Opening a high-end Chinese in Mayfair takes a certain kind of confidence when you’re rubbing shoulders with established favourites such as Hakkasan and Park Chinois. This isn’t a new brand opened on a whim however, it’s a carefully considered venture from already established restaurateur, Samyukta Nair who is behind both Mayfair’s Jamavar and Bombay Bustle.
In her third restaurant Nair is keen to reflect the cooking of old-world China, taking guests on a journey of dishes inspired by Empress MiMi — fictional owner of the town house and keeper of the most revered Chinese culinary secrets, she says. Chinese-Singaporean Executive Chef Peter Ho heads up the kitchen and has developed a range of menus to allow for flexible dining. Pick between an a la carte (which runs with a comforting selection of familiar favourites as well as some more unusual options), tasting menus, pre-theatre specials, or sharing feasts.
Starters include dishes like salt and pepper silken tofu, xiao long soup dumplings and roasted Cantonese char siu Norfolk Black pork with raw wildflower honey. For mains choose between a far-reaching selection of meat, fish and plant-based options which range from Hunan crispy seabass through to clay pot aubergine with black beans. For dessert the house special is a flourless chocolate bar with a mandarin and peach crunch and vanilla bean ice cream.
The restaurant is found in a Georgian townhouse and has been built up through a series of plush rooms which are furnished in rich colours and layers of textural elements. Think timber screen salons, hand painted silk wallpaper, velvet boot seating, a scalloped marbled floor and aged brass fixtures. With each space bringing a unique vibe, the mood shifts from room to room but wherever you land there will picture perfect angles from your seat. There are private dining spaces too, for exclusive celebrations, and the basement bar offers a snug hideaway for high-end cocktails at the end of the evening.