While there are some real gems in Chinatown, it’s the dazzling fine-dining restaurants that draw our attention during the Lunar New Year. From Peking duck carved tableside to steaming hot pots served with sky-high views of the capital, these Chinese restaurants, as picked by Alex Dalzell, are made for special occasions – just like the Year of the Dragon.
London’s only two-Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant is the result of 3,000 years of taste and tradition distilled through the mind of wonder chef Andrew Wong. For dinner, set aside three hours for The Collections of China menu, which takes a culinary journey across China’s 14 international borders, while lunch focuses on a long list of dim sumalmosttoo pretty to eat. It’s one of the most difficult reservations to secure, particularly at weekends, but persistence pays off.
70 Wilton Road, Pimlico – Book here
The menu at this restaurant flits between Japan and China, but top-quality dim sum and sushi sharing the same table actually works. From the dim sum selection, don’t miss the mala lamb dumplings that zing with Sichuan pepper or the earthy wild mushroom variety, which is an excellent vegan option. For mains, you might be tempted by the unctuous pork belly from the Hangzhou region, but you’ll notice most people are ordering a half or whole Peking duck – it’s the restaurant’s signature dish for a reason.
Four Seasons Hotel, 10 Trinity Square, The City – Book here
This long-standing Belgravia favourite was serving a no-choice tasting menu long before it became a thing. Founded in 1982 by Taiwanese owner Mr Peng, it’s now overseen by his son, Michael, who has his father’s dedication to detail – the service is slick, the all-white room is calming, and the food never misses a beat. Expect up to 18 courses of tapas-sized delights that could include anything from black cod with a deep black vinegar reduction and five spice to wind-dried pork with dried bamboo and radish.
51 Pimlico Road, Belgravia – Book here
The views across the skyline are a boon for this sky-high Chinese spot but the upmarket take on northern Chinese cooking does its utmost to distract you from the city glittering below. At dinner, choose between the Lotus or Peony tasting menus for a comprehensive overview of the kitchen’s talents, or go à la carte to open a myriad of choices, ranging from wontons with fiery dipping sauces and platters of dim sum to deep-fried lobster covered in chilli and garlic. Earlier in the day, the Flavours of Hutong menu is excellent value at £39 per person.
The Shard, 33 St Thomas Street, Borough – Book here
This swish Mayfair stalwart has maintained its Michelin star since 2009 and the inspectors are annually impressed by the adventurous reinterpretations of Chinese classics. The whole country is represented on the wide-ranging menus, with an emphasis on the coastal Nanyang region in the south meaning there are plenty of great seafood options like the warming sea bass hot pot and huge tiger prawns marinated in Chinese spices and served with crispy curry leaves. The wine list includes some interesting reds from the southern slopes of the Helan Mountains.
65 South Audley Street, Mayfair – Book here
Anyone who’s walked down Soho’s Broadwick Street will have ogled the pristine patisserie in the window of Alan Yau’s Hakkasan follow-up. Inside, the street-level tearoom serves these sweet masterpieces alongside more than 20 types of tea, while the seductively lit basement restaurant is known for its towering bamboo baskets filled with delicious dim sum. If you choose to go à la carte, make sure you order the sweet and sticky venison puffs.
15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho – Book here
This art deco beauty from Restaurateur of the Year 2023 Samyukta Nair is tucked away on Curzon Street, and to step through its doors is to enter the golden age of 1920s Shanghai. A warren of connecting rooms, each dining space in the three-storey restaurant brings a different vibe, ranging from the wood-panelled Drawing Room to the exquisite pastel shades of the Parlour on the first floor. The menu sweeps through China, Hong Kong, and Singapore to present a variety of dishes designed for sharing.
55 Curzon Street, Mayfair – Book here
This is chef Tong’s first solo venture since changing the face of Chinese cooking in London. Back in 2001, he was recruited by Alan Yau to open Hakkasan, which quickly became the capital’s most in-demand reservation, and he remained an integral part of the restaurant group’s success until 2019. Gouqi is cut from very similar cloth to his former workplace, with contemporary Cantonese cuisine, lavish interiors, and a buzzy atmosphere. For something a little different, book in for the Dragon afternoon tea.
25-34 Cockspur Street, St. James’s – Book here
Hakkasan Hanway Place
Hakkasan’s original venue has spawned a raft of international siblings and remains one of the top places for Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine in London. A grungy back-alley entrance off Tottenham Court Road belies the low-lit basement restaurant – a seductive backdrop for showstopping food and killer cocktails, served with theatrical flair. The signature crispy skinned Peking duck, presented whole with pancakes and caviar, is always a winner.
8 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia – Book here
No list would be complete without this fine-dining classic. It’s the London outpost of one of Asia’s most Michelin-starred restaurant groups and, while it’s never made it into the London guide, the food, service, and setting certainly deserve a star. It’s most renowned for its delicious (and expensive) Peking duck, but the Cantonese-style barbecue version is just as tasty for a fraction of the cost. In general, the prices are high even for this part of town, so save this one for a special occasion.
9 Waterloo Place, St James’s – Book here
Alex Dalzell has written extensively about dining and interviewed some of the world’s top chefs in his role as Head of Content for Europe at Ten Lifestyle Group. Ten is the world-leading travel and lifestyle concierge service which helps 100,000s of members across the globe live life to the fullest. Ten also provide services to valuable customers of some of the world’s leading private banks and premium financial services.
To discover more about how they can unlock your next culinary discovery, plan your winter getaway, or secure tickets to the next sold-out gig visit www.tenlifestylegroup.com and follow @tenconcierge.