Wednesday 26 February 2020

Hakkasan Hanway Place

New chef, new chapter

Smoked beef ribs with jasmine tea

Hakkasan, the very first Chinese restaurant in London to reach Michelin star status is still going strong after more than a decade. The edgy interior combining with classy Cantonese cooking has created a strong following, and now it has expanded into a mini restaurant empire with sites in the US, Far East, and the Middle East. A big change happened last year with Hakkasan, with the group executive chef Tong left the business and replaced with chef Yeo, who came from Malaysia with a background in hotel fine dining. I headed back to Hakkasan Hanway Place to see if much has changed on the food.

Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine London

Classic Cantonese, posh style

Seafood soup dumpling

There are only a few fine-dining Chinese restaurants in London, and Imperial Treasure is perhaps one of the most premium ones while really sticking to its gun, offering traditional food without much western fusion element. I have eaten at Imperial Treasure two times in the past, both enjoyable but found it a little bit too expensive. At lunch hours, Imperial Treasure has a dim sum menu and a set lunch menu so is more affordable. You can see all the classic Cantonese dum sum such as prawn dumpling and pork bun. What caught my eye is the chef specials from the a la carte menu, so I decided to opt for a few of those, with some dim sum in the mix.

Red Farm

Hyped to the max


Red Farm is a Chinese restaurant like no others. It is a brand that came from America, the original Red Farm in New York is a smart hit with the locals. it does creative dim sum, along with a range of Southeast Asian inspired main dishes. It created plenty of noise when it landed in London and it was one of those places I always wanted to check it out. The London outpost is located in the tourist-friendly zone in the name of Covent Garden. The menu has plenty of takeaway classics such as chili beef and sweet & sour, as well as some unusual dishes like the signature Red Farm dish: The Pacman dumpling. Most dishes costs around the £20 mark which means a meal at Red Farm is a pricy affair.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Bridges Amsterdam

Seafood hotel fine dining in Amsterdam

Trout, Pumpkin, Buttermilk, Dill, Pear

There are more than 20 Michelin starred restaurants in Amsterdam, so it is not easy to pick a place when you are not familiar with the city. However, as I am a seafood addict, and the city is pretty much surrounded by water, Bridges stood out to me as it is not too far from my hotel, and has a big focus on seafood. It is located inside a grand hotel and oversees by Ron Blaauw, the famous Duch chef that also runs the Ron Gastropub empire. The Bridges is a proper posh hotel restaurant, it has a modern, stylish decor, with eye-catching bar space and large windows overlooking the canal. It has a 7-course tasting menu on offer, besides the standard alc format where fish play center stage.

The Seafood Bar Amsterdam

Slick seafood chain business in Amsterdam

Fruits de Mer

The seafood is a mini seafood upmarket restaurant chain in Amsterdam, it has 4 restaurants across the city, as well as a seafood market shop. As you can suspect, it is all about fresh seafood, and the collection is pretty impressive. I went to the Spui branch, which is the biggest one out of the 4, located in central Amsterdam. It has an open kitchen, as well as a raw bar for all the cold seafood dishes. The menu is big and beside the usual seafood items such as tiger prawns, lobsters and oysters, there are also some other less mainstream items such as snow crab. You can have most of the seafood items either served cold in a classic way or grilled.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Le Gavroche

Good to be back

Artichoke filled with foie gras, truffles and chicken moose

Last time I dined at Le Gavroche, it was back in 2015. Out of the Michelin starred restaurants in London, I would say Le Gavroche is the only one that still has the proper old school French charm factor in its setting and cooking. Most high-profile restaurant these days are focusing on cutting edge cooking techniques and creative elements, but Le Gavroche kept its traditional French root, and produce some of the best tasting French food in London. After 5 years, a return was well overdue and I was very excited to be back. From the look of its tasting menu, not a great deal has changed, so I opted for the ALC menu instead.

Sunday 2 February 2020

Mandarin Kitchen

Old school Chinese seafood joint

Steamed brown crab with rice wine and egg white

Located just outside of Queensway tube station, Mandarin Kitchen is perhaps one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in the area. This classic Cantonese cuisine based restaurant is all about seafood, and it's signature lobster noodles dish has somewhat become such an iconic dish that you would see most tables order it. You would also find many classic Chinese seafood dishes on the menu, such as eel cooked in black bean sauce and steam whole fish. This is a really popular restaurant, so be sure to book ahead.

Saturday 1 February 2020

Park Chinois

New year special

Wagyu Beef Gyoza

Park Chinois has to be the poshest and most glamour Chinese restaurant in London. The fine-dining restaurant and club in Mayfair offer upmarket Cantonese based cooking, with some regional Chinese cuisine types mixing in. Park Chinois uses some of the best ingredients from around the world, ranging from wagyu beef from Japan to wild seabass from Chile. Headed up by chef Liang Koo Cheun, the cooking can also be pretty creative with a contemporary take on Chinese classics. For Chinese New Year, Park Chinois created a special menu that contains dishes that you would rarely find in the UK, but are considered iconic new year celebration dishes back in China.

XU Teahouse & Restaurant

Taiwanese fusion in Soho

Crab in Chilli Egg Drop Sauce served with Fried Mantou

I have been to Xu two times in the past back when it was first opened in 2017. Since then, many things have changed. It now has an afternoon tea menu, as well as a much reduced a la carte menu. The iconic dish, such as the Iberico pork char siu is still on the menu, but there are many unusual dishes popping up in its latest menu, things that you might not class it as authentic Chinese or Taiwanese food. Instead, it has a fusion feel about it. To celebrate Chinese New Year 2020, I got myself a table for lunch, and ordered some of the new dishes, as well as revisiting some classics.

Gold Mine

Classic Cantonese cuisine in Bayswater

BBQ roasted duck

Bayswater is pretty much the unofficial second China Town in London. There are a few numbers of traditional Cantonese restaurants, as well as a Chinese supermarket. The flagship of Royal China Group's restaurant is also there. The location also boasts the famous roasted meat specialist Four Season, as well as the classic seafood restaurant, The Mandarin Kitchen. On the same street, Gold Mine is considered to be the most authentic and down to earth Cantonese restaurant. There is only one way to find out, and that is paying it a visit. Gold Mine is so old school that it doesn't even have a website and booking is by phone only.

My Old Place

Szechuan cuisine canteen in East London

Chilli Oil With Pig’s Ears

Nothing beats a cheap eat Chinese that can deliver bold and flavorsome taste. However, cheap eat is not easy to spot in The City, especially for Chinese food. The only place I can think of is My Old Place in the area, just off Liverpool Street. My Old Place is all about the classics, but not the usual Cantonese affair. Instead, the restaurant has become very popular for the local workers, known for its big flavour Szechuan style Chinese cuisine. The place is not fancy at all, and don't expect any presentation, just good old fashioned, Szechuan food. I have been there twice before, for my third time, I went for some of the more exotic dishes.


Lobster brunch

Steam lobster with king soy

When Kym's was first opened in 2018, I was one of the first to rushed to try it out. The second restaurant from Andrew Wong created such a buzz and Andrew was the poster boy whenever any media would write about anything to do with Chinese food. I got to say I was not impressed with Kym's food when I tasted at its soft launch period. It was just standard Chinese food with a more refined presentation in a posh-looking restaurant. What got me to head back? It has launched a brand new lobster brunch menu with unlimited wine, I am a mega-fan of lobster and to celebrate Chinese New Year in style, you can't go wrong with lobster brunch.