The New Year is already a reality in most parts of the world, but in China celebrations don’t get underway until 28th January. Out goes the cheeky fire monkey and in comes the year of the rooster, a punctual creature commonly considered safe and sensible. Wherever you are in the world, Chinese New Year is a great culinary affair, fuelled by vast platters of dumplings, spring rolls, smoked ribs and steaming hot pots. For guests of the Egerton House Hotel in London, the festivities will be right on the doorstep, with parades, parties and colourful costumes to enjoy. After the festivities, why not celebrate with a fabulous meal at one of the best Chinese restaurants in London? From regional delicacies to innovative new interpretations of traditional dishes, here’s where to sample fantastic modern Chinese cuisine in the capital.
Overlooking London from the 33rd floor of the Shard, Hutong is inspired by its sister restaurant in Hong Kong, which takes its name from the thin, snaking streets of Beijing. Blending Sichuan dishes with Shandong seafood, it has gained a reputation for its intricate Northern Chinese cuisine. Visit Hutong for brightly coloured boxes of delicate dim sum, fiery baskets of Sichuan soft shell crab and light and puffy butterfly buns.
Catapulting Cantonese food from the realm of takeaways into fine dining, modish Hakkasan is a London institution. Hosting vast wishing trees (to which ribboned hopes are pinned), rooster-themed drinks and lion dance troupes to celebrate the Chinese New Year, each offers symbolic expressions of luck, fortune and joy for the future. Ultimately, however, it’s the silky smooth service and stylish black lacquered furnishings that seduce most customers, as well as the buzzing atmosphere and superb cocktail menu.
Leading the charge in modern Chinese cuisine is London’s latest hot pot restaurant, Shuang Shuang. The humble hot pot has been enjoyed for thousands of years in China, but it’s only recently that this dish has gained a loyal following in London. Customers can pick their broth and dipping sauces before choosing from over 40 different ingredients for an individual take on a Chinese classic.
Famously frequented by chefs on their days off, Kai has gained a reputation as one of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Its eternally inventive kitchen – which puts goji berries in miso soup, almond curd on fruits, and lentil sauces on shredded lamb – is always surprising, while a comprehensive wine list sets it apart from other Chinese restaurants in the capital. A serene atmosphere, complete with aquarium, offers the ideal setting in which to enjoy a modern Chinese feast.
Located just off Mozart Square, where Belgravia meets Pimlico, Chef Peng’s menu at Hunan is heavily influenced by Taiwanese fare. It’s very much a set menu affair, with diners simply choosing a price bracket and trusting in the chef’s exquisite taste. From crispy frog legs to fermented bamboo shoots, this one is for the more adventurous eater.
Andrew – the A in A Wong – took over his father’s Chinese restaurant a few years ago and set about showcasing almost all the ingredients and cooking styles of his homeland. The result is spectacular, with tea eggs, candied pork jerky, fried cheeses and truffle dumplings all proving popular. And for traditionalists, it also does a great Peking duck.
After the food and fun of Chinese New Year comes to a finish, where better to retire than the Egerton House Hotel, where guests can enjoy an expertly made martini at the bar.
Hot Pot 1 © Shuang Shaung. One Table Night © Hutong. Entrance © Hakkasan Group. No.4 © Shuang Shuang. Lobster © Kai. 2082 © Hunan. Yunan Beef © A Wong.