While you may not be able to recreate the 1930s Shanghai-inspired revelry of Park Chinois in your kitchen, nor Min Jiang's spectacular view of Kensington Gardens, you can still enjoy the best part of your favourite Chinese restaurants at home: the food. From peking duck to bao buns, some of the best Chinese cuisine can be found in the capital. With lockdown keeping the hospitality sector firmly closed until further notice, London's high-end restaurants are whizzing their signature dishes direct to your door – making for a perfect way to celebrate Chinese New Year. Read on for our pick of the best Chinese fine-dining restaurants offering takeaway during lockdown.
When it launched it Fitzrovia in 2001, Hakkasan’s aim was to reimagine ancient gastronomy for the modern day. Judging by the phenomenal success that the restaurant chain has enjoyed around the world – the group now operates in 12 locations that stretch from Las Vegas to Shanghai – we’d say it was mission accomplished. Hakkasan at Home offers Hakkasan’s award-winning Michelin-star Cantonese cuisine for guests to enjoy in their own dining rooms (or on the sofa). Signature dishes include crispy Peking duck and Hakka noodles. The restaurant has also launched Wine by Hakkasan – a collection of exclusive fine wines and champagnes curated by their expert sommeliers.
Despite the top-hatted concierges at the front door, Park Chinois on Berkeley Street remains something of a hidden gem – a sexy, tasty secret you’re not likely to forgot once you’ve discovered it. Not that you have to make the pilgrimage to Mayfair to enjoy a serving of 1930s Shanghai. Park Chinois at Home now operates seven-days-a-week, within a three-mile radius of the restaurant, from 12pm to 11pm. Set menus include the Emperor Menu for Two – that’s two starters, two mains and one side for £130 – and the Dynasty Menu for Four (£440), which includes the restaurant’s most luxurious dishes – including its signature Duck de Chine.
The London outpost of Chinese fine dining group Imperial Treasure, which has locations in Shanghai, Incheon, Guangzhou, Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris, is housed in an impressively renovated former bank in St James and offers refined Cantonese classics, which more than stand up to their surroundings. While the menu includes a fine array of dim sum, Char Sui and more unusual dishes (chicken’s feet, sea cucumber and fish maw all make an appearance), the signature here is the Beijing-style roasted duck – a sophisticated take on your local takeaway’s crispy aromatic version that has been steamed, dried, seasoned, hung and then roasted to turn it a deep orange hue with skin so crispy it shatters like glass. Yes, it costs £100 and has to be ordered in advance but, trust us, it’s worth it.
For more than a decade, customers have been visiting Min Jiang for its spectacular view of Kensington Gardens and staying for its delicious Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine. Located on the 10th floor of the Royal Garden Hotel on Kensington High Street, the restaurant’s chefs specialise in a medley of cooking styles and techniques that have been passed down through generations. If you order one thing, make it the Beijing duck, which is roasted for 45 minutes and presented in two servings: first the skin is crisped with granulated sugar and served with pancakes, and then the meat is served with your choice of noodles, rice, soup or lettuce wraps.
The City outpost of Cantonese-European-patisserie-mash-up Yauatcha is now offering home delivery. Choose from everything from steamed dim sum, open-topped scallop shui mai dumplings, venison puffs and crispy duck rolls to sweet and sour pork and Singapore vermicelli noodles. For the first time ever, the restaurant is also offering Taiwanese pineapple pastries – the sweet buttery cake, which has caramelised pineapple at its centre, is said to hold the key to prosperity and good fortune. Elsewhere, Yauatcha’s vegan menu includes a selection of dishes from upmarket sister-restaurant, Hakkasan.
Bao’s modern take on the traditional Taiwanese street food from which it takes its name was an instant hit when its first location opened in Soho in 2015. Now with three restaurants in the capital, as well as a weekly residency at Netil Market, it’s hard to remember a time when there weren’t queues out the door for its fluffy steamed buns stuffed with confit pork, lamb shoulder and daikon. Small plates make for a fun mix-and-match dining experience paired with an extensive list of cocktails, wines, beers and Bao’s Dream Drinks, which have their roots in Asia’s bubble and milk-foam tea cultures. Oh, and do save room for a milk tea ice cream bao bun for dessert. It’s a true revelation.
The Good Earth
The Good Earth has been a staple Chinese restaurant in the capital ever since founder Holland Kwok opened his first restaurant on the King’s Road in 1979. Forty-two years later and The Good Earth name is widely known and loved across south-west London, with Jason Atherton calling the Wandsworth branch “a godsend” when it opened. An endorsement from a Michelin-starred chef is a pretty good sign, but don’t just take Atherton's word for it – order from the restaurant’s extensive menu to try house (and customer) favourites such as tangerine karaage chicken and Golden Sands Dover sole.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Alex Peffly and Z He, Bun House, as its name suggests, specialises in Cantonese-style steamed buns. With locations in Greek Street, Chinatown and Box Park, the restaurant has quickly become one of the capital’s go-tos for sweet and savoury steamed buns that pack a punch. Stars of the show include the char siu pork belly ‘Pig Bun’, cumin-spiced lamb and its much-loved custard bun. Keep an eye out for novelty buns in the run-up to special occasions. The Bun House chefs love to get creative, and have been known to craft charming penguin buns for Christmas, rainbow buns for Pride and pumpkin buns for Halloween.
Available for takeaway and delivery Wednesday to Sunday, bun.house
Founded in Belgravia in 1982 by Chef Peng (who you’ll still find working the burners today), Hunan is perhaps the most unusual restaurant on this list thanks to the fact that it does not – and never has – had a menu. Rather diners are simply encouraged to tell staff if there’s anything they don’t eat and how spicy they enjoy their food. Then they are invited to sit back and enjoy a parade of tapas-style Chinese small plates that may include traditional dishes from Hunan province alongside the restaurant’s signature crispy frogs’ legs and fermented bamboo shoots. There’s also a noteworthy wine list focused on bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the New World, as well as an ever-changing bin ends list of fine wines available in tiny quantities for true connoisseurs.