Best Chinese restaurants in London

Find the very best Chinese restaurants in London with SquareMeal. Chinese cuisine has long been a favourite cuisine of London, with hundreds of Chinese restaurants open throughout the capital, including many in London's Chinatown.

Posted on 18 December 2018

Best Chinese restaurants in London

With an enormous selection of Chinese restaurants in London it is often quite difficult to know which to choose. Squaremeal’s list of the top Chinese restaurants in London will help you select your perfect Chinese restaurant in London. From traditional Chinese restaurants to contemporary Chinese dining and Michelin starred Chinese restaurants, there is something for everyone in Squaremeal’s guide to the best Chinese restaurants in London.

Every one of the Chinese restaurants featured in Squaremeal’s list of London’s top Chinese restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with Squaremeal today. As well as the restaurants on this page, we have listings for Chinese restaurants in the West End, including SohoCovent Garden and Knightsbridge. Each Squaremeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from diners, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.


Hutong at The Shard

Hutong at The Shard

£50 - £79
Chinese

Level 33,The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY

London flagship of the Hong Kong-based Aqua Group, this luxe eatery on Level 33 of The Shard is nigh on impossible beat for its beautiful interiors, glamorous vibes and “spectacular views”. Despite ‘hutong’ bringing to mind Beijing’s backstreets, the menu’s a sophisticated mix of Szechuan and Northern Chinese, with some “absolutely exquisite” Cantonese dim sum for good measure. Recent highlights have included Shandong shredded chicken (for stuffing into fluffy buns), boned lamb ribs (braised then stir-fried), and a plate of “soft, yielding and deeply savoury” braised beef in aged vinegar and ginger sauce. The full-on version of Peking duck is simply “fantastic”, and there’s also ma-po tofu, with a blend of chilli and Szechuan pepper giving it that distinctive numbing-hot effect known as ma-la. Spicing is considerably toned down from the full blast you’ll find in Chengdu, but that suits most of the suburban visitors and expense-account diners just fine. Prices are double what you’d pay in Chinatown, although readers are happy to shell out for such “phenomenal” food. “A real treat.”

More about Hutong at The Shard

Book now

Xu

Xu

£50 - £79
Taiwanese

30 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DL

Erchen Chang and co made London fall in love with Taiwanese buns when they opened Bao, and they look set to repeat that success for the island’s other culinary delights with this impressive venture – a handsome slice of 1920s Shanghai chic complete with some original space-saving touches (note the tables that flip over to make mah-jong boards). But the most original thing about Xu (pronounced ‘Shu’) is the food, which runs from ‘xiao tsai’ small plates and ‘mian shi’ pancakes to ‘classics’ such as char siu ibérico pork. Highlights include ‘numbing’ beef tendon set in a jellied terrine pooled with fiery chilli vinaigrette, a pungent whip of creamy crab meat with fermented shrimp, garlic and more hot chilli, and a dish of sweetbreads cleverly enhanced with fermented greens. There’s “sensational” onion rice too, although nothing can trump that char sui pork, meltingly tender in the middle and crisped around the edges. Some ideas are a taste or texture too far (we’re thinking of the spongy taro dumpling filled with sausage meat), but Xu is an exciting introduction to an under-represented cuisine – and you’ll be pleased to hear that it takes bookings.  

More about Xu

Book now

Phoenix Palace

Phoenix Palace

£30 - £49
Chinese
Dim Sum

5 Glentworth Street, London, NW1 5PG

“Nothing changes, and that’s the point” at this flamboyantly decorated fixture of the local Chinese scene.  Consistency is the watchword, and super-efficient service ensures customers get the best of a huge, 300-dish menu. Dim sum is the star at lunchtimes and weekends, when Chinese families and the Regent’s Park crowd roll in for exemplary renditions of, say, crispy lobster dumplings, briny pork croquettes, prawn cheung fun and nourishing congees. Otherwise, the full line-up runs from breaded scallops with mango sauce or shredded smoked chicken to braised duck with mushrooms or quick-fried squid with morning glory in shrimp paste. The cavernous dining room operates in its own little world, complete with carved screens, tassels and flashing illuminated gewgaws – you could get lost, or lose your companions in here. Still, “if you love the place, it’s probably like coming home”.

More about Phoenix Palace

Book now

Baiwei

Baiwei

Under £30
Chinese

8 Little Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JJ

Following on from big hitters Bar Shu, Ba Shan and the Baozi Inn, “scruffy, but cool-looking” Baiwei completes a gang of four Szechuan firecrackers in Soho Chinatown. The name means ‘a hundred flavours’, and the kitchen deals in authentic home-style dishes from the south-western province and neighbouring areas, with chilli warnings and plenty of anatomical curiosities on the pictorial menu. Choose from a lengthy assortment of ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ specialities ranging from aubergines with preserved egg or plates of pig’s ear, tongue and tripe dressed with astringent black vinegar to chilli-flecked lamb with roasted rice, bowls of dan-dan noodles or beef and coriander won tons in broth. It’s a tiny space with Spartan decor – save for some hand-painted Maoist propaganda posters proclaiming ‘the big leap forward’. Service can be “grouchy”, but it warms up slowly.

More about Baiwei

Book now

Barshu Restaurant

Barshu Restaurant

Szechuan
Chinese

28 Frith Street, London, W1D 5LF

Strictly a domain for chilli-heads, this smart, light-filled Chinese delivers a riotous flavour ride, Szechuan-style. Complaints of “lucky dip” portion sizes have been addressed with the introduction of illustrated menus, which also help to identify the hottest propositions. Dry-wok options (stir-fried frog’s legs, pig’s offal and duck tongues) all arrive emblazoned with dried chilli, as do fleshy strips of boiled sea bass and appetisers such as sliced pork belly, nestled in a blood-red sauce. Moments of relief come in the shape of soothing soups, and stews, and you’ll probably be glad to see mango sorbet and coconut ice cream offered for dessert. The restaurant makes no bones about the fact that it uses MSG and aims to turn your table within two hours – two drawbacks that will be familiar to anyone who frequents neighbouring Chinatown. High prices are out of sync with the neighbourhood, but you’re paying for an “authentic”, thoroughly thrilling taste of central China.

More about Barshu Restaurant

Book now

Royal China - Westferry Circus

Royal China - Westferry Circus

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

30 Westferry Circus, London, E14 8RR

"Perfect views of the Thames" are a given at this branch of the Royal China chain, which occupies a prime site facing a wide sweep of the river: with the Thames Ferry Pier next door, they've also put the terrace to good use. The group is famed for its tip-top, "extremely well-priced" dim sum, so be ready to work your way through exemplary steamed pork and radish dumplings, stuffed beancurd rolls, honey-roast pork puffs and a splendid rice pot of spicy chicken's feet and spare ribs. At teatime, the kitchen switches to a fancier menu of Hong Kong-style food, complete with helpful photographs. Cantonese classics such as crispy aromatic duck and lobster with ginger and spring onion line up alongside lemon chicken, stir-fried Dover sole with spicy salt or stewed pork belly with preserved cabbage. "Excellent service" makes the grade too.

More about Royal China - Westferry Circus

Book now

Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel

Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London, W8 4PT

It’s hard to talk about Min Jiang without mentioning the view: 10 floors up on the fringes of Hyde Park, it’s a mesmerising prospect. Now fast approaching its 10th birthday, this venue has become one of London’s slickest operators, a top-end Chinese decked out with mirrored panels, oriental screens and classical pottery, dealing in scrubbed-up but authentic Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine. The star of the show – and one of our guiltiest treats in the capital – is the Beijing duck, presented in three servings. No doctor is going to recommend the crispy skin dipped in fine sugar but, boy, is it good – likewise the traditional pancake wraps, lettuce parcels and alternatives such as salted vegetable soup with duck and tofu. Elsewhere, baskets of steamed dim sum are a beauty to behold, while rib-eye in a sticky black pepper sauce is sweet and soothing. To drink, put your trust in the sommelier’s pick from an Old World-leaning wine list.

More about Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel

Book now

Hakkasan Mayfair

Hakkasan Mayfair

£50 - £79
Chinese
One michelin star

17 Bruton Street, London, W1J 6QB

Putting on the style is second nature to this scintillating, seductive and downright intoxicating branch of the global Hakkasan chain – whether you’re flashing it in the pulsating nightclubby bar or playing it cool in the sleek ground-floor dining room. Either way, devotees of the house style are in heaven as they drool over “incredible east-meets-west platefuls” of steamed langoustines wrapped in glass vermicelli with chilli and garlic sauce, spicy lamb salad with peanut dressing (one of our favourites) or stir-fried Norfolk quail with winter chestnuts, basil and lemongrass – a dish that’s unique to Hakkasan Mayfair. “Divine dim sum” such as steamed har gau crowned with gold leaf, homemade pumpkin tofu or smoked beef ribs with jasmine tea crank up the thrill factor even further (especially at lunchtime), and the whole Michelin-starred shebang is fuelled by premium sakés, brilliantly chosen matching wines and ritzy cocktails (“unusual, but in a good way”). As you’d expect, staff are immaculately groomed – although they’re not here just for show (even if their attention sometimes wanders). Eating at Hakkasan Mayfair may be a wallet-emptying experience, but “you’ll feel like a billionaire for a few hours”. 

More about Hakkasan Mayfair

Book now

Kai

Kai

Over £80
Chinese
One michelin star
£30 - £49

65 South Audley Street, W1K 2QU

Michelin-starred Kai’s big claim is that it ‘liberates’ Chinese cooking, delivering what some fans regard as the best “fusion food” of its kind in London – although the straight-backed dining rooms can feel rather staid, despite the odd colourful flourish and statement objets. Supporters are happy to forgive any excess ceremony, allowing the kitchen to play with flavours in imaginative ways. At lunch, a succession of small plates might include glutinous rice balls scented with Wagyu beef oil, while tiger prawns with crisp curry leaves recall Indo-Chinese meetings on the great spice routes. For dinner, dial things up with a plate of pan-fried foie gras, caramelised cashews, white pepper, spring onions, grapes and passion fruit dressing, followed by ‘lobster and lobster’ – a combo of the burly crustacean with ginger and spring onion plus noodles drizzled with lobster oil. Desserts are no afterthought, either – their durian and vanilla soufflé with salted caramel is likely to be the only pud of its kind in town.

More about Kai

Book now

Yauatcha City

Yauatcha City

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS

One of the standouts on Broadgate Circle’s foodie hub, this deceptively large offshoot of Soho star Yauatcha makes an immediate impact with its stunning interiors and white marble bathrooms, although the biggest gasps are reserved for the sweeping curved glass wall that follows the contours of the building. Highlights from the line-up of meticulously crafted dim sum include spicy Szechuan pork wontons and warm, crunchy venison puffs, while bigger plates range from truffle pork belly ribs and stir-fried beef rib-eye with sticky black bean sauce to steamed halibut with chilli and salted radish. Yauatcha is also known for its gorgeous desserts, so peruse the patisserie counter before sampling, say, the milk chocolate pudding with crunchy breton sablé and lusciously thick dulche de leche crème. It’s undoubtedly expensive, although those in the know rave about the “fantastic-value” ‘supreme Saturday’ offer. In fact, fans think Yauatcha City is “just divine” – despite high decibels and close-packed tables.

More about Yauatcha City

Book now

Mr Chow

Mr Chow

£50 - £79
Chinese

151 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7PA

Like its evergreen septuagenarian owner, Michael Chow, this Knightsbridge institution seems to defy the sands of time. Almost 50 years down the line, it’s as handsome and elegant as ever with its chrome lampshades, monochrome colour schemes and artwork from the likes of Peter Blake. The restaurant’s rather sexy old-school demeanour lures in rich ‘new Knightsbridge’ types and corporate wallets – none of whom wince at the £30 price tag for a dish of citrus-flavoured crispy beef. The reason? When it comes to Chinese comfort food, few places can deliver quite like Mr Chow. There’s hardly a dish we don’t adore, from the sticky glazed prawns to lettuce wraps of minced spiced chicken, mixed seafood awash in a gooey white wine sauce, and – of course – the dessert trolley. Chow’s original vision of Chinese food served by Italian waiters happily lives on, epitomised by a charming maître d'.

More about Mr Chow

Book now

Yauatcha Soho

Yauatcha Soho

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum
One michelin star

15-17 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DL

“Still incredible after all these years”, ultra-cool Yauatcha Soho stakes its claim with “smart, snappy decor” and an inviting patisserie bar out front. The trademark blue-glass frontage gives way to a frenetic grey-toned room, while a glowing fish tank, candlelit tables and twinkling “night sky” lights await diners who descend to the “stunning” brick-lined basement. Wherever you sit, expect ultra-professional service, but with lots of winning smiles. The comprehensive menu is populated by “steamed to perfection” dumplings (try the edamame and truffle beauties) and other luxe Chinese ideas such as jasmine tea-smoked ribs and venison puffs – described by one salivating fan as “the sweetest, most crumbly piece of heaven”. Elsewhere, bigger items ranging from spicy steamed sea bass with pickled chilli or ‘lunar’ chicken hotpot with cured pork to homemade spinach tofu with shimejii mushrooms and baby asparagus are also in demand. “Spectacular-looking” chocolates, macarons and petits gateaux such as a ‘tropical’ dome of coconut dacquoise, passion fruit and pineapple get rave reviews, while a swanky line-up of classy wines, teas, sakés and killer cocktails completes Yauatcha Soho’s winning Michelin-starred package.   

More about Yauatcha Soho

Book now

The Duck and Rice

The Duck and Rice

£30 - £49
Chinese
Gastropub

90 Berwick Street, London, W1F 0QB

“Vibrant, buzzing, yet elegant” sums up the mood at Duck and Rice, where Pilsner Urquell drinkers rub shoulders with Chinese food fans and the high-spec design features gleaming beer tanks, open fires and Chinese-style blue-and-white ceramic panels. The upstairs dining room is calmer than the ground-floor pub, although both serve the same muddled one-page menu of dim sum, chow mein, chop suey, crispy duck and various bites. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the fiery Szechuan chicken or the melting jasmine-smoked pork ribs. However, D&R’s more traditional dishes are barely above the bog-standard Chinatown norm, making much of the menu seem overpriced – order wisely from the capable staff to ensure the best outcome. Ale-based cocktails (Beer Negroni, anyone?) are joined by “amazing Gin Mares” and a big selection of French-led wines, while weekends are for dim-sum brunching. Finally, an events programme including bingo nights and drag-queen quizzes is exactly what the area needs.

More about The Duck and Rice

Book now

RedFarm London

RedFarm London

Chinese
Dim Sum

9 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HZ

With Redfarm joining Balthazar a couple of doors up, Russell Street is turning into a mini Manhattan. This first international branch of Redfarm is just one of owner Ed Schoenfeld’s 56 restaurants and, with its gingham tablecloths and whitewashed brickwork, is a Xerox of the West Village original. Most of the seats on the ground floor are at a long, shared table, although there are banquettes for four; more civilised tables for two will be available when the first floor opens.

Redfarm’s schtick is to graft a frenetic fast-food ethos onto Cantonese cooking. It might not be the place for Chinese food purists, but it sure is a lot of fun; were it not for the rowdy, adults-orientated atmosphere (10 cocktails, 20 wines), it would be the perfect place to keep kids entertained.

The signature Pac-Man dumplings are already all over Instagram and involve four well-crafted har gau ‘ghosts’, tinted with natural food colouring and dotted with sesame-seed eyes, chased across the plate by a sweet potato Pac-Man, jaws agape. Xiao long bao soup dumplings cleverly come pierced with a straw to suck up the pork and prawn broth to avoid any chin burns. Daily specials, meanwhile, might include cheeseburger spring rolls: minced beef and stringy cheese encased in golden flaky pastry accompanied by a gherkin-flecked dipping sauce that’s a dead ringer for a Big Mac’s secret ingredient.

Other small plates include a pitch-perfect version of crispy chilli beef, and bao concealing strips of pork belly, as lusciously fatty as Wagyu. Don’t fill up on the dim sum, though. The best thing we ate was the banquet classic of shrimp-stuffed chicken, a yin and yang of a dish in which the perky blandness of the surf and turf is offset by the most divinely crisp seasoned skin.

Two big downers: peak-time queues are likely to be long and prices are twice what you would pay in Chinatown, although the novelty value of the presentation is backed up by serious skill in the kitchen. But refreshingly unpretentious Redfarm undeniably brings a bright flash of colour to the London restaurant scene and is right at home in the theatrics of Covent Garden.

More about RedFarm London

Book now

Hunan

Hunan

£50 - £79
Chinese

51 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NE

It may be more modest and less capacious than some of its neighbours, but this “delicious and different” Chinese restaurant is still going strong after nigh on 35 years in Pimlico. There’s no menu – simply tell staff about your likes and dislikes, indicate your spice threshold (be conservative here) and leave the rest to chef Michael Peng and his team. In return, you’ll be taken on a fascinating culinary trip full of intriguing regional tastes and textures. Staples range from the signature steamed pork broth with ginger and mushrooms to crispy frog’s legs wrapped in fermented bamboo shoots with chilli, but other delights could include spring onion pancakes with daikon and beancurd skin, tempura green beans and braised ox tongue with mangetout, plus indigenous specialities such as wind-dried meats and stir-fried spicy aubergine. Expect around 12 little dishes, and match them with something suitably aromatic from the authoritative wine list, or stick to premium Chinese tea.

More about Hunan

Book now

Bright Courtyard Club

Bright Courtyard Club

£50 - £79
Chinese

43-45 Baker Street, London, W1U 8EW

Aiming to emulate the Shanghai original, this huge, high-gloss outpost of the Bright Courtyard Club comes complete with some lovely porcelain pieces, tea sets for sale, huge chunks of polished wood, screens and stools, plus an atrium for for dim sum. Naturally, much of the cooking has a Shanghai-style slant (dumplings, marinated tofu, smoked fish etc), and the menu has lots of luxe touches including Madagascan jumbo prawns with black truffle dressing; otherwise, expect intriguing ideas such as edamame with zhouzhuang pickles, braised sea cucumber in abalone sauce, dry-fried lobster with egg yolk or pork belly with ‘grandmum’s recipe’. Sadly the food is reckoned to be “OK, at best”, with long waits and “rude” service ruining it for one couple. Drinks-wise, a wine wall suggests an interest in the subject, but tea is also taken seriously.

More about Bright Courtyard Club

Book now

Mei Ume

Mei Ume

£50 - £79
Japanese
Chinese

10 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ

A hotel restaurant offering Chinese and Japanese dishes on the same menu might sound horribly like a food-court buffet, but this super-swish dining room in the City’s Four Seasons is a delight for deep pockets. With senior chefs culled from the kitchens of Royal China, Sake No Hana and Yauatcha, diners are in very safe hands. Finely turned-out sushi ranges from classic eel maki to the addictive umami hit of spicy tuna with truffle karashi and parmesan flakes. Elsewhere, the menu divides into conventional starters (‘small eats’) and mains. From the small eats, go for springy squid deep-fried in a subtly flavoured batter of salted egg, and steamed diver scallops, still soft and quivery; then from the bigger plates, Szechuan chicken and wasabi king prawns, both the right side of spicy. Chinese cooking done to this high a standard is a rarity in the City, but be warned that you’ll pay handsomely for it: a basket of eight prettily pleated dim sum clocks in at £18, and small portions overall meant that we cast envious looks every time the house speciality whole Peking duck was paraded around the room. Still, no one expects dinner at the Four Seasons to come cheap, and the setting is stunning, with soaring pillars and embroidered silk screens making the most of the high ceilings. To drink, a neighbouring bar is stocked with saké, shochu and Japanese whisky, while the Euro-leaning wine list has suggestions for specific dishes. Along with La Dame de Pic next door, the Four Seasons has brought gastronomy and glamour to a neglected corner of the Square Mile.

More about Mei Ume

Book now

Mayfair Garden

Mayfair Garden

£30 - £49
Chinese
Dim Sum

8-10 North Audley Street, London, W1K 6ZD

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.

More about Mayfair Garden

Book now

Duddell

Duddell's London

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

6 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY

We wonder if Hong Kong import Duddell’s was inspired to open in London Bridge by the success of nearby Hutong, from the HK-based Aqua Group. While Duddell’s might not have Hutong’s Shard views, it has an equally celestial location in the de-consecrated St Thomas Church, its soaring interiors cleverly divided by a mezzanine level and illuminated by covetable, World of Interiors lighting. Classy Cantonese cooking is what’s on offer from a kitchen team that has spent time at the Hong Kong original. Peking duck carved tableside is no longer the novelty it once was in London but done very well here. The lusciously fatty meat is dipped in fennel sugar, or rolled up with an array of piquant condiments into thick pancakes, before being stir-fried as a second course with a choice of sauce; the arrestingly flavoured duck in Martell Cognac and black pepper sauce was the best thing we ate all evening. We also enjoyed deeply succulent smoked beef rib with red wine soy beef, and chicken encased in pliable pan-fried dumplings. Ingredients are top notch – Bresse chicken, Berkshire pork – but prices seem steep for cooking that struck us as good rather than memorable, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much below £40 on the global wine list. Lunchtime dim sum offers a cheaper way in but we suspect that, budget permitting, all-out luxury – lobster noodles, steamed turbot, wagyu with spring onion – may be the best way to get into the glamorous spirit of the place. 

More about Duddell's London

Book now

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Hakkasan Hanway Place

£50 - £79
Chinese
One michelin star
£50 - £79

8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD

“Wow, wow and wow!” exclaims a fan of Hakkasan, who reckons it’s definitely the “sexiest restaurant” he’s ever frequented. Certainly, there’s a “sultry charm” to this “sensual”, barely lit basement, with clubby VIP vibes, easy-on-the-eye staff and black-lacquered interiors making it “perfect for a hot date”. Kick off with Asian-inspired cocktails at the bar, then try definitive versions of takeaway classics and “impressive” ‘small eats’ such as jasmine tea-smoked ribs or “amazingly light” Shanghai dumplings boosted by chilli and vinegar. To follow, readers rave about the gigantic spicy prawns with asparagus, almonds, lily bulbs, spring onion and water chestnuts (“a riot of colourful tastes and textures”), but we’re hooked on the salt and pepper squid, the duck braised with truffle and the “riveting” crispy lamb salad with peanut dressing. No one escapes the top-end pricing, but readers agree that “you pay for what you get”. Multiple tasting menus can keep the bills in check, although the ambitious wine list might push them back up again. Either way, it’s “absolutely outstanding”.

More about Hakkasan Hanway Place

Book now

Imperial Treasure

Imperial Treasure

Chinese
Dim Sum

9-10 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE

The Imperial Treasure brand might not yet be well-known in the UK but it’s a huge deal in Asia, where the Shanghai flagship holds two Michelin stars and the Hong Kong and Singapore branches have one each; 20 further restaurants extend to Guangzhou, South Korea and a Paris outpost scheduled for 2019.

It’s the sort of heritage that means the brand’s founder Alfred Leung has had the confidence to launch a three-storey restaurant occupying 8,500 square feet of prime St James’s real estate. And with a 25-year lease, Leung is in London for the long haul.

That confidence is well and truly deserved. For make no mistake: Imperial Treasure is the best Chinese restaurant to have opened in London since A Wong. Wagyu beef, Iberico pork, Scottish lobster and sea cucumber feature heavily, while Peking duck is carved tableside with all the theatre you would expect. But there are plenty of other treasures on the menu.

Dim sum contains superior ingredients encased in the most delicate of wrappings. Classics of har gau and cheung fun set a new benchmark for London (try the char siu cheung fun, which tastes of the most beautiful barbecued spare-rib meat imaginable) while there are new treats to discover such as the snow pork bun: basically a sugary, savoury doughnut that, like all of the cooking here, keeps the balance of salty and sweet in perfect balance. Then there’s prawn toast served as a fat coil of deep-fried king prawn encrusted with sesame.  

Full-sized dishes are handled just as deftly – kung po prawn keeps its chilli heat in check as deftly as any temperature-controlled thermostat – while lemon chicken is reinvented as juicy blocks of breast meat, coated in almond flakes and with a citrus-sharp lemon sauce on the side – although we preferred a blob of chilli sauce for seasoning. Even the fried rice would make a sumptuous meal by itself.

None of this comes cheap (the Peking duck is £100, dim sum around £8 a plate), but nor would you expect it to: the setting is luxurious without being ostentatious and there’s an army of solicitous staff to cater to your every need. Our only criticism was that the gap between dishes at lunch seemed to drag – but at these prices and with this quality of food, this is a ceremonial experience that you won’t want to rush.

More about Imperial Treasure

Book now

Royal China Club

Royal China Club

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

40-42 Baker Street, London, W1U 7AJ

This flagship branch of the Royal China chain might have doubled in size thanks to a four-month renovation in the summer of 2018 but compared to its huge siblings, it still feels intimate; instead of one large dining room, the restaurant is split into two, while five new private dining rooms benefit from natural light. The new look is slick without being intimidatingly stylish: gold leaf on the ceiling, red lacquer on the wall and enough black leather seating to make the restaurant smell like a luxury stand at the Beijing Motor Show. 

While rivals in this price bracket might concentrate on innovating regional Chinese cuisine, Royal China Club’s approach is to stick to the classics, but using premium ingredients: fresh abalone tossed with caviar, pan-fried scallop with foie gras, or a grilled Wagyu fillet in teriyaki sauce.

If the size of the bill isn’t a concern, you will eat very well here, although more budget-minded diners may not feel that the high prices are worth paying for dishes that are not dissimilar to the Baker Street Royal China a few doors down: £22.80 for a basket of eight seafood dim sum struck us as very steep, no matter how well made the contents.

Elsewhere, soft-shell crab with salt and peppercorn was well timed and well spiced, Szechuan king prawns had noticeably fresh seafood in a well-balanced sauce (though purists may wish for more chilli heat); while roasted crispy Iberian pork belly was a faultless version of a classic dish.

Staff are delightful, and even early in the week, there is a loyal market of regulars happy to pay Royal China Club’s prices for a comfortingly reassuring dining experience. If price is a concern, daytime dim sum offers a relatively more affordable way in.

More about Royal China Club

Book now

China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel

China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum

The Dorchester, 53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA

Basement dining rooms must work hard to get noticed, and China Tang works harder than most in that department: down in the lower regions of The Dorchester, no inch of the restaurant goes unembellished. The inspiration is interbellum Shanghai, and while the dark wood and elaborate carpets aren’t looking box-fresh, it’s certainly an atmospheric way to kit out a dining space. China Tang’s food is straight-down-the-middle Cantonese, handled with care and served with a level of ceremony that suits the luxe hotel surroundings. To start, try delicate tomato and egg-drop soup, followed by golden prawns with salted egg yolk, stir-fried minced pigeon in lettuce wraps or, for a bit of fire and fragrance, fish braised with Szechuan peppercorns. Tang’s international clientele believe there’s no bad time for dim sum, so expect Shanghai dumplings, mango rolls, turnip cakes and roast pork buns right through the day. In the bar, cocktails are more fashion-forward than the food.

More about China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel

Book now

A. Wong

A. Wong

£30 - £49
Chinese
One michelin star

70 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1DE

Located in a strange, transient part of Pimlico, Chinese big-hitter A Wong is an eye-opener for those used to provincial versions of the genre. Done out with blonde bentwood chairs and tables, it looks more Ikea café than Asian destination, and there’s plenty of bustle too. That said, there’s expertise and precision in the kitchen, along with a menu of regional specialities that begs to be explored. Dim sum rule at lunchtime; some items such as Chinese chive pot stickers are reasonably familiar, but we’re sold on the more esoteric stuff – both the rabbit and carrot glutinous puffs and the steamed-rice rolls stuffed with gai lan and poached yolk deserve to be tried. In the evening, you could settle for gong bau chicken with peanuts and Szechuan aubergine, although Cantonese honey-roast pork with wind-dried sausage and grated foie gras or Yunnan wild mushroom, truffle and red date casserole are hard to ignore. Tables turn quickly and there’s occasionally space at the kitchen bar.

More about A. Wong

Book now

TING Restaurant & Lounge

TING Restaurant & Lounge

£50 - £79
Modern European

Shangri-La Hotel, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU

Soaring straight to the top of London’s skyscraper charts, Ting, the Shangri-La Hotel’s new eatery, is The Shard’s highest restaurant on Level 35. An oriental theme to the furniture and wall hangings is subtle, leaving the astounding cross-city vista to dazzle. The arresting skyline is matched by a menu that uses seasonal British ingredients in Euro-accented dishes: many peppered with bright Asian flavours. Plump scallops come prettily served with edible flowers on a creamy carrot purée lifted by ginger, mandarin and coriander, while meaty halibut responds well to the teriyaki treatment – but a robustly flavoured yet delicate rib-eye steak with truffle jus provided our standout gastronomic experience. Prices are as breathtaking as the views (£19 for that scallop starter); a slightly cheaper menu is served in the lounge, where a tuna sarnie costs a mere £14. Off-the-wall wine pairings from the charismatic sommelier make a big impression, too.

More about TING Restaurant & Lounge

Book now

Park Chinois

Park Chinois

Over £80
Chinese

17 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EA

Replete with swathes of red velvet, powder-blue armchairs, ostentatious trappings and nightly live music (often jazz), Park Chinois is an opulent take on a 1930s Shanghai speakeasy that is built for big-money special-occasion dining – complete with a Chinese menu designed around separate western-style courses and served by “impeccable” staff. Dim sum is a top shout at Park Chinois, and rightly so: we love the spicy intensity of the Szechuan vegetable dumplings, the oh-so-crispy duck spring rolls and the summer truffle bao buns. Order from the carte and you might be treated to braised short-ribs with black bean sauce, red prawns with coconut, okra and tamarind or a veggie claypot of aubergines and tofu – although big groups go for the roasted-to-order full-strength Peking duck served with pancakes, shredded cucumber and baby leeks. To finish, there are some unmissable westernised desserts – do try the vanilla cheesecake twinned with passion fruit and strawberry sorbet. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something sultry, head downstairs to the plush-yet-cosy Club Chinois, where the entertainment is a little more risqué.   

More about Park Chinois

Book now

Din Tai Fung Covent Garden

Din Tai Fung Covent Garden

£50 - £79
Taiwanese
Dim Sum

5 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, WC2E 8PT

Din Tai Fung was the most-searched restaurant on SquareMeal in 2018 – not bad for somewhere that didn’t open until December. The Taiwanese dumpling specialist is famous for making what many say are the world’s best xiao long bao, for its Michelin-approved Hong Kong outpost and for having 150 outlets spanning Asia, Australia, North America – and now London, where it has become famous primarily for the size of the queues. It’s worth noting, though, that if you arrive off peak (4pm on a Monday in our case) you'll be able to walk straight in, with only Asian students and curious tourists for company.  

We enountered a pleasantly dated experience not unlike the upmarket Chinese restaurants of old, with a neutral wood decor and echoey acoustics spread over two floors where the only natural illumination comes from a skylight. Suited and waistcoated staff deliver notably cheerful service, though the dumplings themselves are brought to the table by chefs wearing white coats and hygiene masks and who can be seen crafting dumplings in the glass-walled kitchen (each dumpling reputedly takes 40 minutes to make).

The classic pork xiao long bao are a marvel of engineering, their contents held in place with a pliable dough case, pleated 18 times, that trembles like an unexploded water bomb and doesn't burst at the first jab of a chopstick. The contents are less mesmerising: a pleasant pork stock designed to mingle with the vinegar and ginger the dumplings should be eaten with.

Prawn and pork shumai, opened out at one end like a flower unfurling around a pink filling, were equally well constructed but just as underwhelming on the flavour front; the only dumpling we ate that lived up to its savoury-sounding billing was steamed chilli crab and pork buns. Our favourite dish was a non-dumpling one involving rolled-up slivers of cold pork which acted as a conduit for a pungent filling of crushed garlic. The tough meat in a braised beef noodle soup, however, impressed far less.

We enjoyed our meal here, but to be blunt, we couldn't see what the big deal about Din Tai Fung is. The preparation of the dumplings is technically accomplished, but the results taste no better than those served at London's other dim-sum specialists and, given the spartan surrounds (cheap-feeling glassware, tea served in bags rather than loose leaves), we were surprised by the size of the bill; figure on around £50 a head without booze. If you hate queues but love Chinese food, we'd suggest you wait for the second London branch of Din Tai Fung to open at Centre Point, by which point you hopefully won't have to take the afternoon off work to eat here.    

More about Din Tai Fung Covent Garden

Book now