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Any good resturants in Londons China Town?

i
indiej Feb 20, 2010 11:59 AM

Hello all,

So far each venture into China Town has been with the forlorn hope that I might actually stumble across a nice restaurant. Alas, to date, the only one I approximated a liking to was later closed down on grounds of Health and Safety - I always thought their food had a little something extra.

Therefore, I would be extremely grateful if anybody can recommend a restaurant in China Town that serves good, safe food. I am particularly a fan of seafood and alas do not have bags of money to spend thus ideally the recommended resturants will meet as much of the following criteria as possible.

1. Serves excellent Seafood - particularly Prawn dishes and / or Sea bass
2. Is cheap / affordable
3. Offers a lunch time buffet

Thanks in advance,

J

  1. ecuhct Mar 7, 2010 02:26 PM

    Hi,

    I would not recommend buffets in china town, i lived nearby for a year and tried nearly every place. I must say that one of the best is the 4 seasons for duck (however the service is terribly rude) and often you get less than you expected (more bone and fat than duck) but sometimes the food tastes awesome!

    1. Dave MP Feb 27, 2010 05:07 AM

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/653693

      This is my report on Jade Garden from last fall. I thought the fish here was very good.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/677915

      This is a report on Empress of Sichuan - probably not great for seafood, but the fish (probably a freshwater fish) at the neighboring table looked really good.

      Like PhilD says, you aren't likely to find any restaurants in Chinatown that meet all 3 of your criteria, mainly because they all kind of contradict each other! In London, good seafood isn't cheap - especially in Chinatown. Seafood (and many Chinese dishes in general) don't really do well on buffets (as PhilD explains). There are plenty of places that have cheap lunchtime buffets, but I haven't heard of any that are good :

      )

      You said that you have had good buffets before - but were they Chinese restaurants? I have had excellent Indian, Middle Eastern, Malaysian, and Brazilian buffets in my life though, so of course it's true that *some* buffets are great.

      Hope this helps!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dave MP
        i
        indiej Feb 28, 2010 06:25 AM

        Thanks for your tips. I do understand where you are coming from, from my experiences when a restaurant tries to deliver too much (esp. where cheap prices are concerned) a potentially delicious meal is often compromised.

        Although, I have had good Chinese buffet food, (admittedly nothing involving fish, but they did have prawns.) However, that was out of London and the turn around rate was quite good as the dishes were frequently topped. However, I understand that China town is a different kettle of fish (interestingly enough, I've only had 1 buffet there - too much MSG and salt)

        Nonetheless, the recommendations are appreciated, thanks again - I will pay a visit to them in the oncoming weeks.

        1. re: indiej
          h
          Harters Feb 28, 2010 09:47 AM

          Seeing as I live away from London and do travel round the country, I'd appreciate the name and location of the decent buffet place. TIA

      2. klyeoh Feb 21, 2010 11:24 PM

        My fave 2 restaurants in Chinatown for the past 2 decades are Fung Shing http://www.fungshing.co.uk/ and New Mayflower http://www.timeout.com/london/restaur...

        1. zuriga1 Feb 21, 2010 12:59 PM

          I've always enjoyed meals at Haozhan. They have a special lunch menu which offers 2 courses, but I don't remember the exact prices. It's a good, varied menu and I think it's one of the better places in Chinatown. You can find out more on the website, and I notice they now do 'oriental tapas,' so a few of those could be an economical lunch.

          http://www.haozhan.co.uk/lunch.php

          1. h
            Harters Feb 21, 2010 10:11 AM

            I don't live in the south so can't offer any recommendations - but is it not a contradiction in Chinese restaurant terms to ask for somewhere that does "good" food and also has a buffet?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harters
              i
              indiej Feb 25, 2010 04:24 PM

              Not so, it is normally hard to find good food when poor ingredients or technique are used. The method of delivery does not determine the quality.

              Many of my favourite meals have been had in cheaper places, including buffets, where care and attention were provided. Similarly, many of my worst culinary experiences have come about in expensive restaurants (usually going on reputation based on awards or celebrity chefs.)

              Moral of the post: Don't judge a book by its cover

              Thank you to all that have responded with suggestions, I shall definitely check these places out when I'm next in ChinaTown - probably next week. Any more suggestions are still very much welcome.

              1. re: indiej
                PhilD Feb 25, 2010 05:39 PM

                I have got to disagree with that.

                The nature of any buffet means food is sitting around after it has been cooked. This may be OK for cold food, or dishes that benefit from slow cooking. But lots of Chinese food needs to be freshly cooked to be good, dim sum to wok fried dishes. Wok hay is important and that will dissipate if the food is not fresh from the stove. The best Asian restaurants I visit tend to have chefs/woks/steamers on display with food prepped and served very quickly.

                "Don't judge a book by it's cover" is true for some things but IMO there are lots of restaurant signals that you ignore at your peril, one of those is a buffet, another is a celeb chef. I suspect you haven't been successful at he upper end which skews your view try going by this board rather than celebrity and awards.

                Limster, DaveMP and Skut are very reliable on the board for Chinese food and they cover Chinatown....but I don't remember them raving about buffets. Check out the recent thread on Golden Day in Chinatown

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