When you’re married to a person who started eating Chinese food when he was only a few weeks old, the only cuisine that will do for Birthday’s is Chinese.
Add to that his love for dim sum and suddenly every Birthday involves some kind of Dim Sum lunch. The only way to make more of what could be a pretty dull trip to the same restaurant each year is to find the newest, most talked about restaurant of the year, and book it as soon as you possibly can.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Lucky for me, Hubster doesn’t spend as much time as I do reading about new restaurants, so when we arrived at Green Park station a few Saturday’s ago, he had no clue we would be heading to Park Chinois.
He followed me up the road and nearly walked past me when I turned into the doorway and through the rather special door, past the curtains and arrived at the reservation desk which quite perfectly was accompanied by a roaring fire (it was freezing outside!).
We handed in our coats and were quickly shown to our table, but not before we walked past the spectacular bar:After giving Mr R a bit of background info on the restaurant, we turned to the menu and spotted a few firm favourites from Yauatcha, whilst taking in the grandeur of the restaurant.We set about ordering and as soon as we did, a friendly waiter came over with soy, chilli oil and chilli sauce – it was almost like he’d read Mr R’s mind.As always the first dish to arrive was the puff’s – we chose the roasted venison puffs and these were light, soft and very delicious:Next up was the taro & king crab croquette – these were highly recommended by our waiter and I must say, he didn’t let us down.The combination of the crispy outer and the soft inner was great. Although they were fried, they were neither greasy nor heavy so a real hit for us!
Next came the crispy beancurd prawn chung fung. Chung fung is Mr R’s absolute favourite and something he can be rather critical about. We’d tried this or something very similar at Yauatcha and this version didn’t let us down.The prawns were fresh and the sauce was perfect but the best bit about this was that the beancurd stayed crispy.
The siew long bao – this really is one of those items that in most places is either good, or ok. The issue is, without a highly skilled chef, the pasty/dough/skin comes out too thick, if you leave it too long, the soup escapes and overall its something that very few places do amazingly well.Although its only fair to give Hutong a shout out as our absolute favourite for the siew long boa, Park Chinois’s version did come in at a very close second place.
The fact that we had to ask for spoons to go with it was slightly disappointing though.
The wagyu beef dumpling was slightly disappointing.It was really heavy (i guess this should have been expected) and pretty average. To be honest they were also a little too big, these would be far better if they were bite sized and if they served 5/6 in a portion rather than 3 big pieces.
Another thing which was disappointing was the sichuan dumpling:The dumplings lacked flavour, they were bland and even the chilli oil failed to add to the dish. Not something I would order again.
Having completed all our dimsum, we then pondered for a bit whilst we tried to figure out if we had any more room.
During this pondering, we decided to try some hot tea. I’d asked our waiter for a smokey tea and he suggested the “Tie Guan Yin Old Style Premium tea”.It really was exactly what I was looking for. It was lightly smoked with a delicate flavour but hit the spot completely.
This sounded far better than it actually was and instead was something that could be found at any Chinese restaurant.
Park chinos is definitely somewhere for a special occasion. The ornate setting and the accompaniment of the classical music made for a really nice setting.
Because it was so empty for a Saturday afternoon it did lack a bit of a buzz, however I’d imagine this would be easily found if you visited for dinner instead.