonese marinade "Lou mei", it was very enjoyable but the portion was tiny.

Lardo Lard Onion Rice
Grilled Seabass Fillet marinated in Fermented Beancurd,
Two Colour Pickled Chilli, Bone Sauce & Grilled Bone Vinegar
Iberico Pork Collar marinated in Char Siu with Braised Cucumber & Sesame

I found my first visit to Xu was better than this time around, which was unexpected as I opted for the more expensive dishes, maybe the chefs had a bad day? Put that aside, the classic dishes such as the char siu pork and tomato & smoked eel was still as solid as ever, as was the service. Is the food authentic? Not really, without questioned it was Chinese/ Taiwanese in essence, but there is a lot of western cuisine influence to make it more appeal to the British audiences. I personally don't have a problem with that, as long as the taste is good, but if you are looking for the real Taiwanese food experience, you are better off booking a flight to Taiwan.

Food 3/5

What I paid: 

£50 per person

Average cost without drinks and services:

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL


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