Serial restaurateur Alan Yau is behind some of the most recognisable restaurant names in the country, having played a hand in the creation of wildly popular high-street brand Wagamama, as well as West End celeb-magnet Hakkasan and high-end dim sum joint Yauatcha, which has sites in Soho and the City.
His latest project has seen him open two restaurants inside the same building. The restaurants, Chyna and Yau Grilling, are both housed at Wardian London, a luxury 766-apartment development in Canary Wharf.
Chyna is the more formal of the two, taking up residence on the building’s ground floor. The restaurant can seat around 120 diners, and also boasts a large outdoor terrace which overlooks the open water of Canary Wharf’s South Dock.
The restaurant’s menu changes with the seasons, but has a focus on Cantonese cooking, with an emphasis on using British seafood. European ingredients such as Iberico ham and fresh sea cucumbers from Spain are also incorporated into dishes.
Chyna is one of few restaurants in the capital to boast its own water market – a series of tanks from which guests can choose live seafood and fish to enjoy as part of their meal. Speaking to the Evening Standard about the opening, Yau said that the food served at Chyna is “almost like what I would put together if you were coming to my house for a dinner party.”
He also described the restaurant as akin to a “Chinese river café”. This is a bold claim for the restaurateur to make, considering that the actual River Café has enjoyed more than 30 years of success and is considered by many as one of the best restaurants in the capital.
The restaurateur also has lofty ambitions for Yau Grilling – it’s found on the building’s first floor and serves a Japanese-inspired grill menu for up to 45 guests.