Chinese New Year may have come and be long gone, but Chinese food is here to stay. And if you’re looking for something other than the obligatory January and February detox food, then a trip to a good Chinese restaurant is a jump-start for the taste buds.
Min Jiang, on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, does just the job.
The plain, airy and light dining room has beautiful views over Hyde Park and spotting the capital’s landmarks in the distance make a good pastime over a pre-drink at the adjoined bar. Before I sampled the food, I noted the exceptional service – with an extensive menu, the staff were very eager to make suggestions from which dishes to choose and the size of the portions. Just as well, most of the portions were big enough to feed at least three let alone one.
The restaurant does a roaring trade with its own version of Beijing duck – a real show stopper and a dish not to be missed by a first-time visitor. The menu also features Sichuan classics like the spicy clay-pot venison and also does luxury ingredients like abalone and lobster.
And unlike some Chinese restaurants, the food did not taste at all greasy. My seafood dish starter of steamed scallops accompanied by thick ginger and spring onion sauce was light and tasty, while the huge portion of crispy tofu with salt, pepper and dried and garlic were unputdownable.
For the main, I decided to stick to fish. The Alaskan black cod fillet with the punchy Sha cha sauce just fell off the chopsticks. We really liked the traditional roasted chicken with ginger sauce complete with a side dish of noodles and steamed broccoli in salted fish sauce. Who knew broccoli could taste so good?
Min Jiang isn’t cheap – the Alaskan cod was £34, while the chicken was £22 – but that’s what makes this a special-occasion restaurant. However, I would put it up there as affordable luxury and something we could all do with from time to time. We all need to spoil ourselves. And another good thing? The only “poshness” you get here are the prices.
Other than that, the place oozes friendliness, sophistication and a warm atmosphere. The cooking is great too, and is definitely not overshadowed by this picture-perfect vista.
For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.minjiang.co.uk.
By Sabi Phagura