Restaurant Review: Chinese Cricket Club London

Confucius says don’t judge a book by its cover – nor a restaurant, as is the case with Chinese Cricket Club in the Crowne Plaza, Blackfriars, London. That it doubles as the hotel’s breakfast room will give you some idea of the decor – a soulless dark brown.

So come such a special night as Chinese New Year, and even with the promise of a lion dance, my heart sank on going in. You can’t see the restaurant from the street, it’s off the foyer, in a listed building and they can’t do much with the windows apart from some lurid neon.

Crowne Plaza Blackfriars City of London

Walk past and you’ll miss it

A couple of dragons on the door, a few framed cricket bats and a splash of eau de nil isn’t enough to compete in the high-end City market. It’s certainly not the “destination” it aims to be.

It’s only a mile from London’s “two arches” Chinatown but it feels, and tastes,  worlds apart. In a great way.

Head Chef Ken Wang at Chinese Cricket Club

Head Chef Ken Wang at Chinese Cricket Club

Head Chef Ken Wang, with 15 years’ experience cooking in the coastal province of Jiangsu in eastern China, has brought authentic, surprising flavours and methods with him. He’s smart enough to go with the current “hot” food trend of south western Sichuan but with subtle differences such as cooking with the seasons, matching colour and shape in the presentation and using soupy sauces.

 

Symmetry at Chinese Cricket Club

symmetry

Marinated King Prawns in Shanghai Style

Marinated King Prawns in Shanghai Style – stunning!

Steam sea bass with chopped chilli sauce

Steam sea bass with chopped chilli sauce – hot enough!

superb dim sum chefs Lin Li and Pei Wu and these money bags!

superb dim sum chefs Lin Li and Pei Wu and these money bags!

The tongue numbing peppers and garlic are still there. But his cooking to perfection soft meats such as venison, sea bass with heaps of tingling chilli, king prawns in a sugar and soy sauce, crunchy jelly fish – no, I’ve never had that before, and juicy cherry duck in Tsing Tao beer sauce are sensational.

The food is fragrant with caramelised flavours and spikes of chilli  – but not the bog standard burn your mouth or catch-all sweet and sour. We had the New Year’s Eve menu but, complementing the á la carte, there is a choice of two set menus; the classic menu (£35 per person) and the Sichuan-specific menu (£55 per person) – with some of the region’s finest pickings and specialities.

Chef calls it a new menu style for someone experiencing their first taste as well as the experienced Sichuan food connoisseur.  Ken is batting six to boundary.

chinesecricketclub.com

Chinese Cricket Club – you’ll be bowled over.

 

Chinese Cricket Club

Chinese Cricket Club in the Crowne Plaza City London

Chinese Cricket Club
Crowne Plaza London – The City
19 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6DB

T: 0207 438 8051
F: 0207 438 8080
E: info@chinesecricketclub.com

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