London - Guizhou lunch at Maotai Kitchen, Chinatown
Maotai Kitchen is the latest incarnation at the spot previously occupied by Manchurian Legend/River Melody/Leong's Legend Inn. Anyway, they are all owned by the same folks.
Lunched there today with fellow Chowhound Limster. True to its name, Maotai Kitchen serves Guizhou cuisine (貴州菜), and a surprisingly tasty rendition at that. We had:
- Steamed glutinous rice and peanuts, topped with marinated pork belly slices. The sticky rice was very flavoursome, having absorbed the pork fat and marinade from the pork. The menu described the dish as having red dates as well, although it was not evident - perhaps present in the marinade sauce. Very tasty dish.
- Guizhou noodle soup with crispy pork: handmade, flat noodles were used here, served in a spicy-sour broth, and topped with pork crackling and golden, crisp-fried soybeans, green bokchoy and chopped scallions. The spicy soup has the same numbing effect as Sichuanese/Hunanese dishes.
- Braised tofu cubes with salted duck's eggyolk sauce, green soybeans and shrimps, topped with chopped scallions. Absolutely bursting with flavours.
I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed today's meal - one of the best I'd had in Chinatown in a long time.
12 Macclesfield Street
London W1D 5BP
Tel: +44 2074 378785
Lovely to have Kyleoh's reviews - always livens up the UK board (missing Limsters!)
Went here in the week and had the noodles and rice as above. The noodles were great - delicious tiny chunks of crispy pork in an amazing just the right side of numbing broth. It's quickly become one of my favourite noodle dishes in London. I wasn't quite as enamoured with the rice finding the textures a bit same same and bland (probably just a personal thing). We also had the beef with chillies which was a generous serving with almost grilled pimento style peppers with a perfect level of heat.
The menu was full of exciting looking non standard Chinatown things and I look forward to going back...
We had a fine dinner at Maotai Kitchen, that reminded my brother of China. We started with the pickled Chinese cabbage, which was popular with all. The 'Earth's Three Fresh', which was an aubergine dish, was well crafted; you could taste both the beer and the Sichuan peppercorns in the Chicken In Beer. The lamb offal with noodles, which was really tripe, had good flavour, though we had expected more variety. Vinegar flavoured prawns were tender and mild; and spicy boneless pork with chilli and coconut was crispy and enjoyable, with lots of chillies.
The one disappointment was when we ordered the hand pulled noodles, and our waitress told us that they were no longer available at all. Instead she offered us a seafood stirfry, which Chinese dish you can offer your grandmother, if you bring her.
We left with a good buzz and fairly full wallets. Do note that the Red Star Wine isn't-- it is a Chinese fiery spirit.
re: J Sheridan
No more hand-pulled noodles?! Did they lose that chap who was making it in full-view at the shop-front glass window, I wonder.
I liked the food at Maotai Kitchen - it was, as I'd asserted in my original post, surprisingly tasty. I'd spoken to one of my Singaporean uncles who visited Guizhou for a golfing holiday with his buddies just three months ago - his first ever visit to that city - on how he found the food there. He said, "Awful!!! Guizhou cuisine is the worst I'd ever had anywhere in China!". Quite a revelation coming from someone who visits China on business and pleasure several times a year over the past few decades.
I told him that Guizhou food in London, perhaps tweaked to become more similar to Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisines which Londoners are more familiar with, probably tastes better than the real deal in China.
Anyway, there's an ancient saying in China that one should aspire "To be born in Suzhou, to live in Hangzhou, and to die in Guizhou". Much later on, someone was to add, "to eat in Guangzhou".
The reason being, in Chinese history: Suzhou had the most beautiful women, Hangzhou the most pleasant environment, Guangzhou the best cuisine, and Guizhou the best quality wood to make coffins! :-D
I just had a Guizhou meal in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and *nothing* on the menu looked like what we had at Maotai Kitchen! Instead, the dishes in KL's rendition of Guizhou cuisine is numbingly hot, with pickled cabbage being an important flavouring agent:
Never having been to Guizhou in China itself, I'm not sure how authentic was the food here in KL (metropolitan KL has a population of 7 million, half of whom are Chinese but mainly of Cantonese stock).
Just wanted to send you a big thank you, I've been following your posts since I saw you discount Nobu as a credible Japanese restaurant...being half Japanese and growing up in Japan, that just feels good.
I'm planning to visit london for business, and my best friend/best partner is actually from Guizhou (Bijie, a small city near the capital). I was so excited to see that there was a restaurant from her home province, so I booked for this week - will let you know what she thinks.
Merci mille fois!!