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Anyone who has ever tried to find somewhere to eat in the less cosmopolitan parts of the United States will have come across P.F. Chang's (280 branches and counting), which makes the mega brand’s first European outpost a good fit for the touristy hinterland between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. But it merits a look even if you're not a homesick American – and it already has the crowds of international diners to prove it. Interiors are stylish without being intimidating – the feel is upmarket canteen, with very nice lighting – and food that arrives lickety-split quick will see you in and out in time for the theatre or cinema. Some of what we ate was great – zippy salt-and-pepper prawns and fall-apart barbecue ribs were as good as you’d find anywhere – and some of it was pretty average: wok-fried shrimp noodles and a chilli-and-garlic ‘Chang’s chicken’ were something most home cooks could knock up themselves. Mostly, though, the likes of plump pan-seared dumplings and sticky chilli aubergine are Far Eastern greatest hits done to a good-enough standard for the mid-range prices. It’s open for breakfast and brunch, too – think smoked salmon and boiled egg bao – while you can make the most of the late-night opening over barrel-aged cocktails in the LP-lined bar.
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