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8-10 North Audley Street
IN 2019, MAYFAIR GARDEN WILL BE REPLACED BY CAPRICE CAFÉ
Launched in 1983, this glossy Chinese round the corner from Selfridges recently changed its name (from Princess Garden) and has had a swanky refit, with plate-glass windows, well-lit white interiors and wooden pillars adding a contemporary feel to the dining room. But despite its impressive appearance, “solidly reliable” Mayfair Garden isn’t as pricey as you might think: superior-quality dim sum is roughly on par with Soho Chinatown, and evening bills aren’t unduly high. Expect “judiciously spiced” renditions of familiar regional fare with the odd twist: crispy seafood rolls and soft-shell crab are faultless starters, Szechuan pork with green beans is a winner and the line-up also extends to steamed lobster with garlic, lemon chicken and ‘ma po’ beancurd. True to the traditional norm, service is “brisk rather than personal” – although staff cope admirably with a cosmopolitan mix of shoppers, American Embassy staff, off-duty suits and Chinese families.
Best Dim Sum
Best Chinese restaurants in London
8-10 North Audley Street
020 7493 3223
Bond Street Tube Station 300m
Marble Arch Tube Station 464m
Marks & Spencer (Marble Arch) 186m
Mon-Sun 12N-4pm 6-11pm (Sun -10.45pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Princess Garden is a Mayfair stalwart, having been located in this spot for as long as I can remember. This certainly isn’t Hakassan and nor does it have the related pretensions. However, if you are after solidly reliable and pretty tasty Cantonese style food, you would be hard to find better, even in Chinatown or Bayswater. While the clientele on our recent evening visit comprised a somewhat curious mix of business people and tourists, the main reason for coming here is certainly the food. Diners get to choose from a wide range of dishes with the menu laid out in a fairly obvious fashion, and a large section dedicated to special dishes. Beyond the inevitable deliberation over what to choose, when our food did arrive, we were certainly impressed. My soft-shell crab was wonderfully tender and juicy, enhanced by a subtle salting and overlay of chillies. My comrades also praised the quality of the satay sauce and the crispness of the fried seaweed. Our mains received similar plaudits and again the pervasive impression was of well-cooked food heightened by a judicious combination of spices. My Szechuan pork with green beans was a good as I have eaten anywhere. Vegetable sides of pak-choi and aubergine (recommended by our server) were also first-class. Given the size of the location, Princess Garden does somewhat fall down in terms of intimacy and the atmosphere is such that one is not inclined to linger. Moreover, service is generally brisk rather than personal. At roughly £50/head, pricing is reasonable, particularly by Mayfair standards, although we did stick to beer rather than wine. Definitely worth a visit if traditional Chinese is what you’re after in the area.
Food + drink: 3
I ate here on Monday night. My first time and I was impressed with the overall experience. The staff are very friendly and I was shown to my table and made to feel very welcome. The menu is very interesting and leads with the Chef's suggestions. We had soft-shell crab (outstanding) and seaweed prawn rolls (very good). For the main course we had salt and pepper squid (it was a little tough unfortunately), Sichuan Chicken with Basel leaves (ok) and Singapore Noodles (very good). The atmosphere is very nice. It’s a big, open dining room with plenty of room between tables. The staff were excellent and very attentive. Would I go back – yes and try a few more of the Chef's suggestions and other options on the menu.
“Regular for dim sum in Mayfair”
Ever since the advent of London as a food capital probably over a decade ago now, it almost seemed Chinese food / restaurants had been forgotten as one of the possible choice of many dining venues in London. However dim sum at the weekends was something that sustained throughout, and still is a great focal point for gathering families and friends. The Princess Garden certainly provides this.
A well appointed corner location in Mayfair, with large glass screen windows which allow much light through during lunchtimes, Princess Garden is unusual amongst Chinese restaurants in having a clean modern interior. This is adorned in the odd corner or wall with appropriate Chinese carvings and art. The light marble flooring which also helps to complement this fairly slick interior, brings you from the entrance right through to the 2 dining areas, one in a smaller conservatory area, the other a much larger main dining room.
Large groups are catered for at typical round tables for a dozen or so, but there are also sufficient numbers of smaller “tete-a-tete” or tables for four, scattered around. The service is efficient and if anything a touch perfunctory, however it tends to be quite busy and “free flow”, and the staff manage well given this. It is noteworthy that one can actually book a table here for dim sum, which is not always the case for dim sum at other restaurants during weekends.
Though Princess Garden is a full fledged dinner and lunch venue, dim sum at the weekends remains my pick. They provide the usual fare with hot steamed dishes in the little bamboo baskets, all done to near perfection I might add. The usual “har gau” prawn dumplings, “cheung fun” ravioli and “char siu bao” pork buns are staple tests which Princess Garden passes with flying colours. One can still order from the main menu and I usually add some Chinese vegetables as well as some noodles to complement the other dishes.
It has become quite a regular for us, and one that I would think will stay that way.
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