Oriental cuisine, with Chinese cuisine leading the way has been a part of the London and British food scene for over a century now, but only in the last two decades, has Chinese cuisine joined the more sophisticated league of restaurants on the London Scene.
Chinese cuisine transitioned from its perception as merely Britain’s best take out and buffet restaurants. Rising to a more revered position as a cuisine, best served and experienced, in luxurious settings with elegant ambience.
This transition owes largely, to a rise in quality as well as an expansion in the offerings of Chinese dishes, with some restaurants sharing more elegant sides of Oriental dining. This change and effort to lift Chinese Cuisine in London to fine dining status was legitimized by the acquisition of a Michelin star by Hakkasan Hanway , the first Chinese and Oriental restaurant in London to be awarded a Michelin star.
Now we take you on a journey to our list of the finest and most luxurious Chinese restaurants to dine at.
1) Hakassan Hanway Place; In first place on our list, is Hakassan Hanway . Hakassan Hanway is one of only 3 Chinese restaurants in England with a Michelin star. The first restaurant from the now international chain, located in Hanway place was founded by Wagamama chain creator Alan Yau. It was Alan Yau’s first venture into luxury oriental restaurant s and it was a step he intended to take in style. The interior of the restaurant was designed by luxury interior designer Christian Liagire. Christian infused elements of traditional Chinese décor such as the Chinese lanterns and Chinese screen dividers with a sophisticated and dark contemporary aesthetic to create the perfect ambience for a contemporary luxury Chinese restaurant. The eclectic and carefully curated Cantonese menu crafted by Chef Tong Chee Hwee boasts among many things its much revered duck, one of the finest Sunday dim sum menu’s, an extensive and impressive wine list and even an amazing vegetarian chicken dish. Hakkassan with its high end pricing lives up to its reputation as a Michelin star restaurant.
2) HUTONG: Coming in at no 2 on our list, is a gorgeous and beautifully lit restaurant located on the 33rd floor of Europe’s tallest building, the Shard. Hutong with its exquisite paranomic view, beautiful dark bamboo furnishing and its lush silk curtains presents an ambience fitting of a luxury restaurant. Its Northern Chinese cuisine boasts good customer favorites, like the Crispy lamb with pancakes, perking duck, as well as an equally acclaimed Dim sum menu. In addition to these customer favorites, dishes like Hutong’s delightful seabass, sizzling prawns and its one of kind, modern oriental inspired cocktails provide a unique dining experience. Not to mention, the much raved about and glossy shanghai bar is as compelling an incentive as any, to visit Hutong.
3) BARSHU: In at no 3, is a Frith street, Sohogourmet treasure, Bar Shu . Bar Shu is famed for what many London foodies argue, is the best Szechuan cuisine in town. Classic red lanterns, antique Chinese calligraphy and Chinese screens, BarShu takes a more classic, traditional Chinese approach to its interior décor than Hakkasan and Hutong. A move when coupled with its cuisine, provides an ambience that transports the adventurer to a Western China of sorts in the heart of England. Living up to the fiery, spicy and numbing flavours Szechuan cuisine is famed for, Bar Shu does not disappoint. From offerings such as its Crab dish, fragrant chicken in a pile of chillies and its famed Dan dan noodles, Barshu tampers those fiery and spicy flavours with skilled artistry.
4) CHINATANG; This 5 star luxury Cantonese restaurant conceived by Sir David Tang makes our list at no 5. Also situated in Mayfair at the famed Dorchester Hotel, China Tang possess an impressive curation of both traditional and contemporary art works andis all 1930’s upscale shanghai in the way of décor. Considered to be one of the most authentic Chinese restaurants in London, China Tang has a 4 star customer rating at the Open Table. With an impressive offering for vegetarians, a well-received perking duck dish, and a vibrant and luxury-worthy ambience, China Tang is a must try.
5) PRINCESS GARDENS; Yet another delightful dinning choice situated in Mayfair, Princess Gardens comes in at no 5. Opened in 1983 in London, Princess Gardens has over the years, become a strong part of the London Culinary scene especially, the London Chinese culinary scene. One of the finest London has to offer when it comes to Northern Chinese cuisine, the restaurant’s dim sum according to Timeout, holds its own in comparison to the finest London has to offer. Princess gardens recently underwent some wonderful renovations, which improved its lighting and used certain modern elements like plate- glass windows to update and modernize the restaurants look. Service here unlike some of its counterparts has a much quicker response time. However, by far the best thing about Princess Gardens is that it’s luxury at a reasonable cost. You would be hard pressed to find many luxury diners who are not impressed with the quality of the food in relation to its pricing.
6) YAUATCHA; No 6 on our list is the Michelin star contemporary dim sum tea house, located in the lively Soho neighborhood of London. Also a member of the Hakkasan group, Yauatcha is famous for its Patisseries. With an average price of 65 pounds per person, the dishes are rather consistent quality wise and Yautacha in addition to an impressive Dim Sum offering to rival its sister restaurant Hakassan, also offers a lovely selection of teas. Always busy and packed, Yauatcha’s ambience matches that Soho spirit with a more club-like that business dinner vibe. The trendy décor style with dark blue lighting to match the basement style, and beautifully lit aquarium, is the perfect setting for a perfect, informal and vibrant night out.
7) KAI MAYFAIR; Kai Mayfair makes the list at no 8. Kai restaurant is noted for its blend of traditional Chinese recipes and more modern experimentations with Chinese cuisine. The restaurant which gained its Michelin star in 2009 lends components from other cuisine to bolster its contemporary experiments. Kai has had a lot of mixed reviews on the customer end; with many of its detractors criticizing Kai for pricing that far outweighs its dishes. On the other hand, there are those, who swear by some of their favorite dishes they claim makes Kai redeemable. Among the list of recommended dishes to try would be the Kai wasabi prawns, and according to Elle UK, the Wagyu beef with ginger paste and spring onions. It also seems to have favorable reviews with its desserts with the mango cake making more than a few appearances. Sitting at No 65 Audley Street, Kai’s décor style is opulent 1980’s circa style décor, all luxury and elegance.
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