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8 Gerrard Street
Haozhan may no longer be at the cutting edge of Chinatown eating, but it continues to offer novel tastes, without a red lantern or dragon motif to be seen – instead, black walls, geometric mirrors
and emerald-green lighting set a thoroughly modern tone. The extensive menu features twists on favourites such as aromatic crispy duck pancakes – although more adventurous diners are rewarded with
‘unusual selections’ including palate-jangling Szechuan soup, chilli quail, jasmine tea-smoked pork ribs or stir-fried chicken with lemongrass, lime and mint. Haozhan also majors on daytime dim sum
(12N-5pm), offering everything from steamed king prawn dumplings and squishy roast pork buns to slippery cheung fun and gnarly chicken’s feet. House wine starts at £15.60; otherwise, a pot of
‘blossoming’ floral tea makes a soothing alternative. ‘Charming’ staff and ‘incredible value’ mean this Chinatown fixture comes ‘strongly recommended’ by readers.
Best Chinese restaurants in Chinatown
Best Private Rooms: >30
8 Gerrard Street
Leicester Square Tube Station 130m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 291m
Frith Street 68m
Prince Charles Cinema 70m
Mon-Sun 12N-11.30pm (Fri-Sat -12M Sun -11pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Incredible value lunch offerings. Unusual selections on the menu. Charming service. Very good value. My only negative is that the table surfaces are starting to look very worn indeed – white linen tablecloths would make a huge visual improvement. Strongly recommended.
Last night I took a group of friends and have never been so embarrassed! The service was so unbelievably rude I was incensed!
We were hassled every minute and a half as to whether we wanted to order a bottle of wine, then interrogated as to why not! As soon as we got back to our conversation they would hassle us again and interrupt, tutting and puffing when we ‘only’ ordered beers and soft drinks! When we had had one sip of our beers we were hassled as to whether we wanted another round of beers! We had to ask them to stop hassling us and leave us alone! – not what you want when trying to have a get together with friends.
But the nadir of the evening was when one of my guests ordered a coca cola! The waiter interrogated him why he wasn't drinking alcohol when the girls were – “What is wrong with you? Are you a ‘Lady Man’?”!!! I was mortified and my table were horrified. He is a muslim and he doesn't drink.
Frankly we shouldn't have left any tip at all, but we left about two thirds of the discretionary amount they added to the bill as it was a busy night. The waiter then angrily complained that we hadn't left the full bill amount, and it had to be pointed out to him that not only had we left the full amount for the food we had also left a tip, although the amount was discretionary. I should have said that he was lucky to get anything at all after the appalling service, but we just left, our night having been considerably ruined.
I am really sad to report this as I have always thought Haozhan was great. But I am seriously thinking that I need to vote with my feet on this one. I'm really disappointed that on the back of all their success, the staff no longer feel that their customers deserve any respect, seeing them only as a cash cow, and who can be bullied into buying things they don't want, and their choices insulted. Appalling.
Food + drink: 1
Have never eaten in a worse Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, or even London. The manager is horribly rude – the other staff were okay though, but the manager can totally ruin your meal with his dominating ‘service’.
The portions are really small, especially if you're unlucky like me and order the roast duck – we had 8 pieces of meat for 15+ quid (can't remember exactly but it's definitely not cheap). We asked about the portion and were told because it's deboned, so 8 pieces = half a roast duck. Like I don't know how big a roast duck is?!
I have read many reviews praising this restaurant's ‘innovative’ dishes which are different from the normal Chinese food you get in Chinatown or anywhere else in London. I would say, if you're prepared to be ripped off and treated like a complete idiot and still sing praises of this place, to each his own.
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