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Apr 14, 2012 01:57 AM

Best Chinese restaurant in London?

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!

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  1. 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: allisonli

        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.

    1. 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. 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

          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Haozhan too, but haven't recommended it only because it's been a long while since I've eaten there, and so my info is out of date.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:, which makes me wonder if their non-dim sum options are also of similar quality.

          1. re: limster

            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

              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

                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

              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. 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

              What I had was pretty good even if not the best of its kind:

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

            2. 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

                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

                  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

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

                    1. re: brokentelephone

                      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

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