When it comes to Asian restaurants, Londoners are spoilt for choice. From the back streets of Soho to glitzy Mayfair, you’ll find sushi bars, Taiwanese teahouses, casual options and fine dining. Feast your eyes on our pick of the best in town…
If you like your Asian food luxe, it doesn’t get swankier or more renowned than Mayfair’s China Tang, which specialises in Cantonese cuisine. Based at the Dorchester Hotel, decor is opulent and Art Deco-inspired. Do take a look at the Dim Sum menu and if you’re going all out, the Bird’s Nest Chicken Soup is a delicacy. The restaurant has also recently launched a particularly special afternoon tea.
Sushisamba is always a hit for Asian dining, with excellent food (think Japanese with a South American twist) and stellar views at its City site. The Covent Garden restaurant has dreamy interiors, alongside a limited edition new menu (until June 5). Celebrating all things spring with a floral installation, edible art and a focus on sustainability, go along for delicious toro tartar, sashimi hanataba and more.
Jinjuu is a Korean restaurant in Soho, founded by chef Judy Joo. It is influenced by traditional and contemporary street food – signature dishes include the famous Korean fried chicken and house made kimchi. The bibimbap is great too – Jinjuu works well for date night, pre-theatre, meeting friends or just about anything.
Alex Peffly and Z He, co-founders of popular Asian eateries Bun House and Tea Room, have opened Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall on Greek Street serving China’s most loved street food – jian bing. Jian bing is sort of like a super-stuffed crepe, that’s wrapped and folded right in front of you. Everything from eggs, fried dough (that’s right) to lamb goes in there. It’s seriously filling, and cheap, too. This may be less of a restaurant and more of a hole in the wall, but it’s great.
A big site, this place is always busy for good reason. The Maki Mondays are good value for sushi, and the buns themselves are light, fluffy and delicious – we like the salmon teriyaki option. The restaurant has an on-site smoker should you wish to go for something heartier, and the Smore’s for dessert are unmissable.
This Taiwanese teahouse and restaurant is inspired by the luxurious dining rooms of 1930’s Taipei. Offering a modernised take on classic Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines, ingredients are impeccably sourced from artisan suppliers. Its Taiwanese aged white soy sauce from Ping Tung is created after pressing the fermented soy bean, after an ageing process that lasts up to 16 months. You can taste the difference. The restaurant also has a games room for some epic Mah Jong playing.
Yen serves up London’s first handmade Soba (noodles) from master chefs. There’s also a sushi chef, as the menu showcases Japanese dishes alongside Soba, which are prepared twice a day in the restaurant’s dedicated soba room (London’s only glass-fronted Soba room). Choose from à la carte (sushi, tempura, sashimi and robata), or a daily changing omakase menu chosen by the chefs, for the freshest dishes around.
Atul Kochhar is the first Indian chef in the world to receive a Michelin star. His new restaurant, Kanishka, on Maddox Street, explores lesser known regions of Indian food. Cooking methods include salting, smoking and fermenting, made necessary by the remoteness of the regions. He has also been inspired by the influence of bordering countries such as Nepal, China, and Bangladesh – expect soya and dumplings, as well as locally sourced British produce where possible. Mains include a Seafood Alleppey Curry and drinks are a key element – the Roast Banana Old Fashioned is made from Tandoor roasted banana and the more savoury Ingrita is, somewhat unusually, served alongside a chilled lightly spiced tomato broth.
Disclaimer: this doesn’t really qualify as a restaurant as it’s an extremely casual to-go option, but is worth mentioning as it’s new and offers extremely affordable Asian options. Bambusa on Charlotte Street offers an array of Asian flavours – Japan, Singapore and Laos – with fermented and umami foods like kimchi and miso. Good for a convenient midweek take out lunch, but remember the interiors and atmosphere aren’t the focus here.
Main photo: Bambusa
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