FOOD REVIEW: Alan Yau’s Park Chinois

You can smell the money, walking in here – both the fit out and the wealth of the diners. For a fact we were sat next to a billionaire, whose dining companion’s glittering high heels would have been visible from space.

If you are smart – and we were – you can get away with spending £100 a head including a glass of red and white wine. If your numbers have come up then of course you’ll start with Peking Duck Imperial Caviar at £280. Look up Fay Maschler’s review and you’ll see how.

Alan Yau, famous for setting up and selling, among many others, Wagamama and Hakkasan, plays with Chinese food served the Italian way – course after course. Look out for dishes such as carbonara with pancetta over udon noodles. Ordering is primo, segundo and before you know it you’re on your fourth course and a long call with your bank in the morning.

Thankfully it’s not like the ill- fated venture of Geoffrey Moore (yes, son of Roger), Shumi, which confused Italian and Japanese.

Stepping in off Berkeley Street you are transported to a townhouse in ‘movie set’ 1930s Shanghai.
image

Billed as Dinner and Dance Chinese Fine Dining, a siren songstress sings at the grand piano, an army of waiters in white jackets struggle with huge silver trays in the cramped aisles – how they are going to manage dancing is beyond me – overhead glittering chandeliers with a backdrop of swags of crumpled red velvet. An exquisite lacquered music box.
image

It’s rumoured to have cost £16 million to put this show on the West End – and, yes, it’s a hit.

Start with the Duck de Chine and at £75 stretches to serve six. It’s so light it could easily take flight again. Dark, rich and juicy – not like the dried twigs that usually pass for crispy duck.

image

The duck comes with individual bamboo steamers of pancakes, a saucer of hoisin, spring onions and cucumber – no fighting over the last pancake here.

The same with the brightly dressed Dover Sole at £42 – plenty for the table and even a single mouthful a pleasure.
We raced through the menu –
jasmine tea smoked ribs – smokey,  succulent,  sweet and a steal at £19.

A go-to-favourite is sweet and sour pork – here it’s Ibérico pork loin katsu, shredded and piled high sweet sour caramelised pineapple and heritage tomato at £23.

image

Shame the dimsum comes in portions of five – no chance of one more. It’s five or ten. Although a lot of them, there is little joy in the staff. Dots on the wine list? Not available yet. Teething problems I hope.

image

Forget anything with caviar on top, but the sludge-green colured tofu dimsum made with chive juice are a joy to savour at only £6.
image

The tofu won again with wild mushroom, five spice and homemade rice noodle at £16.

image

Smart ordering made it feel like an imperial feast.

You’ll find lily flowers and bulbs, taro vegetable, curry leaves and coconut – rich authentic ingredients sadly missing from many high street Chinese.

image

The chopsticks rest on covetable lucky Koi and the bathrooms come straight from the Orient Express.

image

image

You can tell it’s Yau by the care that goes into elevating everything – like the green tea macarons at Yauatcha, good-looking wood-fired pizza at Pirinci or the sensational Chinese New Year dinners at Hakkasan.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is his next Michelin star.

Park Chinois
17 Berkeley Street W1
Telephone: 020 3327 8888

Google maps

Square Meal

Square Meal

Comments

  1. Thanks for the review. It sounds like it is a ‘must try’!

Leave a Reply to Rodney Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.