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Best Chinese restaurant in London?

allisonli Apr 14, 2012 01:57 AM

Hello, I am looking for a Chinese restaurant in central London to have a small dinner party. Any thoughts on the restaurant with the best Chinese food would be much appreciated!

  1. howler Apr 14, 2012 02:06 AM

    we're highly sophisticated these days: for example, would you prefer sichuanese, hunanese, or cantonese?

    in any case, you'll be spoiled for choice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: howler
      allisonli Apr 14, 2012 04:07 AM

      shanghainese or cantonese!

      1. re: allisonli
        limster Apr 14, 2012 05:29 AM

        Great Shanghainese is bit hard to find in London. M&Z does competent stuff but falls into the good not great category.

        There's plenty of Cantonese. One of my recent favourites is Tuli on Tooley Street near London Bridge. The cooking is very elegant and there's some real care and skill behind the food, even though it's not particularly showy. Ask for the Chinese menu (pictures are pretty good guide even if you can't read Chinese), or get the waitstaff to recommend and translate.

    2. h
      Harters Apr 14, 2012 05:39 AM

      And, sooner or later, someone will ask you to define "best", so we might as well get it out of the way know. LOL. Best as in "traditional/authentic"? Best as in "cutting edge modern Chinese"? Best as in "posh venue"?

      But, I'm afraid, I have no recommendations to make. I live near Manchester, which has the third largest "Chinatown" in Europe. Inevitably, our restaurants are mainly Cantonese, so I'm am never usually looking to eat that food when I visit London. I do have a fancy for trying one of the capital's "posh venue" places at some point - somewhere like "China Tang at the Dorchester".

      1. zuriga1 Apr 14, 2012 09:14 AM

        One of my favorites is Haozhan in Chinatown. I've never had a bad meal there and all guests I've taken for a meal there were very happy. Limster's tip sounds good, too!

        5 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1
          limster Apr 14, 2012 10:01 AM

          I like Haozhan too, but haven't recommended it only because it's been a long while since I've eaten there, and so my info is out of date. Haozhan's cooking leans towards modernised Cantonese, a la Hakksan (where apparently the chef used to cook) backed up by very good underlying technique.

          Ate at Princess Garden in Mayfair sometime last year, and it was unimpeachable; the dishes we had were more classical and homestyle. I do think that Tuli is somewhat better.

          Been curious about the places around the docklands actually. Yi-ban had very good dim sum when I ate there a couple years ago (plus sichuanjunkie has a more recent praise for Yi-Ban: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8385...), which makes me wonder if their non-dim sum options are also of similar quality.

          1. re: limster
            allisonli Apr 15, 2012 12:14 AM

            Thanks everyone for the advice! Has anyone else tried Princess Garden in Mayfair? How would you rate the food in terms of authenticity? How was the service? Xie xie! :)

            1. re: allisonli
              limster Apr 15, 2012 12:42 PM

              I thought the dishes we had at Princess Garden (and some of the other places mentioned above) were pretty authentic, in the sense that you get what you ordered, rather than something that's not recognisable as the dish in question. Stylistically the cooking was similar to Cantonese places I've grown up with. Service at Princess Garden was polite and efficient. Similar case for Tuli, although I found the food at Tuli superior to the one meal I had at Princess Garden.

              1. re: limster
                ambra Apr 15, 2012 01:25 PM

                I thought Princess Garden was very good. I went back more than once and found it pretty consistent.

                I think my hands down favorite is the very pricey, Yauatcha though. VERY pricey. almost offensive pricing.

                But wonderful food.

            2. re: limster
              zuriga1 Apr 15, 2012 11:06 PM

              I was last at Haozhan a few months ago... seemed as good as the time before. It's not a very elegant place, but I like the food. I'm going to try to get to Tuli and Princess Garden one of these days. Thanks for talking about them.

          2. b
            brokentelephone Apr 16, 2012 02:13 PM

            This is a total boner move, but I had some great mainlander food at a place in Marylebone. I don't recall the name, but everyone that worked there was from Shanghai and/or areas around Sichuan.

            Ok after some googling I think its called Red Sun on 2 New Quebec Street.

            It was seriously excellent -- def one of the finest Chinese I'd had in London (and I've been to tonnes of them at all levels).

            1 Reply
            1. re: brokentelephone
              limster Apr 16, 2012 02:24 PM

              What I had was pretty good even if not the best of its kind: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/656986

              Apparently they do banquets as well, but advance ordering required.

            2. l
              lacemaker Apr 17, 2012 03:00 AM

              Hunan, in Pimlico, is pretty good for an upscale banquet menu - you specify likes and dislikes and they bring out dishes until they stop.

              Not terribly Hunanese, and it can be difficult to convince them to serve you anything challenging if you're white, and obviously much pricier than many of the options here.

              Silk Road for Uighur food, which is a big favourite here, Gormet San in Bethnal Green is pretty good, and I quite like Empress of Szechuan in chinatown for slightly pricey szechuan.

              5 Replies
              1. re: lacemaker
                brokentelephone Apr 17, 2012 06:01 PM

                Oh yah, Hunan -- that place is so fun. Apparently its called Hunan b/c the chef's teacher was from Hunan, not because the food is Hunanese.

                1. re: brokentelephone
                  howler Apr 18, 2012 03:41 AM

                  if you like that, try taiwan village - the chef is ex-hunan and does the same deal, with the proviso that you have to specially ask (i don't think even saw that as an option on the menu last time i was there)

                  1. re: howler
                    brokentelephone Apr 18, 2012 09:56 AM

                    Thanks -- I've been meaning to try Taiwan Village anyhow and didn't know they did that.

                    1. re: brokentelephone
                      hyperion Apr 21, 2012 10:36 AM

                      It's on the menu now and they're very flexible. I tend to ask for anything specific I want alongside the chef's dishes and they're very accommodating (usually less fried food, some fish in the mains)

                      If you're west London Chinese goer, No 10 in Earls Court have added a new page to their menu in the last couple of months - some great stewed vemicelli dishes and some interesting stuff (chicken with whole savoury garlic)

                  2. re: brokentelephone
                    limster Apr 18, 2012 10:30 AM

                    They did mention that they make Hunan-style la4 rou4/waxed aka cured meats in house when i asked.

                2. s
                  Scythe Apr 17, 2012 05:43 AM

                  I suppose Yauatcha comes in as the best, but it's horrendously expensive. Haozhan was very good when I went some time back, but it's not cheap either. Hakkasan if you're feeling rich and want to see/be seen.
                  I'm a big fan of Imperial China, good food, good prices, and if you book a room towards the back, you can have it to yourselves for that Chinatown private dining experience :)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Scythe
                    wongkei May 9, 2012 01:32 AM


                    Groupon deal for Haozhan today. It seems to be rated quite highly here on this board so this should make it more tempting?

                    1. re: wongkei
                      zuriga1 May 9, 2012 05:02 AM

                      I saw that offer this morning. I'd say it's a very good deal with lots of menu choices, although quite a few favorites don't appear on the what's available list.

                      1. re: wongkei
                        brokentelephone May 9, 2012 07:31 AM

                        I've had a few bad experiences using Groupon for restaurants! The businesses are obviously hurting hence they're making the offer, but then treat you like a second class citizen when you produce a voucher.

                        Cous Cous Darna in South Kensington was comically rude to groupon customers, and quite overt about it. I get it's really stressful when a restaurant is struggling, but groupon should be used as a vehicle to prop up the restaurant, not ruin it further.

                        1. re: brokentelephone
                          lacemaker May 9, 2012 07:38 AM

                          I tend to agree. It can be hard to secure a booking once the groupon has launched, and you have a fixed time limit in which to use it. I find that a lot of Groupon places offer a roughly comparable deal through toptable/tastecard, etc.

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