The Bamboo Flute, Cleveland St, London
I walked down Cleveland Street on my way to work earlier and noticed that M&Z Cafe has closed, and has been replaced by an interesting-looking restaurant specialising in Beijing cuisine - The Bamboo Flute. I think it has only just opened as I can't find anything online, and they are offering 20% off. It was full of Chinese customers tonight.
The menu looks good - the speciality is a seafood dish served in a bamboo flute.
Will try soon and report back.
Northern Chinese food seems to be supplanting Cantonese cuisine in Chinatown, as new immigrants from China's north-eastern provinces slowly takeover the neighbourhood from the old Toishan-Cantonese populace.
I'm trying to picture that seafood dish in a bamboo flute - must be a *big* flute?
I think this is an initiative from Guo Yue, the musician (flute player) and chef. I did a cookery class with him at Leiths a few years ago and went to one of his dinners which was great - abundant delicious food and good value plus the pop up vibe of shared tables and people with a shared interest as it was all set up via his mailing list. He does food trips to Beijing as well - quite a few of the people I'd met had been on them and had a wonderful time.
Anyway, a recent email from him (which I've deleted so can't check) mentioned setting up a more formal restaurant and I think this might be it. Below is an extract from a menu he mentioned in another recent email - £18 sunday lunch:
PAPER PRAWNS ROLLS
LOTUS ROOTS WITH SILVER WOOD EARS ( WITH A LIGHT SOY SAUCE , HONEY AND RED CHILI )
YUE'S SESAME SEED SALMON ON TOAST
EGGS COOKED IN JASMINE TEA LEVES, WITH HONEY SMOKED PORK
YUE'S CHILDHOOD FAVOURITE BEIJING AUBERGINE
RED STEWED FISH WITH STAR ANNIES AND SICHUAN PEPPER CORNS
CHINESE WILD GARLIC SHOOTS WITH CRISPY EGGS
YUE'S HOME MADE DUMPLINGS
CHINESE TEA AND FRESH FRUITS
re: abby d
It may well be that it requires greater expertise in ordering Chinese food than I possess but I went last night and was disappointed. Paper thin lamb with black pepper was not paper thin and lacked any striking flavours including black pepper, lamb and vegetables in a brown stocky sauce - homely, possibly soothing but not in any way exciting. Bamboo flute four vegetables were again homely with a good infused garlic flavour (rather than brown fried garlic bits) and the pak choy had been replaced with broccoli. Steamed pork and chive buns were tasty but sticky and damp pastry that did not appeal, the flavour lost in the chewiness. There is something that suggests that there is good intention here and I may well have been given an English version but I have no idea what they would authentically be like. Expensive for a disappointing meal.
Thank you very much Tim for pointed out those three things of our dishes. we are creating and improving our food and all the dishes all the time. I am the creative director of the bamboo flute restaurant. My name is Guo Yue please have a look of my book music, food and love. I am sorry that you had a disappoint meal at our restaurant. Courtesy of our restaurant we would like to invite you back and taste those dishes and some of my new dishes. Here is my email address email@example.com
i am very much looking forward to hear from you and to have a great meal at the bamboo flute restaurant.
I returned last night at Guo Yue’s invitation and ate far, far too much there with a friend.
Guo Yue was charming, friendly and exhibited an excitement for and love of food (and music), as we discussed the menu, that I found promising. We left all the choices to him.
Small nibbles: fried peanuts, seaweed with chilli and vinegar and cucumber, much the same. A good start.
The mixed hors d’oeuvre was excellent a good variety of flavours and textures, hot and cold – excellent prawn balls, star anise beef slices, mushroom, noodles with green bean, asparagus.
Amazing prawn and chive dumplings – wonderful chive flavour and as good as Mama Lan, Brixton. (Thank you kawainekko.)
Pork fried with garlic shoot. – gentle but persistent warming flavours, a first for me.
Beef hotpot with beer – tasted very home-style – delicious.
Aubergine Box - slow fried, glossy and stuffed with pork - the house speciality and a flavour explosion. (Top of my list when I return)
Rice with duck, served in a bamboo pot – rice and duck nicely married, another first.
And finally, a sea bass cut and fried to resemble a bird (flying to heaven?) – great to look at, tasty, spicy but most of all, way, way too much.
Authenticity I cannot vouch for, I do not have a deep understanding of Chinese food but I do enjoy the favoured places, e.g. Maotai Inn, Golden Day (also, FWIW Joy King Lau for lobster or seafood noodles) and have travelled in Hong Kong and China where I ate way off-piste with a Chinese friend.
I thought I had established that we would pay in full for everything that we ate and drank but after a few beers and a convivial evening with Guo Yue, I did not get my way! Notionally, I paid for half of it but I fear it was a very small half .
So, quite a difference from my first visit. Both my friend and I rated Bamboo Flute and we would happily recommend and return. I hope the food is just as good when I do.
I will be interested to hear any expert feedback.