Chinatown London has the assortment of traditional eateries you might expect, but it packs some surprises following a recent foodie renaissance. A mix of eclectic restaurants offering a contemporary take on Asian cuisine have opened alongside quirky cocktail bars and secret speakeasies.
So, where do you start? Shaftesbury’s Andrew Price shares his pick of the hottest places to visit in one of London’s most exciting food destinations right now…
The team behind the hugely popular BAO are taking Chinatown by storm with their new Taiwanese restaurant XU (pronounced ‘Shu’).
Alongside the innovative menu XU have an in-house dedicated tea master which I’m told is inspired by one of the founder’s grandfather’s love of the loose-leaf teas commonly drunk in his native Taiwan.
The ShanState, 102 Shaftesbury Avenue
Chinatown’s first-ever Burmese restaurant opened earlier this year adding to the area’s ever-growing portfolio of pan-Asian eateries. One of the hottest food trends of 2017, The ShanState serves up colourful, authentic Burmese dishes, like the iconic Laphet – a pickled tealeaf salad. Trust me its delicious!
Bubble Wrap, 24 Wardour Street
Hordes of Instagram foodies lined the street outside to be the first to try a tasty waffle dessert from trendy new Hong Kong eatery, Bubblewrap. Sweet egg waffles are wrapped into a cone, loaded with gelato and a choice of 14 toppings making it a truly visual sensation.
Neighbouring Bake showcases sweet and savoury treats along with their superstar snack – the Taiyaki – a fish-shaped waffle cone (fashioned by their Japanese-imported press) with a hearty dollop of matcha tea ice cream.
Situated behind an unassuming jade door on Gerrard Street, this cocktail & dim sum parlour features a drinks menu including 12 eclectic cocktails inspired by the 12 animal signs of the Chinese Zodiac, each served in a bespoke vessel shaped like the animal it represents.
Theatrical and creative, Opium is the perfect post-dinner cocktail spot.
Le Hanoi, 4 Macclesfield Street
Bare-brick walls, quirky pendant lighting and a giant Vietnamese flag gold star motif add to Le Hanoi’s fun and funky vibe.
Serving up numerous types of pho soup, Vietnam’s favourite dish, as well as iconic Old Fashioneds and house special cocktails like the sweet & saucy Prom Star make it a must-visit evening destination. Try the Combo Pho – starring a power-punching six types of beef cut, the ultimate pho feast!
Ichibuns, an exciting new Japanese-inspired dining concept from Robin Leigh (the man behind Nobu and Busaba Eathai) has just launched its first restaurant and cocktail bar on Wardour Street, offering a Japanese take on burger & fries with Wagyu beef patties served alongside King Crab Ramen and Wagyu Cheesburger spring rolls, followed by green tea profiteroles all washed down with Ichi shakes.
Spanish restaurant Brindisa has joined Chinatown London’s burgeoning restaurant scene (in addition to its existing Soho outpost on Broadwick Street), opening on Rupert Street. Dishes from an open grill and charcoal oven celebrate the stunning meats of Spain along with much loved traditional tapas plates. Be sure to sample their new hero Ibérico board!
For this and more stories and views from the streets of London’s West End, check out the latest issue of INTHEKNOW from Tavistock Bow
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